Favorite Halloween books for first-time trick-or-treaters? Talk amongst yourselves.

Amazon: The Hallo-Wiener For toddlers and preschoolers heading out for their first night of trick-or-treating, Halloween's fun/scary balance can be too close for comfort. Good Halloween-themed picture books can put a friendly spin on the scary ideas of witches, vampires and ghosts.

What's your favorite Halloween book?

Related: Display seasonal books on a stuffed animal chain

More: Halloween hacks


  1. Sally J. (The Practical Archivist) says

    I’m not usually a big fan of rhyming books (especially repeated rhymes) but my kids — 6 and 4 — both adore “Fright Night Flight” by by Laura Krauss Melmed and Henry Cole.

    Now that my oldest is in 1st grade and into SUPER scary books, I don’t think she’d love this picture book so much. But it used to be one of her favorites.

    On the last page the witch, mummy, vampire, etc. come face to face with a family dressed in costume as a witch, mummy, vampire, etc. Ben (4) still has oodles of fun matching them all up.

  2. Charisse says

    We love The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin by Margaret Wise Brown (of Goodnight Moon fame, but this is a more complex and big-kid story).

    Also the Maurice Sendak pop-up book called “Mommy” is hilarious.

  3. Will says

    It may have been more of a Christmas book, but I remember one with a witch who had black snow on her lawn and a black snowman. It’s a good book about accepting differences, and also humanizes witches (or wiccans, or whatever you’d like to call them).

  4. kelly says

    We like Curious George Goes to A Costume Party. It helps our 2 yr old see that people will be wearing different costumes but they’ll still be the same people we know underneath it all.

  5. monica says

    We like Cinderella Skeleton, a Halloween-y retelling of the Cinderella story:

    “Cinderella Skeleton
    Was everything a ghoul should be:
    Her build was long and lean and lank;
    Her dankish hair hung down in hanks;
    Her nails were yellow; her teeth were green-
    The ghastliest haunt you’ve ever seen.
    Foulest in the land was she.”

  6. Sally J. (The Practical Archivist) says

    –>Gregg, I forgot all about Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. Hilarious stuff here, people.

    Check out this blurb, which comes right after the title:

    “…and other stories you’re sure to like, because they’re all about monsters, and some of them are also about food. You like food, don’t you? Well, all right then”.

  7. molly says

    We just checked out “Brooms are for Flying” by Michael Rex from our library and our nearly 2 year old loved it. It is a book that encourages movement — for example, Capes are for sneaking, Wings are for flapping, etc. Very cute.

  8. michelle says

    I was just having this “argument” with another teacher. It’s got to be Big Pumpkin – hands down. It’s even better with the tape story. It’s sung and has an perfectly cackling voice for the witch!

  9. amy says

    For the very early reader or for a kid who’s super-sensitive to scary stuff, you might try _Turtle and Snake’s Halloween_. (Or is it _Turtle and Snake’s Spooky Halloween_?)

    It shows the two friends doing all the prep for a Halloween party. Very cute.

  10. Andrea says

    It’s for more preteen and teen girls, but my favorite that I started reading at about age 8 or 9, is Janet McDonald’s The Ghost in the Swing. It’s spooky, heartbreaking, and mysterious. And VERY hard to get hold of. I found a copy a few years ago for 500 dollars on ebay. Fortunately, I didn’t buy it because a year later I found my copy in my parents’ old attic.

  11. oddharmonic says

    We’re also fans of The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin here.

    This time of year is Scholastic Book Fair season at many of the schools in our district and the Halloween books haven’t been big movers this week. I expect they’ll move more next week, but who knows?

  12. Sarah says

    I’m wondering why parents are so surprised when their kids are afraid of the dark or have nightmares about monsters and such when they not only expose, but encourage and steep them in Halloween and whatever goes along with it. Is it just because that’s what “we” do as a culture? I mean, I’ve answered the door before to parents pushing their 6-month-old baby in the stroller, all dressed up and out trick-or-treating! I definitely don’t see anything wrong with dressing up, but once your child is out of the house, the things they will see are out of your control (i.e. disturbing decorations such as a spooky graveyard or costumes dripping with fake blood and the like) What about thinking this out a bit before going along with something – seeemingly harmless – such as Halloween that imprints such scary, yucky, dark images onto our children’s minds. Yet, with physical safety issues, parents are so quick to be cautious. Is there anyone else out there that feels this way, or am I the only one?

  13. Jill says

    I recommend “The Bones of Fred McFee” by Eve Bunting–not too scary–but the illustrations by Kurt Cyrus are awesome(I may be biased as he’s my brother-in-law but hey, it’s still an excellent choice!)

  14. Margot says

    One Halloween Night, by Mark Teague.
    Totally excellent, and the last book in his “Secret Shortcut” trilogy (middle book being “Lost and Found”. All three books are excellent.

  15. sher says

    for older kids (elementary school aged), there’s nothing better in my opinion than the The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson. robinson gets older children’s voices perfectly, and even grownups will laugh hysterically reading another adventure starring the evil Herdman children.

  16. Encarnacion says

    This far and no mention of Bunnicula? I’m not a “parent” yet in the traditional sense, so I don’t recognize a lot of the titles on this list. But if i find one translated to Spanish i am so getting it for the 15 absolutely adorable foster kids here in Mexico i get to love on each day because their parents can not or will not do so. :) Of course, I get to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with them too, so we’ll see…

  17. Emily says

    Last year we checked a book out at the library called “Say Boo!” and loved it so much we had to buy it. Special ordered it through a bookstore because they didn’t carry it, but we had to have it! It’s about a little ghost named Ben who tries to say “boo” but it doesn’t come out right, so he gets teased. He says “moo” and the cows laugh at him, he says “woo” and the owls laugh, etc. and finally he does end up saying it. Good opportunity to talk about how teasing people isn’t nice too! :-)

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