It’s no secret that Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and even more so with three kids who are now joining in on the fun! One of my favorite family traditions is to pile in the bottom bunk in my kids’ room and read Halloween books with flashlights. It’s the perfect level of spookiness for them and a fun way to build their excitement for the upcoming holiday.
Needless to say, our family has built quite the collection of Halloween picture books, so this list has been refreshed for 2021! Double down on the fun by getting the whole crew boo-tiful pajamas to really get in the spooky spirit—we compiled a complete list of them here.
If you’re looking for Halloween books to read with your smaller kiddos (babies and toddlers), we’ve brewed up a list of board books for them, too. Find it here, and be sure to tag us on Instagram if you end up reading any of these with your littles!
1 | Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Stumpkin is the most handsome pumpkin on the city block. There’s just one problem. He 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?
A sweet Halloween tale from a pumpkin’s point of view, with gorgeous monochrome illustrations with pops of orange.
2 | gustavo, the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago
Although Gustavo is good at doing ghostly things (like walking through walls and making things fly), there is nothing he loves more than playing the violin! However, Gustavo is terribly shy and has a hard time making friends. When he gets close to the other monsters, they just can’t see him!
One day, he gathers the courage to invite the other monsters to a violin concert put on by him at a Day of the Dead party. Will Gustavo finally be able to show the other monsters who he is?
A sweet story of friendship with stunning illustrations.
3 | the little kitten by nicola killen
One fall day, Ollie is playing outside with her cat, Pumpkin, when they come upon a kitten buried in a pile of leaves. While Pumpkin naps, Ollie follows her new kitten friend into the woods, where she sees “Lost Kitten” posters. So Ollie helps return the kitten to her home and realizes she has become separated from her own cat!
The two are soon reunited and snuggle together at home. A surprise ending gives us a peek into who the kitten belonged to, and Ollie receives a festive thank you gift!
4 | The little Ghose who was a Quilt by Riel Nason
There once was a little ghost who was a quilt. The ghost didn’t know why he was a quilt, as all the other ghosts were sheets. And he didn’t like being different. He couldn’t whirl and twirl like the other ghosts, and when he flew, he got hot.
But one Halloween night, everything changes. He has a magical experience, an experience only he could have because he was a quilt! And soon, he realizes that it’s good to be different.
5 | Vampirina Ballerina By Anne Marie Pace
Vampira wants so badly to be a ballerina, but she will have to overcome a few obstacles to be one. 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. And then there’s the turning into a bat during class!
A fun story of hard work and perseverance.
6 | Ghost Afraid of the Dark by Sarah Conway
Meet Boo, a ghost who is afraid of the dark. As Halloween approaches, Boo visits his monster friends who help teach him the dark can be his friend. Afterward, Boo decides to be brave and throw his friends a spooky party where he learns something about himself he never knew!
A delightful Halloween story with charming illustrations and rhyming text.
7 | Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler
Bonaparte, the skeleton, is having a tough time. Bonapart is supposed to start school, but 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.
Thankfully, Bonapart’s friends have a few ideas to try out. Will any of them work in time for school to begin?
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 set out on an adventure and make new friends along the way as they help her find her witch’s hat, her bow, then her wand. 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 from the other ghosts: he doesn’t like to screech in a scary way, doesn’t want to haunt, and 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 | PIG THE MONSTER BY AARON BLABEY
Pig was a pug and I’m sorry to say, on Halloween night he’d get carried away…
In this newest addition to the Pig the Pug series, Pig is on a monstrous rampage for TREATS! Don’t even think about being stingy with the goodies because this greedy Pig has some terrible tricks up his sleeve.
Once home, he ravages through his candy until he realizes…pugs can’t eat chocolate!
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 while they 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). They cart it home, scoop out the insides, carve a face, and finally light a candle inside to make a one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern.
This is the perfect one to read before your own trip to the pumpkin patch with fun rhythmic read-aloud text!
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 | The Little Ghost Who Lost Her Boo by elaine bickell
Little Ghost went out in the middle of the night and flew up to someone to give them a fright. She opened her mouth–but her BOO wasn’t there! All that came out was a rush of cold air.
Little Ghost has lost her scary BOO, so she goes on a nighttime hunt to find it. She asks all her friends, but it’s nowhere to be found! Will she ever find her lost BOO?
20 | Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds
Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, especially the ones from Crackenhopper Field. He stopped by the field to pick 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 plans 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 job.
A hilarious book about friendship (and ghosts).
24 | Skulls! by Blair Thornurgh
Make skulls a little less spooky! In fact, they’re not spooky at all but really useful, and cool! Skulls are like a car seat for your brain, they give your face a good shape and so many other things.
“Every head of every person you’ve ever seen has a skull inside. And that includes YOU!”
25 | the good, the bad, and the spooky by jory john and pete oswald
Bad Seed is in a bad mood. Halloween is his favorite holiday, but what’s he to do when he can’t find a costume for the big night? Trick everyone into thinking Halloween has been postponed, of course!
Then he gets a visit from a pumpkin seed, who teaches him that Halloween is about more than the costumes. Will the pumpkin seed get through to Bad Seed before it’s too late? Will he figure out his costume after all?
26 | Brunhilda’s Backwards Day by Shawna J.C. Tenney
Each morning, Brunhilda the witch wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, puts on her ugliest dress, eats spider mush for breakfast, and brushes her teeth with candy. As soon as she leaves the house, she spreads her misery to hose around her.
But one night, Brunhilda’s cat makes trouble instead. When Brunhilda wakes up that next morning, she is on the right side of the bed. All she can find to wear is a fluffy pink ball gown, her spider mush is replaced with oatmeal, and her candy is replaced by toothpaste! The day has gone entirely backward.
What will happen when Brunhilda casts her all-time favorite misery-inducing spells?
27 | Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara
At the edge of town lives a clever girl with a spooky problem: her house is haunted! Luckily, she happens to be a witch and isn’t scared of ghosts. In fact, she knows just what to do with them! She catches them, puts them in the washing machine, airs them out to dry, and gives them new lives as sofa covers, table cloths, and, of course, bedsheets.
28 | I Love My Fangs! by Kelly Leigh Miller
Young Dracula loves his fangs and takes great care of them. They are a cherished family trait.
So one day, when a fang falls out, Dracula doesn’t know what to do! He tries pushing it back in, then taping it, then sticking it, because a Dracula can’t only have one fang!
When the tooth fairy shows up, he chases her all around the house, trying to get his tooth back! He finally let her have it back and tells himself, “One fang is better than none.” And then he wakes to a delightful surprise!
29 | 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.
30 | 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.
31 | The Hallo-Weiner by Dan Pilkey
Oscar is half-a-dog tall and one-and-a-half-dogs long, and all the
Oscar is half-a-dog tall and one-and-a-half-dogs long, and all the other dogs tease him. As Halloween approaches, Oscar plans a scary costume. But when he learns his mom has worked hard to create a hotdog bun costume complete with mustard, he wears it to please her. And all his friends laugh at him!
On Halloween night, Oscar’s friends jump into the pond to escape a hissing monster (that ended up just being a couple of cats). In the end, the costume helps Oscar to save the day by acting as a life raft to get his friends back to shore!
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