All the Chills: 27 Titles to Spook and Delight Readers This Halloween

These 27 titles about haunted houses, supernatural beings, trick or treating, and more range from sweet to scary and from frightful to delightful. 

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This Halloween season, readers can enjoy trucks in costumes, crayons trick-or-treating, a haunted White House, and more. These 27 titles for younger and older kids range from saccharine to spooky and from cute to creepy.

Vampire Baby!: A Hazy Dell Flap Book by Elias Barks. illus. by Zoe Persico. Hazy Dell Pr. ISBN 9781948931359. 
Toddler-PreS–A not-so-scary vampire tale takes readers on a tour of a castle on Halloween night. This board book uses a question-and-answer format with chunky flaps to reveal the hiding characters. A cute, not too scary, addition to library Halloween collections.

The Most Haunted House in America by Jarrett Dapier. illus. by Lee Gatlin. Abrams. ISBN 9781419752469. 
Gr 2-5–In 2009, Dapier was invited to play the drums at the White House during the Obamas’s first Halloween celebration. This engaging, rhyming story inspired by that event begins with the Skeleton Drummers receiving an invitation to perform. The cleverly illustrated book, with its pencil, ink, and digitally colored illustrations, includes historical political figures portrayed as dancing ghosts.

The Crayons Trick or Treat by Drew Daywalt. illus. by Oliver Jeffers. Philomel. ISBN 9780593621028.
PreS-Gr 1–The crayons are going to trick-or-treat, and what a time they will have collecting candy from their neighbors! Yet, as they approach each door, the crayons are uncertain what they should say to receive candy. One by one, each costumed crayon takes a chance at getting candy. It is the Purple crayon, dressed as a devil, who helps them learn from their mistakes.

Truck or Treat: A Spooky Book with Flaps by Hannah Eliot. illus. by Jen Taylor. Little Simon. ISBN 9781665915977. 
Toddler-PreS–A winning combination of a Halloween truck theme and flaps encourages children to actively participate in learning the story. The book opens with friendly trucks on a construction site as the sun is setting, followed by illustrations of different trucks in simple Halloween costumes.The artwork is bright and colorful, and the text works well to convey the holiday theme without being scary. 

Costume Capers (LEGO City) by Steve Foxe. illus. by various. Random. ISBN 9780593483794. 
PreS-Gr 3–Mayor Fleck wakes up ready and excited for Halloween, but one thing is mysteriously missing: his costume! Strange things keep happening around him, but Mayor Fleck chugs along through the day, hoping to find a new costume just in time for the big night. Luckily, he wakes up and realizes it was all a dream. This story for beginning readers will appeal to young lovers of LEGO City and Halloween.

Happy Owl-oween!: A Halloween Story by Laura Gehl. illus. by Lydia Nichols. Abrams/Appleseed. ISBN 9781419743122. 
Toddler-PreS–In this holiday-themed offering from Gehl and Nichols, anthropomorphized owlets enjoy all that the season has to offer. Simple three-word phrases lead to lyrical rhymes that highlight each activity and tell a story of Autumn. Families will have a hoot of a time reading this gentle introduction to the holiday.

The Monsters on the Broom by Annemarie Riley Guertin. illus. by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn. Little Simon. ISBN 9781665911467. 
Baby-Toddler–Monsters delight in taking a flying broomstick out for a spin on a magical Halloween night. Their toothy smiles and camaraderie will woo children to join in on their spooky fun to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.” An engaging way to introduce the littlest readers to All Hallows’ Eve.

Little Ghostie: Finger Puppet Book. Chronicle. ISBN 9781797212883. 
Baby-Toddler–At dusk on Halloween night, Little Ghostie sets out on a countdown adventure, narrating the sights and sounds of the town’s spooky celebrations. Simple, interactive, and a serviceable introduction to all of the Halloween essentials for the youngest of readers.

A Costume for Charly by C.K Malone. illus. by Alejandra Barajas. Beaming. ISBN 9781506484051. 
PreS-Gr 2–Bi-gender Charly is determined to find a Halloween costume that represents their whole identity, showing they’re both a boy and a girl. Their Dracula costume makes their femme side feel erased, and the Little Red Riding Hood costume leaves their masc side in the dust. The only solution? Charly must get creative!

Halloween Is a Treat! by Sabrina Moyle. illus. by Eunice Moyle. Abrams/Appleseed. ISBN 9781419751066. 
Toddler-PreS–“Halloween is...” bright, bold, jolly, and very busy. Charming recurring characters, a big grey cat and a smaller black cat, guide readers through this Halloween adventure. This book is a laugh-out-loud, frothy treat brimming with the excitement of a Halloween party where all are invited to participate.

Groggle’s Monster Halloween by Diana Murray. illus. by Bats Langley. Sky Pony. ISBN 9781510770850. 
K-Gr 2–Blue, bespectacled Groggle and pink, one-eyed Snarlina delight as their trick-or-treat pumpkin pails fill up with deliciously creepy goodies such as crispy bones, lizard tails, and spider pops. Snarlina saves her treats, but monstrously-hungry Groggle devours everything on the spot, even his pail. Covering mostly familiar Halloween territory, the story branches out to include sweet messages about friendship. 

Monsters Growling in the Background. illus by Martin Ontiveros. Reycraft. ISBN 9781478870418.
Gr 3 Up–A set of 13 poems where the spooky illustrations are the focus. A mix of famous older works, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” and newer Halloween poems are clearly compiled to serve the images that Ontiveros has created—and those images are very well done. A fun read-aloud for readers who love spooky art.

Countdown to Halloween by Greg Paprocki. ­illus. by Greg Paprocki. Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423661436. 
Toddler-PreS–A convivial Halloween primer in the BabyLit alphabet series. Counting down the days to the holiday, spreads of seasonal activities provide Where’s Waldo? opportunities to hunt for spooky objects. Kids and adults of varied skin tones paint pumpkins, bake ghost cookies, tell scary campfire stories, and visit a haunted house.

If Animals Trick-or-Treated by Ann Whitford Paul. illus. by David Walker. Farrar. ISBN 9780374388522. 
PreS-Gr 1–This endearing read-aloud will make young children giggle and will warm their hearts. Throughout the story, Paul invites children to imagine what animals would do if they celebrated Halloween like humans. Instead of portraying a scary holiday filled with monsters, this sweet book allows children to see the fun-loving side of Halloween.

Love, Diana: Happy Halloween! by PocketWatch, Inc. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780063204416. 
PreS-Gr 3–Diana and Roma are dressed up in costumes and ready to go trick-or-treating. But before they can begin, Boring Boris turns their castle into a haunted house full of ghosts, monsters, and cobwebs. With the help of Dawn, the Duchess of Daring, Diana and Roma take care of Boring Boris’s scary plan just in time for trick-or-treating with friends. 

Construction Site Gets a Fright! by Sherri Duskey Rinker. illus. by AG Ford. Chronicle. ISBN 9781797204321. 
Toddler-PreS–Even the mightiest of machines can get a fright from time to time, and everyone’s favorite construction crew is in for some spooky tricks on this dark and windy All Hallow’s Eve. Young readers, from toddlers to kindergarteners, will delight in the Halloween hijinks of their beloved things-that-go. 

Harry and the Haunted House by Chris Roberston. illus by Chris Robertson. Xist. ISBN 9781532433290. 
PreS-Gr 1–Harry, a young boy clad in a skeleton costume, takes readers on a short tour through his house as “something very spooky is happening.” A short and sweet treat for the youngest of Halloween fans.

Trick or Treat, Alistair Gray by Lindy Ryan. illus. by Timea Gazdag. Black Spot. ISBN 9781645481157. 
K-Gr 2–Alistair Gray believes Halloween is a time for frightening monsters, not fairies and fun. So when the Halloween party he attends doesn’t live up to his expectations, the young boy mummy leaves to find the “real Halloween.” With its rhyming cadence and spooky Tim Burton-esque illustrations, Ryan and Gazdag acknowledge the holiday’s origins of warding off the supernatural. But they also remind readers that this is a time for fun. 

If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira. illus. by Irena Freitas. S. & S. ISBN 9781534488748. 
PreS-Gr 2–A young girl’s imagination turns her experience with a new babysitter into something fun and spooky in this bilingual picture book. Halloween approaches, and a young girl gives advice to readers on what to look out for if they’re spending a night with a new babysitter. A fun addition to picture book collections for children, and a perfect choice for October reads.

Goodnight Train Halloween by June Sobel. illus. by Laura Huliska-Beith. Clarion. ISBN 9780358626077. 
PreS–Children and friendly animals have a fun adventure riding a train in sleeper bed cars on Halloween night. The train travels through a forest with smiling ghosts and spiders, makes its way through a candy cane storm with a smiling mummy, and has other adventures. In a non-scary way, children learn about ghosts, bats, witches, and other Halloween traditions.

Time for Halloween, Lambie by Carrie Turley. illus. by Summer Parico. Lawley. ISBN 9781956357677. 
PreS-Gr 1–When Halloween comes around, Lambie, a one-eyed plushie sheep, is reluctant about everything, from decorating the house to picking a costume. A sweet if somewhat homespun introduction to celebratory traditions for little ones who might need encouragement finding the less scary and more entertaining side of Halloween. 

 How to Catch a Witch by Alice Walstead. ­illus. by Andy Elkerton. Sourcebooks/Wonderland. ISBN 9781728210353. 
PreS-Gr 2–A creepy, silly story about the neighborhood children trying to trick a mischievous witch into leaving their town before the end of Halloween night. Words and text rhyme neatly alongside beautifully animated illustrations that incorporate vibrant children’s costumes, as well as ghouls, ghosts, and witches. 

 Spooky Snacks and Treats: Frightfully Fun Halloween Recipes for Kids by Zac Williams. Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423661665. 
Gr 3-6–This Halloween-centered book is full of recipes and vivid photographs that will appeal to a reader’s stomach. The recipes are eclectic and feature clever scary names: Moonlit Bog Dip, a type of spinach dip; Ghoul Drool Spud Skins, a new twist on twice baked potatoes; and Frog Eye Nibbles, a snack of vegetables and melted cheese on French bread.


A Few YA Titles for the Older Kids

Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi and Evelyn Skye and Sandhya Menon. Wednesday Bks. ISBN 9781250797230. 
Gr 7 Up–Best friends Onny, Ash, and True, affectionately known as The Coven, are looking forward to a magical Halloween; what better time to try out a love potion than the night when legend says the Lady of Moon Ridge leaves the sky and visits the town that bears her name? In three distinct but connected tales, Onny, Ash, and True each have until midnight to find romance.

Long Live the Pumpkin Queen: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas by Shea Ernshaw. Disney. ISBN 9781368069601. 
Gr 7-10–Exactly 50 weeks after the events of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack and Sally Skellington have returned from their honeymoon to begin their work as the Pumpkin King and Queen. When Jack’s beloved ghost-dog Zero and Sally accidentally fall into the forgotten world of Dream Town, a series of events occurs that threatens everything she knows and loves.

Shades of Rust and Ruin by A.G Howard. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781547608089. 
Gr 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Nix, a “partial albino,” dreads Halloween. Her parents died on a long-ago Halloween, and more recently, her identical twin died on that day. To keep Lark’s memory alive and cope with her overwhelming guilt, Nix threw herself into creating a steampunk world called Mystiquiel. But this October 31st, Nix discovers that Mystiquiel and its inhabitants have taken on a life of their own.

Hollow OGN by Shannon Watters & Branden Boyer-White. illus. by Berenice Nelle. Boom! Box. ISBN 9781684158522. 
Gr 9 Up–Izzy Crane is new to Sleepy Hollow and quickly gets thrust into the whirlwind of Halloween traditions that honor the history of the town (as depicted in Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). This modern-day retelling of the Headless Horseman brings new twists to the legend while offering a fresh set of diverse characters and 21st-century references.

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