The Best Classic Halloween Books, Plus What’s Trending This Year
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We love promoting literacy for children of all ages, and what better way to add extra titles to your library than with a good theme? Halloween is around the corner, and if you’re looking for spooky or just plain silly you will find something for everyone on this list of Halloween books for kids.
More:12 Spine-Tingling Halloween Movies for Teens
Many of these classics will bring back memories of nostalgic stories and characters from your own childhood, a great way to bond with your own children. If you’re looking for something a little more modern, we also have suggestions for Halloween books for kids that are trending this year. All books are linked to Amazon for quick and easy purchase. Have fun exploring!
Our Top Picks:
Best Classic 60s Halloween Book - Clifford’s Halloween
Best Classic 70s Halloween Book - The Spooky Old Tree
Best Classic 80s Halloween Book - The Biggest Pumpkin Ever
Best Classic Monster Book - The Monster at the End of This Book
Best Interactive Classic Halloween Book - The Little Old Lady who was not Afraid of Anything
Best Spooky Classic Halloween Book - Scary, Scary Halloween
Best Glow-in-the-Dark Halloween Book - What Was I Scared Of?
Best Halloween Book based on a TV Special - It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Best Scary Halloween Book - In the Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories
Best Rhyming Halloween Book - Room on the Broom
Best Halloween Book Based on a Song - The Spooky Wheels on the Bus
Best Book About Halloween Activities - Corduroy’s Best Halloween Ever
Best Halloween Book With a Lesson - The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat
Best Toddler Halloween Book - Five Little Pumpkins
Best Halloween Board Book - The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin
The Silliest Halloween Book - There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat
Best Engaging Halloween Book - Lift-a-flap Boo
Best Halloween Book About Kindness - The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin
Best Halloween Baby Book - Little Blue Truck’s Halloween
Best Halloween Activity Book - I Spy Halloween Book for Kids
2020 Trending Character Halloween Book - Pete the Cat Trick or Treat Pete
2020 Trending Halloween Book from a Series - Pout-Pout Fish: Haunted House
2020 Best Halloween Joke Book - Try Not to Laugh: Halloween Edition
2020 Newest Halloween Release - When the Clock Strikes on Halloween
2020 Cute Halloween Story - Skeleton for Dinner
What to Consider When Purchasing Halloween Books for Kids
- Book Material - Do you have a young toddler who would do better with a sturdy board book? Many classic stories also come in board book format. Avoid giving paper pages to younger children if you want your book to last longer than one season.
- Age-Appropriate Content - Especially considering the spooky nature of some Halloween themes, make sure that the book content is appropriate for the age of your child. Keep things fun and light to avoid unnecessary anxiety around make-believe scenarios unless your child is old enough to decipher between reality and fantasy.
- Ratio of Text to Illustrations - Depending on the age of your child, are there enough illustrations to keep them engaged? Young readers can utilize the pictures to help create a more well rounded story, and pre-readers can do a “picture walk” to discern what is happening even before they can read the words. Confident readers also appreciate quality illustrations that help break up the reading.
Best Classic 60s Halloween Book
Long before modern pet owners were deciding which $60 Halloween getup to buy for their canine, Clifford – the OG Big Red Dog – and his pal, Emily Elizabeth, struggled to choose which costume he should rock on October 31: clown, knight, or ghost? This 1966 story is full of tough decisions that today’s trick-or-treaters can still relate to…woof!
Author: Norman Bridwell
“Clifford books in our house are an absolute naptime and bedtime staple. They consistently have good themes and great teachable lessons. The great thing about Clifford books is the length; it is easy to include these books as part of a routine because they only take about 3-5 minutes to complete so you can read multiple books."
Best Classic 70s Halloween Book
We love the Berenstain Bears! In this Halloween fav, first printed in 1978, three sweet bears try to muster the courage to explore a pretty gnarly tree. Along the way, readers learn prepositions: into, up, through, over, down, and out. (Sneaky!)
Authors: Stan and Jan Berenstain
“Because it rhymes, it has a great read outloud quality. The pictures tell half the story and they are wonderful. It is spooky without being scary and very exciting.”
Best Classic 80s Halloween Book
In this 1984 tale, two field mice discover that they’ve both been tending to the same pumpkin. Desmond has been watering it at night in hopes of carving the hugest jack-o’-lantern ever. Clayton has been taking care of it during the day as he aspires to win the Biggest Pumpkin contest. Will they throw down, or learn to cooperate?
Author: Steven Kroll
“This is such an adorable book. Our whole family loves it, from preschooler to fifth grader and parents, too. I read it to a second grade class for their Halloween party and the kids were all engaged and entertained. It has a lovely message of working together.”
Best Classic Monster Book
This 1971 book isn’t specifically about Halloween, but it addresses the very serious topic of… MONSTERS! Kids are naturally a little bit freaked out as October 31 approaches and autumn days grow darker. Who better than the lovable blue Muppet, Grover, to help kids conquer their Halloween fears?
Author: Jon Stone
“This book directly addresses the reader, with Grover doing everything he can think of to try and prevent pages from being turned. His fear is the titular monster at the end of the book. I remember reading this with a mixture of anticipation, excitement, and a little bit of fear when I was a kid - so I hope my son will experience it similarly when he's old enough to really enjoy the story.”
Best Interactive Classic Halloween Book
Wow! You go, Little Old Lady! This 1986 picture book has inspired generations of kids to bravely carry on when they hear something “clomp, clomp,” or “shake, shake,” or “clap, clap” — on Halloween or any scary time in their lives, just like the fierce heroin of this story.
Author: Linda Williams
“This little old lady should bolster the courage of any young people a little bit scared about Halloween. It also can lead preschoolers to participate by helping with the repetitive sounds. Highly recommended.”
Best Spooky Classic Halloween Book
Do you remember reading this 1986 picture book full of green pairs of eyes peering out from the pages? (Spoiler alert: They’re just friendly neighborhood cats.) The story celebrates the slightly creepy side of Halloween, showing kids that the costumes and darkness of the season can be a little scary, but the holiday is ultimately super fun!
Author: Eve Bunting
“Fantastic Halloween story. Slightly spooky, beautifully illustrated!”
Best Glow-in-the-Dark Halloween Book
This newer book, published in 2009, is actually an excerpted short story from Dr. Seuss’ 1961 classic, The Sneetches and Other Stories. The narrator feels spooked by — what else? — an empty pair of pants. Turns out, the pants are just as afraid of the narrator! This silly story is enhanced by glow-in-the-dark illustrations.
Author: Dr. Seuss
“I bought this specifically because it was a glow-in-the-dark book, but when I read the story I instantly fell in love with it. I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of pants walking around by themselves, but realized quickly the value of this book in how it teaches about facing fears.”
Best Halloween Book based on a TV Special
This relatively new book (first published in 2008) is based directly on the iconic 1966 TV special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. So we thought it fit in with this list of classics! Charlie Brown’s pal Linus is certain this is the year the fabled Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch and bring toys to all the children of the world. Here's hopin'!
Author: Charles M. Schulz (adapted by Kara McMahon)
“Such a great story about the importance of believing in something, even when others don't.”
Best Scary Halloween Book
Your little ghosts and goblins have truly graduated to big-kid scary stuff when they’re interested in the spine-tingling tales of this 1984 “I Can Read” book. “Creak… Crash… Boo!” So begins this collection of seven kid-friendly ghost stories. Which classic Halloween book was your favorite as a kid? Please leave a comment!
Author: Alvin Schwartz
“Fantastic book with great stories for children and for an adult who could never forget staying up late as a child scared, but couldn't stop reading this great book.”
Best Rhyming Halloween Book
A wonderfully entertaining book with underlying themes of friendship and kindness, this rhyming story is perfect for young preschoolers and older.
Author: Julia Donaldson
“I really liked the story-line. Seemed to be pretty positive and fun. I enjoyed the flow of the rhyming while reading it. The flow helped me get into it more when reading it to my daughter, which she always likes.”
Best Halloween Book Based on a Song
A newer book published in 2010, but based off of a classic children’s song everyone knows well! Add in some educational experiences with plenty of opportunity to count and recall patterns, this whimsical Halloween book is sure to be a repeat story.
Author: J. Elizabeth Mills
Ages: 3+ years
“2-year old granddaughter was already familiar with the traditional "Wheels on the Bus", so this was a fun variation for her. The colorful pages kept her interest without scaring her, and the counting theme for each page helped to reinforce something she is beginning to learn in daycare. Good addition to our library!”
Best Book about Halloween Activities
We all love following a classic Corduroy adventure. Travel along with Corduroy and friends as they explore the town engaging in your favorite fall and Halloween traditions, ending with a perfect costume surprise! What we love about this book is the great list of activities you can do together as a family this Halloween and fall season.
Author: Don Freeman
“This book was a perfect introduction to Halloween for my 2 year old who will be trick-or-treating for the first time this year. It covered the aspects I wanted: picking out a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch, picking out a costume, and trick-or-treating. I also loved that other fall aspects such as raking leaves, eating pumpkin pie, carving pumpkins and bobbing for apples were mentioned as well.”
Best Halloween Book with a Lesson
True to each Berenstain Bears classic story, a lesson is the underlying theme. In this Halloween story children will learn about right and wrong, should they play tricks or stick to the treats? Come along with Brother and Sister Bear and find out what they decide.
Author: Stan and Jan Berenstain
“A fun Halloween tale told in the lesson learning style of Bernstein bears!!”
Best Toddler Halloween Book
With colorful images added to this classic and lively fingerplay, even the littlest toddlers will be excited to join along. The colorful bright images and sing-songy tune will engage the smallest reader's sense as they navigate the new Halloween environment around them.
Ages: 1+ years
“I bought this book just a few days before Halloween and wish I'd purchased it sooner. My 1yo baby loves it! The first time I read it to her, I wound up reading it seven times before she moved on to something else. The vivid drawings really hold her interest. She likes to point to things on the page.”
Best Halloween Board Book
A Halloween take on a classic children’s nursery rhyme, getting this book as a board book means your toddler will be able to read it over and over again without worry about missing pages. Beautiful illustrations accompany a little pumpkin as it tries to find its way back home.
Author: Sonali Fry
Ages: 2+ years
"This is one of my daughter's favorite books. We bought it for last Halloween (2016) but she insists we read it nightly regardless of the season. She likes the bright pictures and how the story is sung. The book has also held up and still looks new even with how rough our toddler has been with it."
Silliest Halloween Book
This Halloween-themed twist on the classic "little old lady" will be sure to have your kiddos laughing. What won’t the little old lady swallow? A silly, but predictable story, this book allows new readers to follow along without getting discouraged.
Author: Lucille Collandro
Ages: 4+ Years
“My son loves all of these books. He doesn’t like to read so anything that gets him interested is good.”
Best Engaging Halloween Book
Who doesn’t love a classic peek-a-flap story, especially if this is a first Halloween. Small children love lifting the flaps to find the hidden images, and this Halloween version delivers. The flaps are easy for little fingers to open, and contain Halloween traditions as well as educational facts that can engage older children as well.
Author: Rosa Von Feder
Ages: 2-5 years
“This book is adorable! We already have a few of the other peek a flap books but this might be the best. If you or your little one loves Halloween then this is a must have, cute pages and my little one loves lifting the flaps to find all the extras.”
Best Halloween Book about Kindness
This is a great story for children about how being different is not always a bad thing. Spookley might be square when all of the other pumpkins are round, but he’s perfect just the way he is. Follow along on this classic adventure as Spookley’s differences help save the day!
Author: Joe Troiano
Ages: 4+ Years
“Although it can be read as a simple adventure story, there are several themes interwoven within the story that illustrate selfishness, intolerance of differences and bullying as well as believing in yourself, unselfishness and valuing diversity.”
Best Halloween Baby Book
If you're preparing for a first Halloween, this is a great introduction. Read along with Little Blue and his friends as they get ready for a costume party. Little voices can chime in with Blue’s Beep! Beep! Beep! And all of his friends' animal noises.
Author: Alice Schertle
Ages: Baby-3 years
“This is the third book in the Little blue truck series we have purchased and we really love them all. The stories are cute and have really positive messages.”
Best Halloween Activity Book
I Spy books are a classic, and this Halloween version is no exception. Enjoy I Spy activities as well as coloring pages. Kids can tap into their creative side as they celebrate the upcoming holiday.
Ages: 4+ Years
Halloween Books Trending for 2020
Favorite Character Halloween Book
Pete the Cat is a fan favorite, and this whimsical lift-the-flap book is sure to delight children this Halloween. Enjoy seeing your favorite Pete the Cat characters in their costumes as they look for treats on Halloween, spooky surprises await, but nothing too scary for little readers.
Author: James Dean
Ages: 4+ Years
“Very cute illustrations and fun book.”
Best Halloween Book from a Series
Get ready for another adventure with the Pout-Pout Fish, this time as he discovers that not everything about Halloween has to be scary. The illustrations of underwater costumes are beautifully fun and will keep little fingers ready to turn each page to discover the next adventure.
Author: Deborah Diesen
Ages: 2-5 years
“My kids love all of the Pout Pout books! This is perfect for Halloween!”
Best Halloween Joke Book
Geared towards older children, these funny and spooky jokes are great to share with friends or family. If your children need a break from screens or a fun way to encourage additional reading, these good old-fashioned jokes are a perfect place to start. Why are ghosts bad readers? Because you can see right through them!
Ages: 6-12 years
"I bought this for my 8 year old daughter, and she loves it! Yesterday she had a playdate with some of her friends, and decided to read jokes from the book. It turned into a hit, and they spent a long time laughing and taking turns reading the jokes."
Newest Halloween Release
Encounter different characters as the clock strikes each different hour on Halloween night. This is a great book for early readers and those just learning to tell time. Number words and time telling are reinforced with delightful and engaging rhymes. The illustrations that accompany each page are colorful and bright, drawing in each reader as they see the various Halloween costumes.
Author: Lisa Ferland
Ages: 3-7 years.
“What's not to love?! Simple and charming Halloween holiday rhymes while teaching both the analog clock (so few kids have a clue how to tell time by an analog clock!) and time elapses.”
2020 Cute Halloween Story
This book teaches a great lesson in how a small misunderstanding can take off! Follow along with Skeleton when he mistakenly thinks he’s on the dinner menu instead of just a guest. This is a silly story that will have little ones on the edge of their seats waiting to find out what happens next. It makes a great read-aloud if you have a group!
Author: Margery Cuyler
Ages: 4-8 years
“A very cute story with all the Halloween creatures and a great misunderstanding that all works out in the end. My children are 3 & 5 and both loved it!”
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Jennifer Caffelle, Education and Leadership Expert
Jennifer is currently working for a US-wide health care system, Jennifer has worked professionally for 13+ years in the fields of early education and lead