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5 Great Halloween Reads for Kids

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.


Headless Halloween

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. You can purchase the book at Tiki Machine.


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.

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  1. Anything by the late, great John Bellairs!

  2. Sue Taylor says:

    I recommend Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi and Gris Grimly.

  3. benjduff says:

    Something Wicked This Way Comes

  4. Joseph Nevin says:

    Bunnicula and The Halloween Tree are two of my favorites! I’d also recommend Bradbury’s The October Country

  5. Annie Thornton says:

    Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson!

  6. Maria Elena says:

    The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

  7. TJ says:

    Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark scared me as a kid and still scares me now. Find an original copy. In the new version the drawings have been toned down and don’t scare the pants off you anymore. 

  8. Dorothy Fast says:

    We loved The Hallo-Weiner. All about a dachshund who wants to be a hero, is saddled with a ridiculous costume and becomes a bad-ass anyway. Written by Dave Pilkey, of Captain Underpants fame, so you know it will deliver.

  9. Jasmin says:

    I bought a book for my youngsters ‘The Halloween Book’ from here and they doubled their love for me this year 😉

  10. My twins and I love “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” by Linda Williams. My mom knew how much I love Halloween and so she bought it for the kids before she died. We would read it to them when they were toddlers and they had little moves for each part and they would get so excited when they got to yell, “boo, boo, boo!” It really was cute. We’ve had a bit of a rough few years and I recently ran across that book in storage. They remembered every move and every boo. This is why I love books so. It was like a love letter from her when we needed it most. What a wonderful way to remember her. I hope they read it to my grandkids when it’s time. Make a tradition of it. Thanks for the other suggestions as well. We’ll look them up.

  11. Aghast at the omission of Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep by Jack Prelutsky!