It’s no secret that Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and even more so with kids that can join in on the fun. Now that my kids are a little older, one of my favorite traditions is to all pile in the bottom bunk with them to read Halloween books with nightlights. It’s the perfect level of spooky for them, and a fun way to build their excitement for the upcoming holiday. Needless to say, we’ve built quite the collection of Halloween books over the years!
Below are my favorite Halloween picture books to read with my kids. If you’re looking for Halloween books to read with your babies and toddlers, we’ve got a list of Halloween board books compiled here.
1 | STUMPKIN BY LUCY RUTH CUMMINS
Stumpkin is the most handsome pumpkin on the block. There’s just one problem—Stumpkin has a stump, not a stem. And no one seems to want a stemless jack-o-lantern. As Halloween approaches, more and more of his pumpkin friends leave, but Stumpkin remains. Will anyone give him a chance?
2 | LITTLE BOO BY STEPHEN WUNDERLI
A story about a little pumpkin seed who yearns for the day that he will be a big and scary Lack-o-Lantern so people will be frightened of his “boo.” The wind tells him to be patient, but waiting is hard. Will he ever be scary?
3 | AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE BY HELEN KETTEMAN
At the old haunted house…in a room with no sun…lived a warty green witch…and her wee witchy one…
There are all kinds of creatures in this old haunted house: goblins, vampires, bats, black cats, and more. Count along as the creatures prepare for the Halloween Fright.
4 | THE LAUGHING WITCH BY ANDREW NEWMAN
This story follows the adventures of The Laughing Witch as she prepares her pot with the fruits of the forest she loves. See how she lives hand-in-hand with nature and creates a special medicine infused with love to care for those that visit.
5 | VAMPIRINA BALLERINA BY ANNE MARIE PACE
Vampira wants so badly to be a ballerina, but to be one she’s going to have to overcome a few obstacles. Like finding a class that meets at night or figuring out how to perfect her form when she can’t even see herself in the mirror. A fun story of perseverance.
6 | BONE SOUP BY CAMBRIA EVANS
Finnigin is known far and wide for his ravenous appetite, so when he finds himself in a new town on Halloween he hopes to find a great feast with the creatures who live there. But not a body or soul will share any of their food with him. What’s a hungry skeleton to do? He cleverly begins brewing a soup with his magic bone, and one by one each creature emerges with their own special (spooky) ingredient.
7 | BONAPARTE FALLS APART BY MARGERY CUYLER
Bonaparte the skeleton is having a tough time. He can’t do the everyday things his friends can without losing parts of himself. When he plays catch, his throwing arm flies away with the ball, and when the doctor checks his reflexes, his bone falls to the ground. How can he start school when he’s literally falling apart?
8 | LEO A GHOST STORY BY MAC BARNETT
Leo is a friendly ghost, but when a new family moves into his house they misunderstand his attempts at being a good host. So Leo decides to leave and see the world. Shortly after leaving he meets Jane, a playful girl with a big imagination, and they become friends. Jane thinks Leo is just an imaginary friend. What will happen when she learns the truth?
9 | GHOST IN THE HOUSE BY AMMI-JOAN DAQUETTE
When a little ghost goes slip-sliding down the hallway of the haunted house, he suddenly hears…a groan! Turns out it’s only a friendly mummy, who shuffles along with the ghost until they both hear…a growl! The group of explorers continues to grow as they find a surprise at every turn.
10 | THE SCARIEST BOOK EVER BY BOB SHEA
Beware! This is the scariest book ever! Or so claims the narrator, a melodramatic ghost. You can go ahead and go into the dark and scary woods, but don’t expect him to come with you. Oh no. Plus, he has other things to do, like cleaning the bathroom and eating doughnuts. And don’t tell him what you find, either. Okay, maybe you should. WAIT NO, DON’T.
11 | HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH A GHOST BY REBECCA GREEN
A guide to making friends with ghosts (they can be hard to find, you know). First, give them their favorite treats like moldy toast and earwax truffles. Then read them ghost stories and tell them jokes (they love to giggle). Also, be sure no one mistakes your ghost for a tissue! Follow these steps (plus a few more) and you’ll find a ghost to grow old with you.
12 | ROOM ON THE BROOM BY JULIA DONALDSON
A friendly witch and her trusty cat are flying through the sky when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they ask is for a ride on the broom. But is there room on the broom for so many friends on the broom? A fun ending as the friends save the witch from a hungry dragon!
13 | GILBERT THE GHOST BY BUIDO VAN GENECHTEN
Gilbert goes to ghost school like all the other ghosts, but he’s different than the other ghosts: he doesn’t like to screech in a scary way, he doesn’t want to haunt, and he is always polite. What will happen to Gilbert when he’s sent to the Abandoned Tower by the principal?
14 | THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING BY LINDA WILLIAMS
Once upon a time, there was a little old lady who was not afraid of anything! But one afternoon, while walking in the woods, the little old lady heard . . . clomp clomp…wiggle wiggle…shake shake…boo boo. The little old lady who was not afraid of anything had the scare of her life!
15 | SKELETONS ARE NOT SPOOKY BY DUDS & KAINE
For everything that skeletons do for us, why do they have such a bad reputation for being spooky? Maybe they like to do the same things we do like eating breakfast, playing make-believe, and snuggling their mummy. Maybe, just maybe, they are just like us.
16 | MOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE SCARES BY LYNN MARIE
Papa Scare (a monster), Mama Scare (a mummy), and Baby Scare (a vampire) live in a haunted house where they eat finger sandwiches and alpha-bat soup. One night, they go out to walk their dog to let their soup cool. While they’re away, a little zombie named Moldilocks sleepwalks into their haunted house looking for food, a chair, and a bed that’s just right. A spooky twist on the classic tale with a surprise happy ending.
17 | PICK A PUMPKIN BY PATRICIA TOHT
Follow along as a family picks out the perfect pumpkin at the patch (of course stopping for cider and toffee apples), carts it home, scoops out the insides, carves a face, and finally lights a candle inside to make a one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern. With fun rhythmic read-aloud text, this is the perfect one to read before your own trip to the pumpkin patch!
18 | THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS BY TIM BURTON
Jack Skellington, a resident of Halloweenland, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day Jack stumbles into a place called Christmas Town. He’s so taken with it that he comes up with a plan to kidnap Santa so he and his town can put on Christmas themselves. What could possibly go wrong?
19 | MR. PUMPKIN’S TEA PARTY BY ERIN BARKER
There’s a party at Mr. Pumpkin’s tonight, a banquet with friends in autumn twilight. And at this soiree we’ll see and we’ll find ghoulish delights of every kind.
Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party is a quirky twist on a counting book as guests prepare for a charming and spooky tea party.
20 | CREEPY CARROTS! BY AARON REYNOLDS
Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, especially the ones from Crackenhopper Field. He stopped by the field to pick for a morning snack, and again on the way to Little League, and then on his way home at night. Until the carrots start following him…or are they? A hilarious little ghost story that shows it’s all fun and games…until you get too greedy.
21 | TEN TIMID GHOSTS BY JENNIFER O’CONNELL
Ten timid ghosts in a haunted house. A witch moved in and wanted them out.
Ten timid ghosts in a haunted house have a problem – a mean witch has moved in and is planning to scare them out. Count down from ten as each ghost flees the witch’s costumes and props. Then the ghosts gather in the woods and plot to get their house back. Will they be able to frighten the witch away?
22 | THE POMEGRANATE WITCH BY DENISE DOYEN
Beyond the edge of town is a gnarly old tree with the most glorious pomegranates. There’s only one problem – the tree was guarded by the Pomegranate Witch! But the children don’t give up, and this begins the Pomegranate War. This book is a rhyming tale between the Pomegranate Gang and their witchy neighbor. It’s a magical story to read with beautiful drawings and a surprise ending!
23 | SIR SIMON: SUPER SCARER BY CALE ATKINSON
Meet Sir Simon, a professional ghost who just got his first house to haunt! Things don’t go as planned when it turns out this house comes with a KID. Simon is exasperated, for this kid is NOT afraid of ghosts and instead very interested in his haunting work. But then Sir Simon realizes he can trick Chester into doing his work. A really funny book about friendship (and ghosts).
24 | SKULLS! BY BLAIR THORNURGH
This one isn’t technically a Halloween book, but it’s a good one to read with kids since they’re likely to see a lot of spooky skulls around this time of year. Or wait, maybe skulls aren’t as scary as they seem! Maybe “every head of every person you’ve ever seen has a skull inside. And that includes YOU!”
25 | SHE MADE A MONSTER BY LYNN FULTON
This is the story of how a young Mary Shelley created Frankenstein on a stormy night two hundred years ago after her friend challenged her to write a scary store. She thought back on some of the eerie things she had seen as a child and one night as she drifted off to sleep, she imagined a man that was not a man but a monster.