Whether your child is a preschooler, an independent reader, or somewhere in between, I have a children's book for Halloween to recommend. You'll find some not-too-scary picture books, one pretty scary picture book, a tale about scary carrots, of all things, and a cumulative tale, among others. Several of the books feature popular characters (Nate the Great, the Berenstain Bears) and are part of a popular series. One of the Halloween picture books comes with an audiobook and an animated version of the story.
1. Room on the Broom
2. By the Light of the Halloween Moon
By the Light of the Halloween Moon is an unusual Halloween picture book, a cumulative tale. Set at night and featuring a child with a wiggling toe, the tale is both amusing and slightly scary. The story, by Caroline Stutson, features alliteration and repetition. Kevin Hawkes's dramatic illustrations greatly add to the appeal of By the Light of the Halloween Moon. I recommend it for most kids ages 6-8 and some younger kids. Marshall Cavendish published the book in 2009. The ISBN is 9780761455530. Read my review of By the Light of the Halloween Moon. (Compare prices.)
3. Creepy Carrots
4. Celebrate Halloween
Celebrate Halloween with Pumpkins, Costumes, and Candy is a nonfiction book, one of many in the Holidays Around the World series. The book, by Deborah Heiligman, uses color photographs of children celebrating fall and Halloween in several different countries to illustrate the story of holiday, its history and celebration. Extras at the end of the book include directions for a Halloween game, information about The Day of the Dead, a glossary and more. (National Geographic, 2007. ISBN: 9781426301209) Read my review of Celebrate Halloween. (Compare prices.)
5. Too Many Pumpkins
What happens when a woman who hates pumpkins unexpectedly, and despite her best efforts to prevent it, has a bumper crop of pumpkins? What can she do? Her solution makes a very entertaining story. Author Linda White stresses community in this delightful Halloween picture book. Megan Lloyd's illustrations are delightful. Holiday House published the book in 1996. The ISBN is 9780823413201. Read my review of Too Many Pumpkins (Compare prices.)
6. Tucker's Spooky Halloween
Tucker's Spooky Halloween provides extra fun for young kids because, in addition to the picture book, it comes with an animated version of the story, plus two audio versions. The story by Leslie McGuirk features a little white dog, Tucker, and the problems he encounters as he tries to convince his owner to dress him in a scary costume for Halloween. The illustrations by McQuirk have a nice simplicity. Candlewick Press published Tucker's Spooky Halloween in 2009 as part of its Candlewick Storybook Animations Series. The ISBN is 9780763644697. Read my review of Tucker's Spooky Halloween. (Compare prices.)
7. Los Gatos Black on Halloween
The Halloween picture book Los Gatos Black on Halloween will send shivers of delight down the spines of older children who thrive on creepy stories and illustrations. The influence of her childhood in Mexico is reflected in the paintings by illustrator Yuyi Morales. Elements of the Day of the Dead celebration can also be found in the text by author Martha Montes, who was born in Puerto Rico. This picture book would make a wonderful Halloween read-aloud, as well as a read-alone, for 8-12 year olds who love scary stories and pictures. It is scarier than most picture books, which is why I don't recommend it for all ages or all 8-12 year olds. (Henry Holt and Company, 2006. ISBN: 9780805074291) Read my review of Los Gatos Black on Halloween. (Compare prices.)
8. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
This just-scary-enough story is both a good read-aloud and a goood read alone. A little old lady goes walking in the forest until dark and then heads for home. On the way, she keeps hearing ominous sounds. She finds herself followed by noisy clomping boots, then by wiggly pants, and more. Kids will enjoy repeating the story's refrain and will delight in the little old lady's creative solution to the problem of what to do with these noisy objects who are upset because they can't scare her. (HarperCollins, 1998. ISBN: 0064431835) Read my review of The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.(Compare prices.)
This charming story by Charlotte Zolotow is about Thomas, a little boy who moves into a "new house on a new street" and never ventures from his front steps because he thinks his neighbors don't like him. Day after day, he watches children playing and neighbors walking by. When Halloween comes, he is surprised to find that his neighbors, children and adults alike, recognize him, despite the tiger mask he hides behind, and want to be friends. He goes home a happy boy. (Hyperion, 2003. ISBN: 9780786805174) Compare prices.
10. Humbug Witch
Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian tells the story of a scary-looking little witch who finds that, despite looking like a witch, she can't do what witches do. The little witch is quite a sight, with a big nose, crooked teeth and stringy red hair. Although she tries, the little witch can't cackle like a witch, fly on a broom, cast magical spells or make magic potions. We find out why when the little witch removes her costume and mask, and we see she is a little girl who has been dressed up for Halloween. The simple illustrations are full of humor, much of it the result of the expression on the face of the black cat as he watches the little witch. This is a good book for three- to five-year-olds. (Star Bright Books, 2003, 1965. ISBN: 9781595720092) Compare prices.