16 Halloween Books

I love celebrations of any and every kind, so even though I’m a scaredy-cat, I’m here for you, Halloween. Read: not fully here.  Horror movies, haunted houses, yard decor that screams at you when you walk past…no, no, no.

A list of some of the wonderful Halloween books out there, from ones for the littlest folks in your life all the way up to you.  I tried to find ones that feel distinctly Halloween, rather than just scary or fall-y. That’s right, fall-y.

Links are affiliate and thank you so much for using them or shopping through them on your way to something else :D!

  • Flavia Z. Drago’s Gustavo the Shy Ghost
    • Thank you Candlewick!  The story of Gustavo, who wants to make friends with the other monsters, but feels too shy, is so stinking sweet. Our daughter immediately began to memorize it (she loves saying, “oh, how he glowed!”) and we love that it’s now given her context for ghosts and The Day of the Dead in a way that’s accessible and not scary. If you’re someone who likes to have your kids’ library stocked with great holiday books, this one is definitely one to add.
  • Patricia Toht’s and Jarvis’s Pick a Pumpkin
    • Basically your guide to how to have the idyllic Halloween in catchy rhyme and meter. Another essential.
  • Julia Donaldson’s and Axel Scheffler’s Room on the Broom
    • A classic for a reason.
  • Shirley Parenteau’s and David Walker’s Bears and Boos
    • Thank you to Candlewick! A rhyming story about teddy bears getting ready for Halloween and taking care of a friend…I mean, obviously it’s cute.
  • Martin Handford’s Where’s Waldo?: Spooky Spotlight Search
    • Thank you to Candlewick! Charge your spotlight searcher in the sunlight and then, in the dark, look for Waldo in the amazing, slightly spooky scenes (think along the lines of The Grand Hall and a pirate ship).  There is so much to see and do and it has that “wow” factor for kids that’s timeless. Actually, it has a wow factor for the adults in this house, too. Lots of fun!
  • Bonnie Bardo’s Great Uncle Dracula
    • I have distinct childhood memories of reading this early reader and loving it and reread it last year and was again thoroughly delighted.  If you like the idea of things like scream cheese and jelly sandwiches and a boy at school who’s a ghost being named Hector Specter…this is for you and/or your kids.
  • Kara LaReau’s and Ryan Andrews’ Rise of Zombert
    • Thank you to Candlewick! I immediately said yes to this book because I adore Kara LaReau.  She is so sharp and funny and I plan on reading everything she writes.  This one, about two friends who stumble on a cat that might be a…zombie (!),  is for grades 3-7 and pretty short, but I have no problem with that for myself, too. I received it yesterday and I’m planning on spending tomorrow afternoon reading it in one gulp. I’ll report back.
  • Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces
    • I haven’t read this one yet, but I’m so interested in seeing what the author of The Bear and the Nightingale will do with a spooky middle grade.
  • Claire Legrand’s The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
    • This middle grade had just the right level of creepiness for me (aside from no creepiness).  I wouldn’t want to be thinking about it at night, but I could handle it.  Legrand’s humor about the perfection of the main character and the setting and concept of the house where all these missing people in town have ended up…spooky fun.
  • Rainbow Rowell’s and Faith Erin Hicks’ Pumpkinheads
    • This YA graphic novel is basically peak ultimate Halloween. If you’re just starting to dip your toes into graphic novels, or not, this is a great one.
  • Aiden Thomas’s Cemetery Boys
    • A ghost that won’t leave and a main character who is fighting for gender acceptance against a Dia de Los Muertos setting.
  • Octavia E. Butler’s Fledgling
    • If you’re a vampire skeptic, perhaps the fact that it’s written by Butler might convince you otherwise?
  • Sarah Water’s The Little Stranger
    • I haven’t read this one, but I am so taken with the book’s blurb because a sinister, crumbling Georgian house? Yes to that. Also, Waters is supposed to be one of our masterful living authors.
  • Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes
    • From the blurb: “The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares.” So, so spooky.

I have to hear your favorites!

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