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My Favorite Halloween Books

October 31, 2010

A while back, when I had just started this blog, I wrote a post about My Favorite Holiday Books.  I am continually surprised every time I view my stats, because it comes up all the time–still.  So, I decided that I should share some more books with you.

Halloween is one of my very favorite holidays.  I love how it matches the creepy feeling that happens when the days start to shrink and the nights stretch out before us.  Suddenly it is dark at dinnertime, whereas only a short month ago it seems like there were hours of sunlight after dinner.  The trees are naked and look like giant hands of skeletons reaching up from the grave.  Their dead leaves blowing noisily in the wind.  The gardens with the flowers hanging their dead heads toward the ground are reminiscent of a cemetery.

So, here are my favorite books out of our book basket for Halloween:

Books about Fall

These two books are my favorite books about fall, and they are both by Lois Ehlert.  Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (ISBN:  0-15-266197-2) chronicles the life-cycle of a sugar maple tree, ending in the fall.  In the back of the book it gives a lot of advice for choosing your own tree to love.  Leaf Man (ISBN:  0-15-205304-2) is about the Leaf Man that the narrator found in a pile of leaves and who blew away.  It follows the wind where he may have blown and the illustrations are all done with collages of leaves.  It is downright inspiring.  I certainly want to go gather leaves to make collages after reading this book.



These first two books are both about the life-cycle of pumpkins.  Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson (photographs by Shmuel Thaler) (ISBN-10:  1-58246-078-7) is outstanding because of the photography.  It begins with seeds and ends with seeds after the Jack-O-Lanterns decompose.   Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington (ISBN:  0-688-05695-4) is a sweet tale about a boy who plants a seed for his Halloween Jack-O-Lantern, and saves some seeds for the next year.

Pumpkins by Mary Lyn Ray (ISBN: 0-15-252252-2) is not really about Halloween.  It is about a man who loves a piece of land, that is about to be sold to developers.  He decides to do something about it, and the pumpkins save the land.  It is a wonderful story.  My husband’s favorite.  The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis (ISBN:  0-439-56544-8) is exactly what you think.  It is also about all the good pumpkin-y food that goes along with the holiday!


Spooky Stories


The best part of David A. Carter’s version of In a Dark, Dark Wood (ISBN:  0-671-74134-9) is the last page.  The ghost literally jumps out at you.  My book is well-loved and is missing a middle section (even spookier, don’t you think?) but you get the idea.



Teeny Tiny (ISBN:  0-440-84775-3) by Jill Bennett is one of my childhood favorites.  It is about a Teeny Tiny woman who finds a Teeny Tiny bone while on a walk.  She is awakened several times by a voice saying, “Give me my bone…” until she makes her decision about the bone at the end.  Hist whist (ISBN:  0-517-88177-2) is an eerie poem by e.e. cummings.  Deborah Kogan Ray’s paintings accompany it well.


The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerrlizzi  (ISBN:  0-439-57924-4) is a classic tale of how evil seduces the innocent.  This story is a bit scary for really little kids, at least is was for mine, but school aged kids should be fine.  The Bones of Fred Mc Fee by Eve Bunting (I love Eve Bunting) (ISBN:  0-15-202004-7) is a rhyming book told about a skeleton, a plastic skeleton that comes alive on Halloween.


You Can’t Scare Me

My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things by Judith Viorst (ISBN:  0-689-71204-9) is about a kid who keeps tabs on how many times his mother is wrong about things, so how can she be trusted to know that there aren’t any of these scary things out there?  Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley (ISBN:  0-316-23653-5) is a great book for little kids.  First the book builds the monster then it makes it go away.



I really like Do Not Open by Brinton Turkle (ISBN:  0-14-054747-9).  It is not really a Halloween book, but it is good and spooky.  It is about a lady who lives alone with her cat, and likes to collect things  that wash up on shore after storms.  One day she lets an evil genie free, but she knows just what to do!  A very favorite of my kids and of every class of elementary students that I have ever taught is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams (ISBN:  0-690-04584-0).  She seems like she might be scared, but in the end, we know she never was.  This is a great interactive book to share with little friends.



Witch, Witch Come to my Party by Arden Druce (ISBN:  0-85953-780-3) is my very favorite for little kids.  It is a pattern text, so emergent readers can read along (kind of like Brown Bear, Brown Bear) and the illustrations are true to Halloween:  Scary.  It ends up that all of the illustrations are really just costumes that the children are wearing to a Halloween party.  Guess What? by Mem Fox (ISBN:  0-15-200452-1) is all about a crazy lady called Daisy O’Grady who has a secret.  It is written in a question and answer format, but you learn the most from the illustrations.




Today is Halloween! by P.K. Hallinan (ISBN:  0-8249-5306-1) (I am sorry, it is not at Amazon.) is a great overview of the traditions of Halloween.  It is great to use in schools where some students may not understand what Halloween is, and it is written in a rhyme so it is very engaging.  Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex (ISBN:  978-0-399-24534-3) is written in the exact format as Goodnight Moon.  This is my new book for the year.  I couldn’t NOT get it.  I know, I have a sickness.


Harriet’s Halloween Candy by Nancy Carlson (ISBN:  0-14-050465-6) is a warning tale.  Be careful how much candy you eat, or you may end up as green as Harriet did when she didn’t share her candy with her little brother!  It is always a good idea to share so you don’t end up like her.  Another favorite of my kids and all of my former classes is The Thirteen Days of Halloween by Carol Green (ISBN:  0-516-08231-0).  This book should be sung, not read, to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  They LOVE this one.  (Please forgive the ripped cover and the stickers that adorn our copy, if this doesn’t prove their love, I don’t know what will.)


Eve Bunting has so many good books, Scary, Scary Halloween (ISBN:  0-89919-414-1) is about a family of cats that witness all of the creatures that come out (to trick-or-treat) on Halloween night, but we don’t really know that those green spooky eyes belong to cats until the end.  Other books I don’t highlight here but are worth mentioning by Eve Bunting are:  The Pumpkin Fair (ISBN:  0-395-70060-4) and In The Haunted House (ISBN:  0-395-69942-8).  Another favorite author of mine, Cynthia Rylant, brings us Moonlight the Halloween Cat (ISBN:  0-06-029711-5)  Moonlight walks us through Halloween in this calm loving story of smiling pumpkins and straw laps to sleep on, at the end, she finds a candy.  Just the perfect treat for a Halloween Cat.

Old Devil Wind by Bill Martin Jr. (ISBN:  0-15-257768-8) is a tale that repeats what every object in a haunted house does on every page, adding another every time.  It is great to play instruments to accompany the words.  Kids love to be actively involved in this book.  And, speaking of haunted houses, meet The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco (ISBN:  0-399-24034-9).  They may be a bit different and maybe a little strange, but in the end they are accepted into the neighborhood with open arms.  It just takes a while to get to know them.


My Very Favorite

I know I have told you before that Chris Van Allsburg is my favorite author (well, one of them anyway).  He, again, wins the best book award on my blog.  The Widow’s Broom (ISBN:  0-395-64051-2) tells a tale of a broom that drops from the sky with its passenger.  The widow finds the witch and her broom in her garden and brings her inside to heal.  The broom, however is left behind.  I love how this story depicts the witch as a beautiful woman, not a hag.  I also love that the widow helps her.  The broom?  Well.  The broom turns out to be a great help to the widow.  Its magic may not be strong enough for flight, but there still is enough to help the widow out on her farm.  It is the neighbors who think that the broom is evil, and want to burn the broom at the stake (sound familiar?).  You must read the book to see what happens.  I won’t ruin it for you.  This is the book I look forward to reading every Halloween.

So.  There you have it.  Do you have any other Halloween books you would like to share?  I know I have a big collection, but I could always use one more



  1. LeaAnna permalink
    November 1, 2010 7:13 pm

    Sophie & Isabella loved The Widow’s Broom! :)

    • November 5, 2010 10:26 am

      Of course they did. They had an excellent reader! :) Thanks for delurking, by the way.

  2. November 4, 2010 11:25 pm

    What a great post!

    We used to LOVE “Dorrie the Little Witch” books around Halloween. We always checked them out of the library. I’m not sure, they might be out of print. They’re a lot of fun though…

    • November 5, 2010 10:27 am

      Can you believe that I have never read about Dorrie? I am definitely going to have to check her out. I am sure my kids would love her, since they love witches so much. Thanks for the tip!

  3. November 6, 2010 5:40 pm

    We loved Go Away Big Green Monster to pieces when the kids were small. (I loved Dorrie the little witch, too)

  4. November 15, 2010 3:41 am

    Ooo, I love this! I’m bookmarking it for next year. Thank you so much for doing these posts, by the way. We’re going to be getting some stuff from the States at the end of the month, so I ordered FIVE of the Christmas books you recommended last year, and I cannot wait to snuggle up and read them with my girls. Really, I’m going to ask to read them more often than they will. :)


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