13 Spooky Reads!

Halloween Children’s Book Favorites…

It is Halloween year round here!  My kids just love all things Halloween.  My son has a costume catalog full of tape repairs that he peruses on a regular basis.  My daughters loves our Halloween book collection and has her favorites at the library too.  I don’t remember liking scary things at all as a kid!  Isn’t it interesting how kids are like us in lots of ways and not like us at all in others?!  Lots of people are attracted to scary things.  I wonder why that is?

Even though it is not my favorite, if it gets them reading I am all for it!  I supposes if they had nightmares I might think differently.  I think it helps to keep it age appropriate.

Here are our top 13 Halloween/scary books!

1. One, Two…Boo!by Kristin L. Depken, illustrated by Claudine Gevry

For little ones…  my son has this one memorized!

The littlest trick-or-treaters can lift the flaps to count their way through a spooky old house . . . but they had better be prepared for a few surprises! With a die-cut cover, adorable illustrations, and a flap on every page, this sturdy little board book is the perfect Halloween gift for trick-or-treaters everywhere (Amazon Descriptions).

2. Boo to You! by Lois Ehlert

One of our favorite illustrators!  Her books have inspired lots of art in our house!

The harvest garden is bursting with delicious vegetables, the pumpkins are decorated and lit, and the mice have their costumes ready. Everyone is looking forward to the annual Halloween-night feast. Scary Cat wasn’t invited to the party, but he seems to think he’s coming anyway. Time for a clever mouse-style surprise to outsmart that cat (Amazon description)!

3. In a Dark, Dark House (All Aboard Reading) by Jennifer Dussling

Now my daughter reads this to my son who gets to read the rebus “words”!

Delightfully spooky fun abounds in a beginning reader that utilizes a simple vocabulary, full-color rebus illustrations, and twenty-four cut-out flash cards to reinforce reading skills (Amazon Description).

4. Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Margret and H. A. Rey

My kids love to talk about the costumes!  This was my daughter favorite for a long time.

George and the man with the yellow hat arrive at a Halloween party—but they aren’t wearing costumes. No matter—there are plenty in an old trunk upstairs, and soon George is trying on all kinds of outfits. But when he wants to look in the mirror, George finds he has to jump on the bed. Downstairs, the partygoers begin to hear noises. Then the lights go out and they hear a crash! Uh-oh. Did someone say the word ghost (Amazon Description)?

5. Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

This is one of MY favorites!

At the edge of town lives a clever girl with a spooky problem: Her house is haunted! Luckily, she happens to be a witch and knows a little something about taking care of ghosts. She catches them, puts them in the washing machine, airs them out to dry, and gives them new lives as sofa covers, table cloths, and, of course, bed sheets to cozy up under. Fresh and charming illustrations in dynamic orange, black and white bring this resourceful heroine and these spooky ghosts to life.

6. Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by S. D. Schindler

This one is easy and fun to read!

Skeletons are a little less scary when they have the hiccups. This particular skeleton can’t seem to shake them–not in the shower (nice fuzzy bat slippers!), not while brushing his teeth (woops! there goes the bottom jaw!), not while polishing his bones, carving a pumpkin, raking leaves, or even when playing baseball with his friend Ghost. Ghost, instead of Boo-ing! away his buddy’s hiccups right away as we might expect, advises Skeleton to hold his breath and eat some sugar and drink water upside down. When he finally does Boo! it still doesn’t work. But when Ghost finds a mirror and holds it up to Skeleton’s face, he sees his reflection and screams in fright! The hiccups jump away, hic, hic, hic. While it’s novel to see a skeleton eating sugar, drinking water, showering, etc., it may be tricky to find the right audience for this unusual picture book that’s more about hiccups than Halloween. (Amazon description).

7. Monster Museum by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Gris Grimly

We are constantly requesting this one from the library!

Welcome, brave souls, to the Monster Museum!
On your left, see the Zombie do his walk.
Look out for the mummy (she’s snapped and come unwrapped).
Frankenstein’s grumpy—they gave him a bride, but never a name.
Come in, if you dare, and meet all the slimy, screaming, slithery friends and fiends. They’re just dying to show you a good time!

Gris Grimly’s colorful caricatures perfectly complement the playful beat of Marilyn Singer’s poems to create a ghastly good Halloween read (Amazon Description).

8. Hallowilloween: Nefarious Silliness from Calef Brown

Spooky fun poems and illustrations!

Welcome to the spooky side of Calef Brown’s imagination, where things are just as scarily silly as they seem!
It’s a magic night, a silly, spooky scene.
Are you ready for Hallowilloween?

9. Halloween Hoots and Howls by Joan Horton, illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi

More fun Halloween poetry!

A Frankenstein who shops at the grocery store. A ghost who’s afraid of ghosts. A witch with a turbo broomstick. These are just a few of the quirky ghouls and goblins children will meet in this playful picture book brimming with holiday cheer.
Joan Horton’s silly, spooky poems and JoAnn Adinolfi’s whimsical illustrations capture the spirit and excitement trick-or-treaters expect on Halloween. So this year, give a giggle and a shiver forHalloween Hoots and Howls (Amazon description)!

10. Spells by Emily Gravett

This one is a relatively new and very cool discovery!

From critically acclaimed author Emily Gravett comes Spells, the hilarious misadventures of a small green frog who just wants to kiss a princess (amazon description).

“The black backgrounds, strong use of paper torn images, and watercolor character depicitons are better than a harvest night! This creative use of art and the split pages make this book a unique standour among picture books…Recommended.”–Library Media Connection

11. Ickstory: Unraveling the History of Mummies Around the World (Penguin Young Readers, L4) by Sylvia Branzei, illustrated by Jack Keely

I say yuck to this nonfiction pick but my kids love it!

The creators of Grossology continue the icky, sticky history lesson with this reader about mummies from around the world. With hilarious illustrations and disgusting facts about mummies, this Level 4 reader will keep readers wrapped up for hours (Amazon description)!

12. Beasts (Mystic Phyles) by Stephanie Brockway, illustrated by Ralph Masciello

My daughter enjoyed a recent visit from this lively illustrator at her school and came away wanting this book especially!

Abigail Thaddeus lives with her grandparents in an old, spooky, ramshackle mansion. While her life is certainly unusual, Abigail finds it just plain boring. That is, until she receives an anonymous letter that sends her on a quest to research mythical creatures. With her best friend Charley’s help, Abigail learns about beasts familiar (e.g. the unicorn) and unfamiliar (e.g. the bonnacon) and is shocked to discover that they may be more real than she had thought. When a threatening letter from the mysterious Board of Mystical Management arrives, Abigail has to decide whether to pursue knowledge at all costs or choose a safer path. Abigail’s adventure is told through her journal entries, sketches, and beast research pages, using a scrapbook style (Amazon description).

13. Can You See What I See?: On a Scary Scary Night: Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve by Walter Wick

From the I Spy guy, enough said!

In this latest addition to the hugely successful CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? series, acclaimed photographer Walter Wick welcomes readers out for some spooky search-and-find fun!

Co-creator of the popular I SPY series,Walter Wick is at it again. Mr. Wick dazzles the senses with spooky scenes that achieve new levels of aesthetic excellence! This book offers readers lots of search and find fun as they peer through pages and pages of brilliant photographic compositions looking for fascinating toys and objects.

This highly collectable book is a must (Amazon Description).

And a bonus! The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat (I Can Read Book 1) by Nurit Karlin

This is a great book for new readers!  Much of the story revolves around the “at” word family.  It is not scary but there is a witch!

* * * 

Also check out Pragmatic Mom’s list which includes some great spooky chapter book picks!

Do you have any Halloween or other spooky favorites?  Please share!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! doodlesandjots@hotmail.com. If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


    • Oh, maybe some left over Easter candy!

      Just though of this…

      Great time to be picking through your library’s Halloween selection rather than wait until October when they are in high demand!

  1. I think it’s amazing how kids memorize books. That’s actually how I remember I learnt to read.. Mom read me the same book over and over, I memorized it and pretended I could read it. Next thing I knew..I could. (:
    Larissa T. recently posted..I’m a Slow Runner.My Profile

  2. These are great picks! My 2 3/4 year old son Oliver is OBSESSED with spooky. LOVES spooky. These books are spooky, I’ve got to check ’em out!
    Tiffanie recently posted..awayMy Profile

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