The Best Books On Halloween

The Books I Picked & Why

The Book of Hallowe'en: The Origin and History of Halloween

By Ruth Edna Kelley

The Book of Hallowe'en: The Origin and History of Halloween

Why this book?

Originally published in 1919, Kelley’s book is the first in-depth history of Halloween, and it remains entertaining and surprisingly accurate. The book also includes charming photographs and a brief bibliography. Although the book is scarce in its original printing, it is readily available as either a free e-book or an inexpensive print-on-demand hard copy.


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The Halloween Tree

By Ray Bradbury, Joseph Mugnaini

The Halloween Tree

Why this book?

A wonderful, beautiful book, written in Bradbury’s inimitable style. Not only is The Halloween Tree (first published in 1972) entertaining and superbly written, it also provides a crash course in Halloween history. It also served as the basis for a charming 1993 animated television movie. There are editions available from different illustrators, including Gris Grimly and Bradbury's longtime collaborator Joseph Mugnaini, but the gorgeous story will always be what's front and center here.


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Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History

By Lesley Bannatyne

Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History

Why this book?

Lesley Bannatyne’s Halloween. An American Holiday, An American History brought the study of Halloween history into the modern era. Published 71 years after Ruth Edna Kelley’s seminal The Book of Hallowe’en, Bannatyne’s book opened the gates for consideration of Halloween as a subject deserving of more serious consideration. This was the book that certainly inspired ME in my Halloween scholarship!


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Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween

By David J. Skal

Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween

Why this book?

David J. Skal’s delightful books always offer insight alongside history, and his history of Halloween (published in 2002) is no exception. Death Makes a Holiday (which was recently reprinted under the title Halloween: The History of America’s Darkest Holiday) remains probably the most popular recounting of the holiday’s long and fascinating history.


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Halloween in America: A Collector's Guide With Prices

By Stuart Schneider

Halloween in America: A Collector's Guide With Prices

Why this book?

Published in 1995, Schneider’s book was the first to suggest that vintage Halloween memorabilia had value to collectors, and it didn’t just open the floodgates for books on Halloween collectibles, it exploded the entire market of Halloween collecting. Thanks to Schneider’s volume, prices for Halloween items ranging from turn-of-the-last-century postcards to 1950s costumes exploded. Whether you're a collector (which might be like me!) or just a fan of Halloween, the book is packed full of glorious images of bygone Halloweens.


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