Halloween is fast approaching, which means apple picking, pumpkin carving, candy eating, and costume wearing. But most importantly? It means snuggling under the covers with a flashlight and a book. Whether your young reader adores a good scare or a light spook, one (or all!) of these stories is the perfect accompaniment to your plans this Halloween. So, grab your favorite sweet, a steamy beverage, and your bravest attitude and get ready for some creepy fun!
In a Dark Dark Room and Other Scary Stories, by Alvin Schwartz
Turn off the lights, grab a flashlight, and get ready for some spookiness with In a Dark Dark Room and Other Scary Stories! The book is comprised of seven creepy tales, perfect for early readers who adore a bit of scare. Like the forward says, “the best time to read these stories is at night—in front of a fire or in the dark. Tell them s-l-o-w-l-y and quietly, and everyone will have a good time.”
Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise (Mercy Watson Series #4), by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Halloween is coming, and Mr. and Mrs. Watson want to dress Mercy up and go trick-or-treating! But what will they dress her up as? A robot? A witch? No, a princess, of course, complete with a tiara! And Mercy is all in because she hears the word treats! Chaos ensues during neighborhood trick-or-treating, though, once Mercy starts to chase the Lincoln Sisters’ cat, General Washington. Young kids will laugh out loud at the funny illustrations and story!
What Was I Scared Of?, by Dr. Seuss
Featuring glow in the dark ink, this is the perfect Halloween slumber party pick. With Seuss’ fantastical illustrations and wacky way with words, this is a great book for kids a little bit afraid of the darker elements of the season. The narrator is afraid of a pair of pants—and the pants are afraid of the narrator!—and each page helps deliver a message about understanding and facing fear. Perfect for the scaredy-pants in your family. (Ages 5-8)
It’s Halloween, I’m Turning Green! (My Weird School Special Series) by Dan Gutman, Pictures by Jim Paillot
A.J. and his friends are ready for candy. Dressed in crazy costumes, like Darth Bambi, a mutant zombie pirate, and a skateboarding hippie dinosaur, the group of trick-or-treaters have a route mapped out for the best chances for candy. However, they run into Andrea and her friend Emily along the way, and they say they know how to get to their teacher’s house, who promised them a magical Halloween treat. But now, they are lost. And the Halloween Monster is right behind them! What will they do? Children ages 6-10 will enjoy this book all about the characters’ humorous antics on Halloween night.
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Kids may know the name Frankenstein, but they may not know the whole story. This modern retelling is the perfect opportunity to learn about scientist Victor Frankenstein and his mission to discover the secret of life. As he puts together a creature from the body parts of the dead, he fashions a monster that comes to life and haunts Victor until his last days. This classic tale of horror will frighten and delight.
Haunted Castle on Hallow’s Eve (Magic Tree House Series #30), by Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie are in for another magical tree house adventure but this time on Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween. They are invited back in time to meet up with Merlin and to create order in a Duke’s castle. Along with Teddy, Merlin’s apprentice, they must figure out the eerie secret of the seemingly ghost-filled castle circled by creepy ravens. But will they be able to solve the mystery and fulfill their mission? Fans of the Magic Tree House series have to add this Halloween-themed one to their collection.
Trixie the Halloween Fairy, by Daisy Meadows
Friends Rachel and Kirsty are ready for trick-or-treating! But, suddenly, everyone in their town’s costumes are all mixed up. What gives? Trixie the Halloween Fairy, from Fairyland, clues them in that Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the special Halloween candy she made for Halloween! Without it, the costumes, candy, and Halloween spirit will be ruined! Rachel, Kirsty, Trixie, and a little kitten named Moonlight have to outwit the goblins and find the missing candy first or Halloween will be over this year! Full of mystery and magic, this Halloween tale split into three parts packs lots of entertainment.
And, for slightly older readers…
Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, by Shana Gorman
If your young reader loves dogs, pumpkins, and a bit of spooky adventure, then snatch up a copy of Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch! On a sunny fall day, brother James and sister Mandy set out to pick pumpkins during a family outing. This year, however, they’re joined by their new German shepherd, Rosco. A bit of a rascal, Rosco must stay on his leash while James and Mandy wander the corn maze. But when they discover two bullies dressed as skeletons, scaring passersby, will Rosco help his owners or flee from the scene? Find out how the adventure ends in this family fun chapter book! Perfect for 8-12 year-olds.
The Best Halloween Ever, by Barbara Robinson
Halloween is a time for trick-or-treating, dressing up, and consuming all the candy. Unless the mayor decides to cancel Halloween. In The Best Halloween Ever, that’s exactly what happens. Why? Because every Halloween, the six Herdman siblings steal candy, destroy the town, and spray-paint kids. To prevent anymore damage, the mayor decides to cancel Halloween. While that means the Herdmans have nothing to destroy, it also means no candy, no costumes, and no trick-or-treating. Can the six siblings pull together to save the holiday or will it be ruined forever? For ages 8-11.
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
Neil Gaiman is the master of the creepy story, and to me Coraline is one of his most terrifying tales! Coraline discovers a door in her drawing room that leads to an alternate reality. Everything is eerily similar—even her parents are there, but these new parents have black button eyes and sinister intentions. Be warned, this book may stay with you for years. If you are brave enough to pick up another frightening Gaiman book after this one, try The Graveyard Book.
Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories, by Roald Dahl
According to Roald Dahl, “Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story. It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts.” If that sounds like something that excites your young reader, then this book of ghost stories is the perfect material to read this Halloween. Explore the spooky and the macabre in this anthology of fourteen tales, all written by various writers. Suitable for older readers, ages 12 and up.
What Halloween chapter books are your kids’ favorites?