What are the first things that pop into your mind when you think of Halloween? I picture costumes, candy, and cutesy vintage illustrations of cats sitting on pumpkins. I like my Halloween served with a side of adorable and flavored with just a dash of spooky. You, on the other hand, might think of haunted houses and bloody ghosts. We all have our own versions of Halloween, and if you’re celebrating the holiday with a kid, remember that they have their own tastes. Whether your child enjoys being scared or merely wants to wear a costume and collect sugar, I’ve got five Halloween book recommendations to cover it all.
If some spooks are okay, you can’t go wrong with a Goosebumps book by R.L. Stine. The series has some Halloween anthology collections, but Headless Halloween is a book-length tale centered on the holiday. Brandon Plush is the lead and basically, he’s a brat who likes to scare people. He pretends to be a headless ghost, but once Halloween comes around he discovers he might not be the only headless ghost in town. Insert ominous music here.
The ABC’s of Halloween as Imagined by Lucy
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Goosebumps, there’s the children’s picture book The ABC’s of Halloween. Written by Deborah Collins and illustrated by Mike Collins, the story stars Lucy. She’s trying to figure out what costume to wear for Halloween, and she goes through an entire alphabet of options. It’s adorable, educational, and will give you and your kid plenty of costume ideas. Win.
Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery
Rabbits get scary in this book by James and Deborah Howe. It’s the first installment of the Bunnicula series, and as you might guess from the title, it’s about a rabbit that is a vampire. The unsuspecting Monroe family finds the bunny at the theater while they were seeing Dracula. Yeah, that probably should have tipped them off. The family’s cat Chester grows suspicious of Bunnicula’s secret and hijinks ensue. It’s weirdly sweet and absolutely perfect for Halloween.
The Halloween Tree
Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree is an eerie tale that explores the true meaning of Halloween. The tale follows eight boys who are all set to go trick-or-treating, until they realize their friend Pipkin has been taken away. The boys meet a mysterious chap named Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud who helps them chase after their friend through time. They go through the past and see the origins of Halloween in different periods and countries. It’s a wild and fantastical ride, and I highly recommend it for adults, too.
The Graveyard Book
I’m cheating with my final recommendation. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book isn’t technically about Halloween. However, it is a spooky story that evokes the spirit of Halloween. I call that close enough. The pages follow a boy called Bod (short for Nobody) as he grows up in a graveyard. The boy ended up in the cemetery when he crawled out of his crib as a toddler and happened to escape the murderer who killed his family. That murderer is still searching for Bod – will he escape his fate? This is another book I recommend for all ages.
What are your Halloween picks for kids? Share your favorite titles in the comments.