Looking for children’s books to read on Halloween? These tricky tales are just right for this spooky month!
‘10 Trick or Treaters’
By Janet Schulman
In this simple story 10 trick or treaters set out together, but their numbers dwindle as they encounter spiders, toads and even a “mummy.” Young readers will love the bouncy, rhyming words on each page and making predictions about what will happen next. The bright and whimsical illustrations ensure there won’t be any scares in this story.
By Sandra Boynton
This is a fun introduction to Halloween for young readers. The chickens have seen some unusual things happening around the farmyard, but they soon discover there is nothing to be nervous about. In her classic style, Sandra Boynton creates a story that readers of all ages will enjoy reading again and again.
‘Sir Simon: Super Scarer’
By Cale Atkinson
This a sweet story about Sir Simon, a professional ghost who has been assigned to haunt his first house. Things don’t go as planned when it turns out the older couple moving in have a grandkid named Chester who immediately starts to haunt Simon with questions. Simon devises a plan to trick Chester into doing all his ghostly chores such as rattling chains in the attic and making spooky noises. Chester isn’t quite up to professional ghost standards, however. This is a great story about friendship and finding a way to make things work. The detailed illustrations offer a lot for young readers to discover on each page.
By Lucy Ruth Cummins
Stumpkin is a great pumpkin. None of the others are quite as round or quite so perfectly orange. However, the others are being picked up and taken to homes where they will decorate windows and porches. Stumpkin is worried his lack of a stem will keep him from ever being chosen. The awesome illustrations make this story shine. Readers will love finding out what happens to this magnificent pumpkin.
‘Peter & Ernesto: Sloths in the Night’
By Graham Annable
This is a new title in the charming graphic novel series about two sloths. The friends realize Bernard has vanished, and Ernesto is sure he is with the dragon rumored to live in an abandoned temple. They must set out in the jungle at night to face their fears and find their friend.
‘Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories’
By Max Brallier, illustrated by Letizia Rubegni
This collection of five spooky stories is the first in the Mister Shivers series. Each story features a common fear like creatures hiding under the bed and menacing toys coming to life. The atmospheric illustrations help make this collection reminiscent of Alvin Schwart’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and will be perfect for readers who are looking for something with just the right amount of frightening.
‘The Graveyard Book, 10th Anniversary Edition’
By Neil Gaiman
Young Nobody Owens, also known simply as “Bod,” is a normal little boy, despite the fact he has been raised by ghosts and lives in a graveyard. Like a macabre version of “The Jungle Book,” Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” has won several awards, including the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Both children and adults will enjoy this magical tale perfect for the season.
By Katherine Arden
Eleven-year-old Ollie rescues a book from being thrown into the river only to discover it is a diary from 1885. It’s the account of a young girl living on a farm who writes about “the smiling man.” The next day, Ollie’s class takes a field trip to a local farm where Ollie discovers
gravestones bearing the names of the very people from the diary. On the way back from the farm, the school bus breaks down and night is quickly approaching. Are the family from the diary and the smiling man real? Ollie is about to find out.
By Rainbow Rowell
All through their high school years, teens Deja and Josiah have worked seasonally at the best pumpkin patch in all of Nebraska. It is their senior year in high school and the last night of their final year of working at the pumpkin patch, so they decide to shake things up. They leave their station at the Succotash Hut to explore the patch for the last time. Between beautiful artwork by Faith Erin Hicks and Rainbow Rowell’s heartwarming story, “Pumpkinheads” is perfect for getting into the fall spirit.
‘We Sold Our Souls’
By Grady Hendrix
Kris Pulaski had a heavy metal band, Durt Wurk, which was on the cusp of greatness. After years of work and practice, their first tour was going well. Then suddenly everything fell apart. Years later, Kris works in a dead-end job, has no friends and is haunted by her failure. To make matters worse, her fellow bandmate, Terry Hunt, is a global superstar. He is on every billboard and radio station as he announces his final major tour. However, after a series of frightening encounters, Kris begins to suspect that Terry’s rise to fame came not only at the cost of their band Durt Wurk, but perhaps at the cost of Kris’ very soul. If you enjoy horror with a dash of dark comedy, then give “We Sold Our Souls” a try. The journey is definitely not for the faint of heart.
A version of this story was published in the October-November issue of Frederick’s Child.