From deep in the D.O.A. kiddie book vault (I’ve kept all of my son’s kids books, except for a very few–shhh don’t tell him–that were torturous to read aloud–ack its one thing to read a great book 100 plus times, death warmed over to read a badly written commercial knock off or whatever more than once) we bring you the best books from our Halloween Holiday Collection. Reading aloud is an ageless activity, so never stop if you can help it. Remember, when you’re reading aloud, you can control the scarieness level by voice alone, with sound effects, varying voices etc adding a great deal. Or just read in a casual tone if you don’t want to imbue the text with tooo much scariness.
In a dark, dark room and other scary stories: retold by Alvin Schwartz
From the foreward: “Most of us like scary stories because we like being scared. When there is no real danger, feeling scared is fun. The best time for 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.”
Pumpkin Light by David Ray
An artistic little boy’s love of drawing pumpkins gets him into trouble one Halloween night.
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Stephen Kroll
Two little mice lovingly tend a pumpkin in the garden causing it to grow to an enormous size. Each mouse thinks their own efforts are responsible for the remarkable growth, and neither knows about the other till one cold night in the pumpkin patch.
The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The cubs map out their neighborhood Halloween route, making sure to skip the scary house of Miz McGrizz. They soon fall in with Too-Tall Grizzly and his first stop is Crooked Lane and the creepy house of Miz McGrizz!
Clifford’s First Halloween by Norman Bridwell
Before Clifford the Big Red Dog grew to be the size of a house, he was a teeny puppy the size of your hand, getting into all sorts of silly trouble on his first Halloween night.
The Witch Has an Itch by Donna Guthrie
A witch who delights in playing mean tricks on people starts to itch one day uncontrollably every time she does something bad. There is a fun to read rhyme that changes as she develops itches in new locations, stubbornly trying to keep up her bad reputation:
The Witch has an itch! The witch has an itch!
Oh where, oh where, does the witch have an itch?
On her long and warty nose!
On her long and warty nose!
By the light of the Halloween Moon by Caroline Stutson
A little girl playing music and tapping her toes in the light of the silvery moon attracts an assortment of beasties. In a poetic tale similar to The House That Jack Built they scrabble all over each other trying to get to that tapping toe.
The Halloween Performance by Felicia Bond
Roger and his fellow mice put on a class play for Halloween. Sweet mice cavort through the preparations, and the play is capped by Roger’s stunning performance.
A Very Scary Ghost Story by Joanne Barkan
Two little ghosts return to their hometown on Halloween night, reminiscing and trying to find the scariest place in town. After visiting the usual haunts, they find a Halloween party where costumed children are having a wonderful time, and they happily join right in. A fun added touch is that the books drawings glow in the dark! Best read by flashlight.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
A no nonsense little old lady who is not afraid of anything is followed home one night by:
Two shoes go CLOMP CLOMP,
One pair of pants go WIGGLE WIGGLE,
One shirt go SHAKE SHAKE,
Two gloves go CLAP CLAP,
One hat go NOD NOD,
One scary pumpkin head go BOO BOO!
Told progressively with just the right sound effects this is a fine scary tale.
Trick or Treat, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter is excited about Halloween but he’s a little cranky about his costume and the family pumpkin, and Halloween night doesn’t go quite his way. Look for the little mouse on every page!
Six Creepy Sheep by Judith Ross Enderle
Six Creepy Sheep go trick or treating! One by one they are scared by the things they see out on the roads till there is just One Creepy Sheep left.
A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams
A woggle of witches venture out on Halloween night, eating bat stew and spiderweb bread, flying in formation in the night sky, visiting the moon and being very scared! of some small costumed monsters marching past a cornfield.
A Halloween Happening by Adrienne Adams
The woggle of witches decide that this Halloween they will throw a party for the costumed children that scared them last year. They prepare a feast (toad tarts, scrambled lizard eggs, wart soup, worm waffles), build an amazing pumpkin tower all lit up in the night, and they take them for silent rides on Bat Gliders. Everyone has fun this Halloween and nobody is scared of anyone else.
What is Halloween? by Harriet Ziefert
Little Mouse learns all about Halloween in this charming lift-the-flap book.
Rotten Ralph’s Trick or Treat! by Jack Gantos
Bad kitty Rotten Ralph and his sweet mistress Sarah dress as each other to go to a costume party. Nobody can figure out why “Sarah” puts the fish in the punchbowl and pops pocorn all over the house and why “Rotten Ralph” is such a good kitty that night.
The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston
A 700 year old woman and an 800 year old man chase their stolen pumpkin through the night, joined by ghosties, ghoulies, varmints and rapscallions! Oh, how the old man wants that pumpkin to make into a pie!
The Haunted House by Dorothy Rose
Two children with big imaginations go through a “haunted house” on a rainy day.
Ghost’s Hour, Spook’s Hour by Eve Bunting
Midnight is Ghost’s Hour, Spook’s Hour for a little boy and his dog when the lights go out and the wind howls woooooo.
Boo! Guess who?
A peek-a-boo board book asks “It’s Halloween night. Who knows who’s who? Boo! Guess who?”
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow adapted from the original by Washington Irving by Russ Flint
Wonderfully illustrated and adapted telling of this traditional tale.
Babar and the Ghost by Laurent de Brunhoff
While on a family picnic at Black Castle, Babar meets the ghost of Baron Bardula. The elephant ghost has such fun with the children that he agrees to come home with them and play some silly tricks on the grownups.
Dinosaur’s Halloween by Liza Donnelly
What happens when a boy and his dog dress up as dinosaurs for Halloween? They’re joined by a real dinosaur that they think is just another little kid.
Happy Halloween, don’t forget to read a few stories aloud tonight!
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark!
Wowie! While I was looking for a YouTube presentation by storyteller Jackie Torrence (who could really tell a tale!) I found the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark blog by children’s illustrator Stephen Gammell. Kids who are just a bit older love the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark collections by Alvin Schwartz. They are a great introduction to ghost stories and horror novels for future scare-the-pants-off-of-me-cause-mommy-is-right-here-and-I’m-safe types like myself. The blog features scary stories recommendations and other sites for even more delicious scariness.
At the bottom of the page are 31 short scary tales illustrated and told by Stephen Gammell with great glee. Wonderful! Here is one for all of you World Series fans: