The best children’s books for Halloween

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent my career as a publisher, editor, and writer of children’s books, having worked for or published with Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Amazon, and other houses. Having written and edited a number of Halloween stories, I’m always on the lookout for new ones—and I also enjoy going back and reading the classics in this genre as well. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a haunted house or because I’m the youngest of nine kids who celebrated Halloween in a big way. I retired from full-time work a few years ago and now devote my time to writing children’s books and consulting. We’ve just moved into a new house, and who knows? Maybe it’s haunted!


I wrote...

Book cover of Bonaparte Falls Apart

What is my book about?

Bonaparte is a skeleton whose bones keep falling off. When he plays catch, his arm takes a flyer. Eating lunch is a real jaw-dropping experience. How can he start school when he worries others will make fun of him? His friends, Franky Stein, Blacky Widow, and Mummicula try to help him, but none of their ideas work. Then the perfect solution comes along when Bonaparte meets a pup that enthusiastically likes to retrieve bones.

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The books I picked & why

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

Margery Cuyler Why did I love 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!

By Linda Williams, Megan Lloyd (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

“A splendiferous Halloween story.” —The Horn Book

“A great purchase for Halloween or any time of year.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

Once upon a time, there was a little old lady who was not afraid of anything! But one autumn night, while walking in the woods, the little old lady heard . . . clomp, clomp, shake, shake, clap, clap.

And the little old lady who was not afraid of anything had the scare of her life! With bouncy refrains and classic art, this timeless Halloween story is perfect for reading aloud.

A classic and fun Halloween read-aloud story…


Book cover of Biggest Pumpkin Ever

Margery Cuyler Why did I love 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.

By Steven Kroll, Jeni Bassett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Biggest Pumpkin Ever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Desmond and Clayton must work together to win the Biggest Pumpkin competition, in this popular bestselling picture book.

Once there were two mice who fell in love with the same pumpkin....Desmond the field mouse wants to carve the biggest jack-o'-lantern in the neighborhood with his pumpkin. Clayton the house mouse wants to win the Biggest Pumpkin contest with his. But when they discover that their choice pumpkins are actually the same one, Desmond and Clayton decide to work together to grow the biggest pumpkin ever!

Book cover of Room on the Broom

Margery Cuyler Why did I love 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. 

By Julia Donaldson, Axes Scheffler (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Room on the Broom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

How the cat purred and how the witch grinned,
As they sat on their broomstick and flew through the wind.

A very funny story of quick wits and friendship, Room on the Broom is another smash hit from the unparalleled picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo.

The witch and her cat fly happily over forests, rivers and mountains on their broomstick until a stormy wind blows away the witch's hat, bow and wand. Luckily, they are retrieved by a dog, a bird and a frog, who are all keen for a ride on…


Book cover of Go Away, Big Green Monster!

Margery Cuyler Why did I love 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.

By Ed Emberly,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Go Away, Big Green Monster! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Die-cut pages through which bits of a monster are revealed are designed to help a child control nighttime fears of monsters.


Book cover of Creepy Pair of Underwear!

Margery Cuyler Why did I love 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.

By Aaron Reynolds, Peter Brown (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Creepy Pair of Underwear! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

From the celebrated team behind Creepy Carrots!, Aaron Reynolds and Caldecott Honor winner Peter Brown, comes a hilarious (and just a little creepy) story of a brave rabbit and a very weird pair of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. A ghoulish, greenish glow. If Jasper didn’t know any better he’d say his undies were a little, well, creepy. Jasper’s not scared obviously, he’s…


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Beautiful and Terrible Things

By S. M. Stevens,

Book cover of Beautiful and Terrible Things

S. M. Stevens

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Charley Byrne isn’t really living. She hunkers down in her apartment above the bookstore she manages, until quirky activist Xander Wallace lures her out of social exile with the prospect of friendship and romance. Charley joins Xander’s circle of diverse friends and thrives, even leaving her comfort zone to join protests in a city struggling with social justice ills.

But the new friendships bring back-to-back betrayals that threaten the bookstore—Charley’s haven—and propel her into a dangerous depression, in a stark reminder that friendship has the power to destroy as well as save lives. Can her friends save the store? And Charley?

Beautiful and Terrible Things

By S. M. Stevens,

What is this book about?

"A beautifully crafted story of friendship and self-discovery set amidst the harsh realities of today's world. Superb!" -Eileen O'Finlan, author of Erin's Children

Charley Byrne isn't really living. At age 29, she hunkers down in her apartment above the bookstore she manages, afraid of a 7-year curse. Then quirky activist Xander Wallace lures her out of social exile with the prospect of friendship and romance. Charley joins Xander's circle of friends diverse in their heritage, race, gender and sexual orientation. She thrives, even leaving her comfort zone to join protests in a city struggling with social justice ills.

But the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Halloween, witches, and underwear?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Halloween, witches, and underwear.

Halloween Explore 92 books about Halloween
Witches Explore 134 books about witches
Underwear Explore 6 books about underwear