Ready for spooky season? Libraries and bookstores are filled with Halloween books. This blog post contains a list of the best halloween books for kids under age 8 or 9 (picture books and read aloud options).
Hello fall. The season is shifting. I feel the air cooling down. It's time to gear up for the holidays. We are already almost done planning our family halloween costumes, in fact we started planning in July. Our family has a ton of fun traditions beyond just halloween costume planning. Each year we visit a local pumpkin patch. We always do Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland. I'm a former elementary school teacher. Books are a way of life. We pull out all the best halloween books for kids. My daughter is older and now she reads chapter books independently. We still love reading our picture books together.
Halloween Stories for All Ages
My goal is to let this be a reminder for you. Before Halloween, pull the books out. Then big kids can read to little kids. After that, big kids can read to parents. There's a fun nostalgia around these lovely books for early readers. Kids of all ages enjoy a great picture book.
This list of the best halloween books for kids is for children who are between ages five and nine. There is nothing super scary or creepy listed here. Preschool and elementary school classroom teachers will love these read aloud options. If you are looking for ways to support your child's classroom, gifting a book to the classroom library is always a stellar idea. These books are some great suggestions for classroom library donations.
If you are building a library (either at home or at a school or day care)……these books are a great starting place. Just a gentle reminder, building a library takes TIME. As a teacher, it took me years to build a robust classroom library. My suggestion? Buy a few books each season, and then supplement with books from your local library (pro tip, seasonal books are often on sale AFTER the holiday).
Favorite Halloween Traditions: Activities And Stories
Now, teacher hat on here. The best part about any children's books? The activities and play AROUND them. I'm encouraging you to not stop with reading the books themselves. Make this a truly fun spooky story celebration. You can visit your local library to find NEW halloween books. Set up a book trade with neighbors or do a big old read aloud in your driveway. You can do books at the pumpkin farm one weekend. Try having a set of stuffed black cats deliver a new book each year.
The point is? Reading is FUN. It's an experience and a way to create tangible memories. A number of my own favorite memories as a child are filled with some of the best halloween books for kids. My family read the same books each year, in fact a lot of those books are the same ones that I read with my own daughter. First, have a blast with these classic tales, then create fun activities around the themes in them.
The Best Halloween Books for Kids
Want a fun Halloween book activity? Use these books as a Halloween countdown. Put them in a basket, and read one a day for the 15 days leading up to Halloween. It's a great way to help younger kiddos grasp the concept of time.
Halloween Books Read Aloud Classics
These are the absolutely CLASSICS. The Halloween books you'll read year after year and pass down to your grandchildren. Some of these? They are the exact copies I read with my mom growing up.
- Room on the Broom: this adorable book is a long time favorite of mine, and one that I read in my classroom every year as a teacher. It practices rhyme and helps children follow along with the sequence of a story (this is a great one for kindergartners or first graders). It's also a sweet story that shows a witch inviting friends along on her broom. Can't recommend it enough. It's a classic for a reason.
- Georgie the Ghost: I went WAYYYYYY back with this recommendation, this book was first published in 1944 (it's out of print but I've linked to some places you can find used copies). Georgie the Ghost is far from your traditional ghost story. It's part of a larger series of picture books about Georgie, an absolutely not scary little ghost who helps people in a haunted house a whole lot more than he actually haunts them.
- The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin: the cutest. This story will be super relatable to all the little pumpkins in your patch. It's a good book to support talking about how differences make us beautiful and special. This tells the story about Spookley, a pumpkin who is born in a pumpkin patch with a unique shape….in the end? Spookley's shape is their biggest asset and therefore an important lesson in being unique.
- Clifford's Halloween: This classic halloween tale is 100% worth a read if you haven't read it in awhile especially for fans of the big red dog. It follows the adventures of a little girl (emily), her giant red dog (clifford) and in this particular book? All of their Halloween night traditions and fun. It's a great way to talk about all the spooky things (or not spooky things) that you do as a family and to think about new Halloween season activities you may want to participate in as a family.
New Halloween Stories
These are some newer and more recently released Halloween stories. They're absolutely adorable, and instant classics.
Gilbert the Ghost: Gilbert the Ghost is a super cute story about a little ghost who is…..different. He doesn't like to scare, he's kind and sweet, and it talks a lot about being WHO YOU ARE. This book does what children's books do best….it shares an important message in a sweet, kid friendly way.
- The Hallo-weiner: If your kid loves Captain Underpants…..then this is another cute book by Dav Pilkey….and it's a Halloween must read. Young readers always get a kick out of this adorable story about a little dog named Oscar. After getting picked on, he ends up committing a very brave act and…..is the total hero of Halloween. This comes in a board books version as well.
- Creepy Carrots: I have to celebrate that this iconic Halloween book won a Caldecott Medal, and it's well deserved. The illustrations are stellar. This silly story shares what happens when a bunch of carrots decide to take revenge on a bunny who has eaten WAY too many of their friends (fair warning, as a result you might have a carrot eating strike in your house after too many reads of this one).
- The Little Old Lady who was not Afraid of Anything: this is a stellar read aloud and one of the best halloween books for kids out there. It's a great call and response story, which makes it really fun for young children since they can participate as the book moves along. It's the story of……a little old lady walking through the woods and then getting a little nervous…..but nothing scary for even the tiniest little monsters.
Halloween Books and Activities
These Halloween books are especially fun, and I love that they lead to additional activities. They're perfect for classroom settings or for fun Halloween plans at home.
- The Halloween Tree: This fun holiday book is a REALLY cute way to introduce a Halloween party activity or a new family Halloween tradition. Yes, MOST trees dream of being…..Christmas trees. But this story? Shares a tree who wants something else. He wants to be different. He doesn't love the winter season. So he becomes……a Halloween tree. How fun would it be to decorate your very own Halloween tree each year? I love the idea of young kids doing an art project to go along with this book. It would be a SUPER fun classroom project…..to have each child decorate their own little Halloween tree after reading the book as a group.
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schultz and Kara McMahon: If you love a classic Halloween book, then this is a must read. In our house? First we read the book each year, then we have a screening of the classic cartoon. This year we are going to project the movie on our garage door and then have the neighborhood kids come over!
Learning about Halloween
Halloween (and all holidays) are a wonderful opportunity to learn about diversity and unique ways to celebrate. These books share beautiful celebrations from around the world.
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Halloween by Deborah Heiligman: a list of great halloween books for kids wouldn't be complete without a book that addresses how Halloween has evolved and how it is celebrated in different cultures. This is a great addition to your classic halloween books and we really loved reading about different Halloween traditions. I'd suggest this book for ages 5-9 (so early elementary school). This is a really fun option for finding fun new ways to celebrate a happy halloween!
Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes and illustrated by Yuyi Morales: I've spent the last few years looking for great bilingual Halloween books for kids, and in fact, this is one of my favorites (if you have suggestions for more of them, please leave them in the comments). This sweet Halloween poem has won a TON of awards and it's easy to see why. It has stunning illustrations and is a REALLY fun read (fair warning, this one is a little bit more on the spooky stories side of things).
Gustavo, the Shy Ghost: This adorable story shines in so many ways….but my favorite part? The best part of this book is the illustrations. They are stunning, vibrant and so inspiring. The book itself shares the story of Gustavo….a shy ghost who reminds us that it's ok to be WHO you are.
The Remembering Day / El dia de los muertos (English and Spanish Edition): I think it's really important to learn about Dia de los Muertos as it's own important holiday. This beautiful story tells the story of Alma and her grandaughter….and how she is remembered during Dia de los Muertos. I love that this focuses on the amazing beauty that comes from remembering those who have passed on….it's a great way to explain the holiday to children.
Non Traditional Halloween Books
- The I’m Not Scared Book:If you love Todd Parr books, then this book is for you. Now, hear me out….this isn't a traditional Halloween book. But I had to include it in my list of Halloween Books for Kids because…..kids get scared surrounding Halloween. This book is amazing way to normalize talking about being afraid. It's a vehicle for expressing that fear is a normal emotion, and that it is ok to plan for Halloween and to discuss what might scare your child or feel uncomfortable to them.
There you have it. The best halloween books for kids. I love adding one or two new ones each year, and I always do a little research to see what new Halloween books have released in time for the holiday. From trick or treating to costume planning to decorating……it's such a fun time of year and an amazing way to encourage your children to love reading. The perfect books always enhance and enrich your life. Including Halloween books.
Do you have favorite Halloween books you read in your house each year? Leave them in the comments so we can all stock our bookshelves with a few new ones this spooky season!
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