Best Halloween Books for Kids: Scary, Spooky, and Silly

| September 15, 2010 | 10 Comments

Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: September 15, 2010

Trick-or-treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to read!

Well, it doesn’t quite rhyme, but I do wish that people gave out kids’ books instead of candy during Halloween.

For those of us that really enjoy Halloween— you know who you are: you’ve had your child’s costume since July, you’re dying for a visit to the pumpkin patch, and you’re dreaming of ways to make Halloween last longer than one fabulous day and night—this is the list you’ve been waiting for. There’s the silly, the spooky, the scary, and everything in between. No tricks here—only treats!

Picture Books

ZEN GHOSTS

by Jon J. Muth

Publisher’s synopsis: It’s Halloween.

The trees are ablaze in fiery reds. Excited children don colorful costumes. And there’s mystery and fun around every corner!

When Addy, Michael, and Karl finish trick-or-treating, their bags are brimming with treats. But the fun isn’t over yet. Their good friend Stillwater the panda has one more special surprise in store for them. A mysterious visitor is about to tell them a spine-tingling story — one that will fill each and every reader with wonder.

Scholastic Press | September 1, 2010 |  Ages 4-8 | 40 pages

Add this book to your collection: Zen Ghosts

SCAREDY-CAT, SPLAT!

by Rob Scotton

Publisher’s synopsis: It’s Halloween, and Splat is determined to be the scariest cat in the class. Unfortunately he’s just too much of a scaredy-cat. He’s afraid of a little spider, and everyone says his costume looks more silly than scary. And when Mrs. Wimpydimple tells a ghost story in the dark, Splat gets so frightened that he tips over his jack-o’-lantern. But when the lights go back on, the entire class is scared silly by a small, black, furry creature with a big pumpkin head. Whooooo can it be?

Rob Scotton 8.5" Splat the Cat Scaredy Cat Plush Doll ToySplat the Cat Scaredy-Cat Plush Doll Toy

HarperCollins | August 24, 2010 |  Ages 4-8 | 40 pages

Add this book to your collection: Scaredy-Cat, Splat!

The Curious Little WitchTHE CURIOUS LITTLE WITCH

by Lieve Baeten

Publisher’s synopsis: What happens when a little witch gets curious?

An international bestseller comes to the US!  Lizzy is a curious little witch. Late one night she spots an old house all lit up when everyone else is asleep, and she can’t help herself. She just has to investigate. The Little Witch books have been favorites around the world for years. Now, at last, the irresistible Little Witch comes to America! NorthSouth is excited to launch this new Picture book series here in the Unied States.
NorthSouth | August 1, 2010 |  Ages 4-8 | 32 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Curious Little Witch

Vampire Boy's Good NightVAMPIRE BOY’S GOOD NIGHT

by Lisa Brown

Publisher’s synopsis: When the sun goes down and everything is wonderfully cold and dark, a vampire boy and a little witch go searching for children in the night.

But this is no ordinary night. It is Halloween, and what they find may surprise them. . . .

HarperCollins | July 27, 2010 |  Ages 4-8 | 32 pages

Add this book to your collection: Vampire Boy’s Good Night

BonesBONES

by Steve Jenkins

Publisher’s synopsis: This book is far from skinny — it’s the definitive nonfiction title about human and animal bones, delivered with in-your-face accuracy and intrigue. In this visually driven volume, kids come face-to-face with some head-to-toe boney comparisons, many of them shown at actual size. Here you’ll find the differences between a man’s hand and that of a spider monkey; the great weight of an elephant’s leg, paired with the feather-light femur of a stork; and rib-tickling info about snakes and sloths. How many bones are in the whole human body?Kids find out when they open the three large gatefold spreads that reveal the hard (yet enjoyable) truths about the boney insides of Earth’s many creatures.

Scholastic Reference | August 1, 2010 |  Ages 8-12| 48 pages

Add this book to your collection: Bones

The Berenstain Bears and the Haunted HouseTHE BERENSTAIN BEARS AND THE HAUNTED HOUSE

by Jan & Mike Berenstain

Publisher’s synopsis: Join the Berenstain Bears on their latest lift-the-flap adventure!

Gracie the kitten has gone missing.

Did she go inside the haunted house on top of Spook Hill?

Brother and Sister gather up their courage to find out.

They had best beware!

HarperFestival | July 27, 2010 |  Ages 4-8 | 16 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Berenstain Bears and the Haunted House

Early Readers

Happy Halloween, Mittens (My First I Can Read)HAPPY HALLOWEEN, MITTENS

by Lola M. Schaefer

Publisher’s synopsis: Can Mittens find a way to join in the holiday fun?

HarperCollins | July 27, 2010 |  Ages 3-5| 32 pages

Add this book to your collection: Happy Halloween, Mittens

Middle Grade

The Case of the Graveyard Ghost (Doyle and Fossey, Science Detectives)THE CASE OF THE GRAVEYARD GHOST

by Michele Torrey

Publisher’s synopsis: Who you gonna call to ghostbust a graveyard spook? Doyle and Fossey, that’s who! They’re on the job and ready to free a snobby girl from a tight situation, uncover the culprit who’s ruining some prize roses, nab a dangerous smuggler of rare animals, and of course…reveal the truth about that pesky ghost!

Sterling | October 6, 2009 |  Ages 8-11 | 96 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Case of the Graveyard Ghost

The Dead End (Poison Apple)THE DEAD END (POISON APPLE)

by Mimi McCoy

Publisher’s synopsis: Casey Slater can’t believe her bad luck. It’s the summer before seventh grade, and instead of the perfect vacation she’d planned with her best friend, Casey is in a remote country town, where her parents are restoring an old, creaky, creepy house. Worst of all, everyone else in town thinks the old house is haunted. And soon Casey thinks so, too — a vase explodes, a heavy china cabinet falls over on its own — and it seems like the ghost doesn’t want them there. Casey thought she’d be dying of boredom, but now she’s scared to death!

Scholastic Paperbacks | May 1, 2010 |  Ages 8-12 | 192 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Dead End

The Hanging Hill (Haunted Places (Quality))THE HANGING HILL

by Chris Grabenstein

Publisher’s synopsis: How serious is stage fright? At the Hanging Hill Playhouse, it can kill you.

After narrowly escaping a malevolent spirit in The Crossroads, Zack and Judy are hoping to relax during the rehearsals for a show based on Judy’s bestselling children’s books. Little do they know that the director is planning to raise a horde of evil specters from the dead, and to accomplish this, he needs a human sacrifice . . . and Zack fits the bill perfectly.

This second book featuring the intrepid Zack and his stepmother, Judy, is full of the same humorous and spine-tingling storytelling that has made Chris Grabenstein a fast favorite with young and old alike.

Yearling | August 24, 2010 |  Ages 9-12 | 336 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Hanging Hill

The NightmarysTHE NIGHTMARYS

by Dan Poblocki

Publisher’s synopsis: Timothy July has been having nightmares. About his brother, who is in a coma after being wounded in Iraq; about his best friend, Stuart, who is behaving like a jerk; about the old biology specimens in jars lining the walls of his classroom; and about Abigail, the new girl who seems to be a magnet for trouble. Or perhaps she is the cause.

Suddenly Timothy’s nightmares are coming true. His brother, his face decaying, approaches Timothy on the street. Stuart ends up in the hospital, terrified that monsters are stalking him. And the specimen jars are tormenting not only Timothy but his teacher as well.

What is the secret in Abigail’s past that is the key to these horrors? And can Timothy figure it out before his nightmares become a deadly reality?

A follow-up to the well-received Stone Child, Dan Poblocki’s second novel will have his readers mesmerized until the last page—and sleeping with the lights on.

Random House Books for Young Readers | August 24, 2010 |  Ages 9-12 | 336 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Nightmarys

The Smoky CorridorTHE SMOKY CORRIDOR

by Chris Grabenstein

Publisher’s synopsis: Zack is about to start at his new school, and his dad, who went there years before, tells Zack the stories of the haunted janitor’s closet, the specter of a dead crossing guard, and the Donnelly brothers, who perished in a suspicious fire. Dad doesn’t know that Zack has already met the Donnellys’ ghosts, who have warned Zack that there is an evil zombie under the school. Zack also learns that while zombies are usually content eating corpses, if they happen to bite someone who isn’t dead, that person also becomes a zombie.

Before midterms, Zack is dealing with two zombies, while trying to protect a friend whose curiosity has put him on the zombies’ menu.

Once again Chris Grabenstein proves his mastery of frightening and funny tales. Young readers, especially reluctant ones, have found inspiration in his quirky characters and deadly situations.

Random House Books for Young Readers | August 24, 2010 |  Ages 9-12 | 336 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Smoky Corridor

How to Trap a Zombie, Track a Vampire, and Other Hands-On Activities for Monster Hunters: A Young Wizards HandbookHOW TO TRAP A ZOMBIE, TRACK A VAMPIRE, AND OTHER HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES FOR MONSTER HUNTERS

by A.R. Rotruck

Publisher’s synopsis: The Dangerous Book for Boys with a fantasy twist!

Ever wonder how to:

Improvise a wand?

Capture a werewolf?

Make a monster-catching net?

Why wait to be accepted into wizardry school to learn the answers? Packed with easy projects using everyday materials, this fact-filled activity book shows wannabe wizards how to craft unique creations such as their own wizard robes, play games such as vampire tag, master adventuring skills like mapping a monster-filled dungeon, and follow step-by-step instructions on how to “survive” almost any monster attack.

The fantastical fun never ends in this book that will inspire hours of imaginative play!

Mirrorstone | September 14, 2010 |  Ages 10 and up | 80 pages

Add this book to your collection: How to Trap a Zombie, Track a Vampire, and Other Hands-On Activities For Monsters

The Ring of FiveTHE RING OF FIVE

by Eoin McNamee

Publisher’s synopsis: Here’s the first book in a brilliant new trilogy by the author of The Navigator. The Ring of Five, set at a school for spies, is full of surprises as well as fascinating questions about loyalty, destiny, and what it means to be a spy.

Danny Caulfield doesn’t know how he ended up at a mysterious academy called Wilsons. A few of the students are pretty scary. Someone tries to murder him. Even the ravens that haunt the school seem to be against him. Yet he also finds friends: Les, an exceptional thief; Dixie, who has an unsettling talent; and Vandra, a physick with special powers.

It turns out that Danny is destined for a terrifying mission. As he embarks on his training, he is shocked and secretly thrilled to discover that he seems to have all the natural gifts of the perfect spy—most importantly, the ability to betray.

Eoin McNamee’s background as an author of adult thrillers informs this exhilarating, atmospheric adventure.

Wendy Lamb Books | May 11, 2010 |  Ages 10 and up | 352 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Ring of Five

Young Adult

The Less-DeadTHE LESS-DEAD

by April Lurie

Publisher’s synopsis: Noah Nordstrom has been dissing the religious beliefs of his father, who hosts a popular Christian radio show and whom Noah accuses of spreading hate. When two local gay teens are murdered, Noah’s anti-evangelism intensifies—he’s convinced that the killer is a caller on his dad’s program.

Then Noah meets Will Reed, a cool guy. But when he learns that Will is gay, Noah gets a little weirded out. Especially since Will seems really into him. Noah gives Will the brush-off. Meanwhile, the killer is still at large . . . and soon Noah finds the next victim. It’s Will.

Racked with guilt, Noah decides to investigate. He knows the serial killer is targeting gay teens, but only those who live in foster homes, whose deaths are not that important to society; they are the less-dead. Noah, however, is determined to prove that someone cares. With the help of Will’s journal, which he pocketed at the scene of the crime and in which the killer has written clues, Noah closes in on an opponent more dangerous than he can guess.

Delacorte Books for Young Readers | January 12, 2010 |  Ages 14 and up | 240 pages

Add this book to your collection: The Less-Dead

Trick-or-Treat: 20 more Halloween books for kids.

Leave us a comment: Tell us about your favorite spooky read.

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Category: Best Kids Stories, Book Lists, Gift Books, Seasonal: Holiday Books

About the Author ()

The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is powered by Bianca Schulze. Bianca is a freelance writer, bookseller, aspiring author, and mother to two daughters. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, her goal is to grow readers by showcasing useful and inspiring books!

Comments (10)

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  1. Dorit Rosen says:

    Hi,

    Try writing your own Halloween books, you can now win a $500 cash prize for it!

    I thought that you and your readers might be interested in the following contest:

    Batalugu, an online platform for writing, illustrating and sharing children’s books, is happy to announce its first Hallo-WIN book writing contest with a chance to win a US $500 cash prize. The contest invites participants to write and design a children’s book, using the Batalugu online platform.

    With Batalugu, anyone can write, illustrate and share magnificent children’s books for fun and educational purposes. Writing a book together with a child is a wonderful activity. Creating a book is quick, easy and free.

    Submissions may be fiction, nonfiction or poetry for children ages [3] to [8]. The contest is open to writers worldwide, who have not previously had a children’s book published. Submissions by agents will not be accepted. Entries need to be submitted by October 31st 2010 at noon.

    Hallo-WIN contest winner will be announced on our website. For more details about the contest please visit:

    http://batalugu.com/contests/2010_Halloween/

  2. KinderScares says:

    We run a website dedicated to spooky children’s books you might be interested in checking out: http://www.kinderscares.com

  3. C. L. Vaughn says:

    Just thought I’d stop by and mention that my first children’s book is now published and available. It’s an ebook with the text being narrated and highlighted so the young reader can follow along. It’s currently available for free on the publisher’s website, Meegenius.com, and can be purchased for Ipads and Ipods from their Itunes store.
    Look for The Hiccup Mummy under their newest published books. This fun little Halloween story follows a brother and sister as they stumble on a mummy with a bad case of the hiccups. They try to cure the poor mummy with several hilarious ways (all real suggestions from multiple blogs and websites by the way). The artwork is brilliant and the mummy is a lovable laughable character… a very safe and fun Halloween book for your little ones!
    Happy Reading, Chris Vaughn
    Alleywolf.com, Author “The Hiccup Mummy”

  4. For a different kind of scary book, read “The Haunted House Kid” by Matthew Gary Milam (Amazon, B&N, Xlibris).

    wix.com/thehauntedhousekid/matthew-gary-milam

  5. Kids Toys says:

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily
    basis. It will always be helpful to read through content from other authors and use a little something from other websites.

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