The best children’s books for Halloween

Margery Cuyler Author Of Bonaparte Falls Apart
By Margery Cuyler

The Books I Picked & Why

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

By Linda Williams, Megan Lloyd

Book cover of The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

Why this book?

A little old lady is not afraid of anything, until--clomp, clomp, shake, shake, clap, clap—she hears eerie noises behind her while walking in the forest. Followed by a collection of bodiless clothes and a pumpkin head that want to scare her, she hurries home. But she’s not frightened when they return. Rather, she comes up with a great idea—why don’t they assemble themselves as a scarecrow who can scare crows away from her garden? Great onomatopoeia, repetition, suspense, a perfect ending, and lively illustrations. I’ve never read this book to a child who hasn’t begged me to read it again!

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Biggest Pumpkin Ever

By Steven Kroll, Jeni Bassett

Book cover of Biggest Pumpkin Ever

Why this book?

Two adorable mice enter a contest, one to carve the biggest jack-o’-lantern ever, the other to grow the biggest pumpkin ever. It turns out that they fall in love with the same pumpkin. One waters it during the day. The other waters it at night. Neither mouse knows about the other’s efforts. When they discover that they’re each contributing to the same pumpkin’s growth, they decide to work together to win the competition. This classic book with endearing illustrations will appeal to kids who love pumpkins and who value cooperative effort to achieve success.

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Room on the Broom

By Julia Donaldson, Axes Scheffler

Book cover of Room on the Broom

Why this book?

A friendly witch picks up one new friend after another (for example, a hungry dragon and a muddy monster), refusing no one a ride on her broom. In a clever-but-not-scary ending, they repay her kindness. This book has a skillfully written rhyming text accompanied by witty, wonderful illustrations that will appeal to kids. Also, the fact the story isn’t as scary as some other Halloween books makes this book especially appropriate for ages 2-4. 

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Go Away, Big Green Monster!

By Ed Emberly

Book cover of Go Away, Big Green Monster!

Why this book?

This interactive picture book provides a great way to scare away a frightening monster.

As kids turn the die-cut pages, they’ll see the features of Big Green Monster grow bigger and bigger, until his whole body is pictured, at which point there’s a caption that reads, “You don’t scare me.” In the remaining pages, the features and finally the monster disappears. I understand why children love this book. They are in charge when they stand up to the monster. “And don’t come back! Until I say so,” the text concludes. As in Where the Wild Things Are, the child takes control of his fears. An extra bonus is that the illustrations are bright, simple, and masterful by a Caldecott award winner.

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Creepy Pair of Underwear!

By Aaron Reynolds, Peter Brown

Book cover of Creepy Pair of Underwear!

Why this book?

Fabulous digital art showcases a zany story about a rabbit who is not afraid of underwear—until he sees his new pair of undies glowing a ghoulish green in his dark bedroom at night. They look creepy! How can he get rid of them? He tries various solutions, but nothing works until he buries the underwear in a hole. But now his room seems too dark. Does he miss the eerie green glow? How can he get it back? Not only does he dig up his undies, but he spends his allowance on more of the same. The art in this book is a brilliant contrast between dark and day-glo green. The plot is just wild enough to capture the imagination of children who like humorous stories, especially at Halloween.

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