HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-3Trick-or-Treat: 20 Halloween Books for Kids

Trick-or-Treat: 20 Halloween Books for Kids

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: October 9, 2009


When I think of Halloween it’s hard not to conjure up images of jack-o-lanterns; kids in costumes going trick-or-treating; witches on broomsticks; black cats; ghosts; monsters; and dark, dark nights. And during the month of October, nothing beats a good, scary story — or a harmless creepy story for the younger set. The following books have been selected for their ability to connect readers to the feelings and images that are synonymous with Halloween. We’ve begun with the more innocent board books and then progressed slowly into the dark-and-sinister for the older and independent readers. So grab your broomstick and hold onto your hat … you are in for a treat!

One, Two...Boo!

One, Two … Boo!

by Kristen L. Depken

Reading level: Ages 0-5

Board book: 12 pages

Publisher: Golden Books; Brdbk edition (July 28, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Thick durable pages with gorgeous glossy illustrations and fun lift-the-flaps are sure to entertain your little trickster.

Spook Factor: Harmless

Publisher’s synopsis: The littlest trick-or-treaters can lift the flaps to count their way through a spooky old house . . . but they had better be prepared for a few surprises! With a die-cut cover, adorable illustrations, and a flap on every page, this sturdy little board book is the perfect Halloween gift for trick-or-treaters everywhere.

Add this book to your collection: One, Two … Boo!

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin

by Tad Hills

Reading level: Ages 0-5

Board book: 22 pages

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; Brdbk edition (July 28, 2009)

TCBR analysis: This adorable duo, Duck & Goose, always win hearts. Sweet and simple … just like a book about pumpkins should be!

Spook Factor: Zero

Publisher’s synopsis: Duck and Goose, where is your pumpkin? Is it in the log? Is it under the leaves? Is it in the apple tree? Preschoolers will surely enjoy going on a pumpkin hunt with Duck and Goose . . . especially when they find the perfect pumpkin at the end!

Add this book to your collection: Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin

Fly, Ghost, Fly!

Fly, Ghost, Fly!

by Betty Ann Schwartz (Auhtor), Steve Cox (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 0-5

Board book: 14 pages

Publisher: Sterling (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: The sturdy spin-the-wheel ghost makes for a fun novelty book. The rhyming is lively and the illustrations contain just the right amount of charm.

Spook Factor: Harmless

Publisher’s synopsis: Happy Halloween—spin the wheel and watch Little Ghost float! He’s enjoying the spooky holiday with fun and flippy bats, a witch on a broomstick, a boney skeleton on the run, and lots of other Fright Night creatures. He’s even playing hide-and-seek with a mummy. Kids will love joining in, thanks to Little Spinners’ cool new format: a spinning disk on the inside back page that shows through a hole. As children read, they can turn the disk to the rhythm of the story and set Little Ghost aflight. Plus, the image on the spinner is lenticular, so it moves, too. It’s a real treat…and that’s no trick!

Add this book to your collection: Fly, Ghost, Fly!

Halloween ABC (Little Golden Book) Halloween Abc

by Sarah Albee

Reading level: Ages 0-5

Hardcover: 24 pages

Publisher: Golden Books (July 14, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Classic and sweet, like a Golden Book should be!

Spook factor: Harmless

Publisher’s synopsis: ABC fun, dressed up as a Halloween book!

Little ones will enjoy this colorful book about a bunch of trick-ortreaters from A to Z (an angel, a ballerina, a cowboy, and so on) and their fun, “spooky” adventures around the neighborhood!

Add this book to your collection: Halloween Abc

A Scratch & Sniff Halloween

A Scratch & Sniff Halloween

by Elizabeth Spurr (Author), Maggie Swanson (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 3-7

Hardcover: 24 pages

Publisher: Sterling (August 4, 2009)

TCBR analysis: From licorice to pumpkin pie, the scents in this book are amazing! Adorable rhyme and delightful illustrations add classic appeal.

Spook Factor: Harmless

Publisher’s synopsis: When the delicious aroma of chocolate, apples, and cotton candy fills the air, and ghosts, goblins, and gremlins roam the streets, it can mean only one thing: Halloween is finally here! And this yummy-smelling scratch and sniff book captures the wonderful scents of the spooky season, from candy corn and licorice to cherry lollipops and pumpkin pie. With its fun, rhyming text, chilling and thrilling cast of creepy creatures and, of course, mouth-watering smells, this is the perfect gift for happy trick-or-treaters!

Add this book to your collection: A Scratch & Sniff Halloween

Moonlight: The Halloween Cat

Moonlight The Halloween Cat

by Cythia Rylant (Author), Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 0-6

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (July 28, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Rylant’s text is fluid and graceful and truly gives a charming view of Halloween through a black cats eyes

Spook Factor: Harmless

Publisher’s synopsis: A special Halloween treat

Softly padding through the darkness, Moonlight the cat explores the world on her favorite night. With eloquently simple words and luminous, dazzling paintings, moonlight evokes the excitement of Halloween in a beautifully warm and reassuring way—giving the very youngest of readers a cozy, friendly Halloween experience.

Celebrated author Cynthia Rylant pairs with the gifted Melissa Sweet to tell a lyrical tale of smiling pumpkins, glowing stars, and a very happy Halloween cat.

Add this book to your collection: Moonlight The Halloween Cat

Spooky Spooky Spooky!

Spooky Spooky Spooky!

by Cathy MacLennan

Reading level: Ages 3-6

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Boxer Books (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Grossly cute rhyme is set off by cheerful illustrations. An entertaining read-aloud.

Spooky Factor: Mostly harmless

Publisher’s synopsis: Cathy MacLennan’s latest title is a wonderfully spine-tingling (but never scary) journey through the darkest hours of Halloween night. Spooky Spooky Spooky! features a cast of fantastically creepy characters, from velvety bats and horribly howling cats to slithering slugs and slippery snails.

A weird and wonderful tale with rhythmic, rhyming text; fun, colorful illustrations; and a real “treat” of an ending!

Add this book to your collection: Spooky Spooky Spooky!

Fancy Nancy: Halloween...or Bust!

Fancy Nancy: Halloween … or Bust!

by Jane O’connor

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 24 pages

Publisher: HarperFestival (July 28, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A creative and spook-tacular edition to the Fancy Nancy series.

Spook factor: Harmless

Publisher’s synopsis: No one knows Fancy like Nancy . . .

. . . and no one knows Halloween like Nancy!

Add this book to your collection: Fancy Nancy: Halloween … or Bust!

The Scariest Monster in the World The Scariest Monster In The World

by Lee Weatherly, Algy Craig Hall

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Boxer Books (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A delightful take on monsters. Fun and silly!

Spook factor: Mostly harmless

Publisher’s synopsis: Meet the scary, scary monster: his fur is wild and weird, he carries a club with giant bristles, and his teeth are green and mossy…because he never, ever brushes them! Worst of all, he stomps through the woods, shouting “GET OUT OF MY WAY!” And all the forest creatures do just that, hurrying and scurrying whenever they see him coming. But one day, the monster starts to hiccup—and no matter what he does, the hiccups won’t stop! Will the other animals help him…or will they be too afraid?

All young readers will enjoy this humorous, wonderfully illustrated tale and its delightfully monstrous hero!

Add this book to your collection: The Scariest Monster In The World

Image The Thirteen Days of Halloween

The Thirteen Days of Halloween

by Carol Greene (Author), Tim Raglin (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (2009)

TCBR analysis: The illustrations are eerie and completely complimentary to this imaginatively-creepy and lots-of-fun sing-a-long book.

Spook factor: Harmless-with-a-touch-of-creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: This parody of “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” makes the perfect Halloween gift for little goblins. Its playful witty text and humorous illustrations will surely make it an instant classic.

Add this book to your collection: The Thirteen Days of Halloween

There Was An Old Monster! There Was An Old Monster

by Rebecca, Adrian & Ed Emberley

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Orchard Books (July 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A bizarre — and oddly enjoyable — twist on a faithful classic.

Spook Factor: Harmless-with-a-touch-of-creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: There was an old monster who swallowed a tick

I don’t know why he swallowed that tick

‘Cause it made him feel sick!

When he swallowed some ants, he danced in his pants. He swallowed a lizard, a bat, a jackal, and a bear. Then he tried to swallow a lion . . . ROAR!–Now that monster is no more! Children will laugh along with the funny text, bright bold illustrations, and delightful song.

Add this book to your collection: There Was An Old Monster

What Was I Scared Of?: A Glow-in-the Dark Encounter What was I Scared of?: A Glow-in-the-Dark Encounter

by Dr. Seuss

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (August 11, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Weird, wacky, and wonderful! Rhyme-to-boot and exactly what one would expect from Dr. Seuss. The glow-in-the-dark illustrations are a brilliant bonus.

Creep factor: Harmless-with-a-touch-of-creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: Dr. Seuss in a glowing new format!

What were we waiting for? We’ve taken the classic Dr. Seuss short story What Was I Scared Of? (from The Sneetches and Other Stories), added glow-in-the-dark ink, and created the ultimate just-slightly-spooky read for slumber parties and perusal by flashlight! Perfect for Halloween, this splendidly silly story about a narrator terrorized by an empty pair of pants (which happens to be equally terrified of the narrator) works perfectly well the rest of the year, too, delivering a timeless message about fear and tolerance to boot. Scaredy-pants of all ages will quiver with delight!

Add this book to your collection: What was I Scared of? A Glow-in-the-Dark Encounter

Once Upon a Twice (Picture Book)

Once Upon a Twice

by Denise Doyen (Author), Barry Moser (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (August 25, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A deliciously eerie read-aloud with illustrations that perfectly support the tale of a young mouse who dares to stray. Masterfully written.

Spook factor: Creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: A cautionary tale for mice reminiscent of Carroll’s Jabberwocky!

Out in the open, in the clear,
Where any wisenmouse would fear,
Jam licks his paw, he grooms an ear,
And never hears approaching hisssss . . .

What will happen to the brave mouse Jam when he breaks the rules and goes for a moonlit adventure against the advice of the elder mice?

Award-winning illustrator Barry Moser has created a dark and vivid mouse world to complement this cautionary tale full of clever nonsense words and rhyming prose that will keep kids on the edge of their seats.

Add this book to your collection: Once Upon a Twice

Full Moon Soup Full Moon Soup

by Alastair Graham

Reading level: Ages 5-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Boxer Books (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: “Where’s Waldo” meets “The Twilight Zone”. Curiously clever rhyme and illustrations that will keep eyes hungry for more.

Spook factor: Creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: Something strange is going on here! Children will really have to keep their eyes open if they want to see all the weird and wacky goings-on at the Hotel Splendide. That’s because the full moon seems to be having a peculiar effect on the hotel’s guests and staff: a portrait is being very rude, the maid’s getting sucked up by a vacuum cleaner, and the sausages have grown feet! Every spread provides a deliciously open, comic view of the hijinks, while the rhyming text directs kids’ attention to some of the crazier antics. Young readers will have hours of enjoyment searching the incredibly detailed illustrations.

Add this book to your collection: Full Moon Soup

Constance and Tiny Constance and Tiny

by Pierre Le Gall (Author), Eric Heliot (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 7-9

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Sterling (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Creepy illustrations complete this wickedly-twisted and devilishly-amusing early reader book — reminiscent of The Addams Family.

Spook factor: Creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: Say hello to Constance, a sweet, grateful, good little girl—NOT!

In fact, she’s a mischief-making, rule-breaking imp with a wicked gleam in her eye. Wherever she goes, trouble (and her enormous cat, Tiny) surely follow. That’s why children will go absolutely mad for her: Constance does exactly what they dream of doing in their naughtiest moments…and she’s never repentant. Making the delicious Constance stories even more fun: the comic contrast between the deadpan text and the outrageous illustrations. Like the cheeky character herself, the pictures always say the opposite of the words.

Add this book to your collection: Constance and Tiny

Constance and the Great Escape Constance and the Great Escape

by Pierre Le Gall (Author), Eric Heliot (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages Ages 7-9

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Sterling (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A great encore to Constance and Tiny. Pitch-perfect mischief!

Spook factor: Creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: In Constance and Tiny the irrepressible scamp ran away only to get dragged back home. Now her scheming parents are sending her off to a terrible, horrible place: a boarding school for wayward children! There, the rules are strict, the bathwater’s cold, and the food’s horrid. Worst of all, her beloved cat Tiny can’t come along. It’s just like prison! But canny Constance has a plan: Since only bad boys and girls can stay there, maybe if she pretends to be really good they’ll set her free…

Add this book to your collection: Constance and the Great Escape

The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme

The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme

by Bobbi Katz (Author), Adam McCauley (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Hardcover: 50 pages

Publisher: Sterling (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Different, descriptive, and well-delivered. A treat for readers who dabble in monsters and mythology. This book is gorgeous and well put together.

Spook factor: Harmless-with-a-touch-of-creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: Open this memoir…if you dare! For inside this rare collection of letters, notes, and interviews lie the choicest fruits of the monsterologist’s bone-chilling research. In engaging rhyme, the monster master tells all about Count Dracula (“When you visit Transylvania, be sure to stay with me”); issues a werewolf warning; and dishes on trolls, ghosts, witches, ogres, and myriad mythological and literary creatures!

Designed to look like a treasured scrapbook, every page features an eye-catching mix of drawings, photos, and handwritten text. Plus, kids will love the die-cut, gatefolds, and other cool surprises throughout!

Add this book to your collection: The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme

Magic Tree House #42: A Good Night for Ghosts (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) Magic Tree House: A Good Night for Ghosts (#42)

by Mary Pope Osborne

Reading level: Ages 7-12

Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (July 28, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Fresh and adventurous. Do we expect anything less from Mary Pope Osbourne?!

Spook factor: Creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: Jack and Annie are on their second mission to find—and inspire—artists to bring happiness to millions. After traveling to New Orleans, Jack and Annie come head to head with some real ghosts, as well as discover the world of jazz when they meet a young Louis Armstrong!

Add this book to your collection: Magic Tree House: A Good Night for Ghosts (#42)

Magic Tree House Research Guide #20: Ghosts: A Nonfiction Companion to A Good Night for Ghosts (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) Magic Tree House: Research Guide: Ghosts

by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Reading level: Ages 7-12

Paperback: 128 pages

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (July 28, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Spooky information based on real studies make this research guide the perfect companion to Magic Tree House: A Good Night for Ghosts (#42). The Pope sisters have such a great knack for story-telling and explaining — they make learning fun!

Spook factor: Creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: Fact and fiction meet–for Halloween!

What are the origins of some of the famous ghost stories in Louisiana? Why do people believe in ghosts? Do most cultures have some kind of ghost stories? Find out the answers to these questions and more in Magic Tree House Research Guide: Ghosts, Jack and Annie’s guide to ghost stories from all over the world.

Add this book to your collection: Ghosts

Murder At Midnight Murder At Midnight

by Avi

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A suspenseful mystery that is so full of action, readers will not want to put it done.

Spook factor: Creepy

Publisher’s synopsis: A plot to overthrow King Claudio is brewing in the Kingdom of Pergamontio. Scholarly Mangus the magician — along with his street-smart and faithful new servant boy, Fabrizio — have been marked as easy scapegoats for the traitor lurking within the king’s court. Together, these two unlikely partners must gather clues to solve the mystery and prove their innocence before the stroke of midnight. . . or face death!

Intricate plotting, surprise twists, and lively prose make for another suspenseful page-turner that stands alone or sets the stage for MIDNIGHT MAGIC!

Add this book to your collection: Murder At Midnight

The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literacy. We publish reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. We also produce author and illustrator interviews and share literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to grow readers. This article was written and provided by one of TCBR's regular contributors.

Comments
  • Another great new ghost book is Ghostnapped, it is the first children’s novel by Ashley Howland and can be found at: http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Ghostnapped.html

    Get ready for a ghastly, ghost-hunting mystery that will chill the very marrow in your bones! Ashley Howland makes her debut with a sensational spectral adventure that will ‘fright and delight’ kids and teens everywhere.

    October 16, 2009
  • Thanks for putting together this Great Collection!

    October 21, 2009
  • You’re very welcome! I hope you got some good ideas.

    November 3, 2009
  • Thank you for this list! I have a 7 and 3 year-old. Our all time favorite Halloween book is ABCs of Halloween, written and illustrated by Patricia Reeder Eubank. We all love the rhyming and rhythm, and the illustrations give us so much to look at and talk about. Our new favorite was a librarian’s recommendation, A Happy Haunter’s Halloween: Trick or Treat by Debbie Leppanen. The poems remind me of Shel Silverstein’s. I thought it would be too creepy for my little guy but he loves the pictures.

    October 13, 2013
    • You’re very welcome! Thank you so much for sharing your Halloween faves with us, too.

      October 14, 2013

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