I’m not a big holiday decorator, but I love children’s holiday books. There’s no shortage of Halloween books, but it can be tricky to find them for young children. For the little ones, you need Halloween books that are the right mix of fun, silly, and maybe a little spooky. Yet, you don’t want them to be so scared that they’re in bed with you every night in October!
Here are seven of my favorites that can be found on Amazon or at your local library.
I first discovered this book when I was teaching preschool and didn’t have any children of my own yet. This book tells the story of a group of kids in typical Halloween costumes (mummy, ghost, Dracula) on their way to a Halloween Party. There’s a fun back and forth with the words witch and which, which makes it fun for young children. We like this book because you can read it creepy and spooky or keep it silly with younger children. When I first started reading it to my daughter, we looked at the illustrations and I would point out how the “scary things” were just kids in costumes. It’s fun to easily see a shoe or eyeball poking out of a Frankenstein mask.
The Scary Show of Mo and Jo is not technically a Halloween book, but because they dress up and are pretending to be scary, it works. Mo and Jo are siblings and like all siblings, they like to goof around. And terrorize each other. Throughout the story, Mo and Jo make different faces trying to scare each other and you, the reader. Kids will love watching Jo change from a mouse with a Swiss cheese nose into a lioness with a mini broom and dustpan for a mouth. The author and illustrator, Hanoch Piven, uses everyday materials and food to entertain. This book isn’t scary or spooky, just fun.
Think Tim Burton mixed with cutesy and Little Shop of Horrors (Only the man-eating plant really). Skelly is a squatty, smiling, skeleton who finds a bone. Skelly then goes on a quest to find who the bone belongs to. We follow her around her creepy, quirky house as she questions people to find the bone owner and makes a new friend in the process. Skelly is fun because she’s a jovial looking skeleton. The spider, the fish, the monster under the stairs, all smile and laugh at her along her journey.
Who ever heard of a square pumpkin? Enter Spookley! The Legend of Spookley is a rhyming story about an eventual hero, who just happens to be a bit of a square, pun intended. This story is an easy read that teaches kids not to judge each other by the way we look on the outside. It’s a little cheesy on the last page, which I used to skip when my daughter was two or three, but now she knows if I skip it or not, so I just suffer through. Kids will have fun finding the hidden ladybug on different pages throughout the book.
I hope you know Carl. Carl is a dog. Carl is the best. Well, sometimes the best. If you haven’t read the other Carl books, you can check those out too. Carl’s Halloween is the story of Carl having a dress-up Halloween adventure with his little human, Madeline. This Carl book is not much different from the others in that there aren’t many words. That just means the pictures are even more fun and tell the story incredibly well. Kids will love to watch Carl and Madeline get into mischief on Halloween. Also, we learn that dogs are terrible at being toilet papered into a mummy. My daughter loves to see what Carl does next and the lack of words makes it a great “read” for pre-readers.
This is one of my favorite read-aloud holiday books. It begins on Halloween night and follows the cadence of “This is the house that Jack built,” only in this case it’s adding an item to Emily’s, the main character, costume. Kids will have fun remembering what comes next and adding the new item to Emily’s costume. They can guess what Emily’s costume will be as family members give her pieces to wear and see her go to the party. Emily is excited and happy about Halloween, and this shows kids how fun it can be to make a costume from what’s at home.
How many years do we really get to choose, I mean, influence our kids’ costume for Halloween before they want to be a Batman-Shark-Hunter-DJ-Wizard? Hopefully, you get at least two or three good years.
The Best Halloween of All is the story of Ben and the first six Halloweens of his life. The book shows Ben in costumes his parents chose for him, but that apparently he doesn’t like. Ben is not a fan of being a devil in the angel/devil sibling duo. Who can blame him? Ben describes all of the problems of his costumes, including when he was made fun of for being a grape that looks like he belongs inside Fruit of the Loom underwear. This book actually made me laugh. My 4-year-old didn’t get some of the jokes, but I got a kick out of them. I’m not going to spoil it, but I will say that for Ben’s seventh Halloween, he gets to choose and make his costume. And it is awesome.