10 Must-Read Halloween Books, From the Spooky to the Cute

three boys reading under blanket with flashlight

Here’s a sweet idea to celebrate Halloween that doesn’t involve sugar galore: Grab some flashlights, gather your family, cozy up, turn off the lights…and open up one of these great Halloween books. Fear not: Even kids who are wary of Halloween’s scarier side will find a story on this list that won’t make them fret.

Beans Night cover

1. Bean's Night

By Sarah Hines-Stephen

Ages: 1-3

This sweet story about a little black cat that runs, chases string, and hides gives parents plenty of opportunities to act out action words for curious toddlers.

Ghosts in the House cover
From GHOSTS IN THE HOUSE! © 2008 by Kazuno Kohara. Reprinted by permission of Roaring Brook Press. All Rights Reserved.

2. Ghosts in the House!

By Kazuno Kohara

Ages: 1-3

There's nothing overly scary about this adorable ghost story, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book in 2008. The heroine is a girl witch who knows just what to do with a home full of ghosts: wash them and turn them into curtains!

I Love Fall cover
Text copyright © 2009 by Alison Inches; Illustration copyright © 2009 by Hiroe Nakata.

3. I Love Fall!

A Touch-and-Feel Board Book by Alison Inches, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

Ages: 1-3

Infants will enjoy listening to the rhymes about the change of season while also using their hands to explore some of the textures of fall.

I'm Looking for a Monster cover

4. I'm Looking for a Monster

By Timothy Young

Ages: 4-8

Nothing quite says Halloween like a pop-up book featuring—what else—monsters! Small hands will love lifting flaps, turning wheels, and pulling tabs in search of the perfect monster.

Creepy Carrots cover
Text copyright © 2012 by Aaron Reynolds; Illustration copyright © 2012 by Peter Brown.

5. Creepy Carrots

By Aaron Reynolds

Ages: 4-8

Are the carrots in Crackenhopper field following Jasper Rabbit? Or does Jasper Rabbit simply have an overactive imagination? A 2012 Caldecott Honor Book, Creepy Carrots features the beautiful (and yes, creepy) work of celebrated artist Peter Brown. Note that, although this book is about carrots, it is in fact a bit scary.

Wheres My Mummy cover

6. Where's My Mummy?

By Carolyn Crimi

Ages: 4-8

Like many human children, this little mummy doesn't want to go to bed: He just wants to play one more game of hide and shriek. Somehow, this book manages to make monsters adorable.

Bats at the Library cover

7. Bats at the Library

By Brian Lies

Ages: 4-8

A library window gets left open, and in flies a colony of bats, which proceed to play with copiers, use the computers, and hunt for their favorite books. Wonderfully told and fabulously illustrated by Brian Lies, this book brings the joy of libraries to life via a classic Halloween critter.

8. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

By Linda Williams

Ages: 4-8

The little old lady of the book's title takes a walk in a dark forest and finds a series of spookily animated objects following her home: shoes that go clomp, clomp; pants that go wiggle, wiggle; and gloves that go clap, clap. Children will love making the sounds—as well as the heroine's pluck and imagination.

Shake Dem Halloween Bones cover

9. Shake Dem Halloween Bones

By Mike Reed

Ages: 4-8

The city is dark and quiet. As the lights go down, the music starts up, and costumed guests arrive at the hip-hop Halloween ball! Told in rhyming text, your little one will love rapping, stomping, shaking along with the characters in this Halloween romp.

10. Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie

By Jill Esbaum

Ages: 4-8

Part of National Geographic’s Picture the Seasons series, this book takes children from field to table. Along the way, it describes accurately and simply the lifecycle of a pumpkin, making it a great book to accompany the change of seasons and seed-growing projects, too.

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