The best warm and delightful Halloween books for the very young

Who am I?

The world opened to me in a safe space when I learned to read as a child, and by 6th grade, inspired by Jo March, I hoped to be an author and regularly hauled stacks of books home from the library. I had put aside my dream of writing until my marriage to Mark Buehner. It was his career as an illustrator that opened up a path for me, and together we have created many picture books, including the Snowmen at Night series. I’ve learned that stories are told with pictures as well as words, and beautiful picture books can be savored at any age.

I wrote...

Snowmen at Halloween

By Caralyn M. Buehner, Mark E. Buehner (illustrator),

Book cover of Snowmen at Halloween

What is my book about?

The snowmen are getting their Halloween costumes ready for the latest picture book in this New York Times bestselling series.

Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you’ve wondered... what do snowmen do when we’re not watching? After an early snowfall, a few kids build some snowmen before going trick-or-treating. And when the kids go off to bed, the snowmen have their own Halloween festival! There’s candy and apple-bobbing and costume contests and all sorts of autumn activities. When the kids wake up the next morning, the snowmen are gone… but they’ve left a very special message behind.

The books I picked & why

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The Widow's Broom

By Chris Van Allsburg,

Book cover of The Widow's Broom

Why this book?

It wasn’t long after beginning our family when we started collecting Chris Van Allsburg books, loving the moody feel of his detailed pencil illustrations, and this book, not as well known as Jumanji or The Polar Express, is one of my favorites. 

Losing its magical powers of flight, a witch’s broom ends up in the garden of widow Minna Shaw. While frightened at first, she comes to enjoy its quiet company and help around the farm. But after meting out well-deserved punishment to some children, the neighbor’s demand that she give up her companion, and it seems as if this unusual friendship will come to an end. A twist in the tale brings the story to a warm and satisfactory ending.

The Hallo-Wiener

By Dav Pilkey,

Book cover of The Hallo-Wiener

Why this book?

This book may be about dogs at Halloween, but completely relatable if you’ve ever been embarrassed or longed to be part of the crowd.

Little Oscar, a “wiener dog,” is embarrassed daily him daily when his mom sends him off to school with her loving goodbyes. Hoping to be able to finally impress the other dogs with an amazing Halloween costume, Oscar’s dreams are crushed when his mother shows him the costume she has made, which sandwiches him between two giant bun halves and turns him into a frankfurter. Humiliated, he follows behind the other trick-or-treaters, only to find the treats all gone. But an encounter with a terrifying monster in a graveyard changes everything when Oscar’s size and costume save the day.

Room on the Broom

By Julia Donaldson, Axes Scheffler (illustrator),

Book cover of Room on the Broom

Why this book?

This gentle and comical book takes place almost completely on a broom—the broom of a witch who happily travels on her broom with her cat. “How the cat purred/ and how the witch grinned,/ As they sat on their broomstick/ and flew through the wind.” The witch loses first her hat, then a hair ribbon, and finally, a wand. Each item is found by another animal, and each asks to ride on her broom. The generous witch complies, and soon there is a witch, cat, dog, parrot, and frog on the broom. When the friends survive a dragon by using their wits, the witch conjures up an elaborate broom with special seating for all.

The comical illustrations perfectly complement this warm tale of unusual friendships.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

By Linda Williams, Megan Lloyd (illustrator),

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

Why this book?

I love reading aloud, and I love read-aloud books that have sounds or actions that the reader and listeners can do as they follow the story. This book is delightfully physical—as you clap, clomp, wiggle, nod, and boo along with the shoes, pants, shirt, top hat, gloves, and pumpkin head that the little old woman meets as she walks home one night. Being followed by clomping shoes or wiggling pant legs might be terrifying, but this little old woman is not afraid of anything, something she proves when all these animate items come knocking at her door. Bravely she offers them a task where they can really be frightening—and the clomping shoes, wiggling pants, shaking shirt, clapping gloves, nodding hat, and boo-crying pumpkin head become the perfect scarecrow in the little old woman’s cornfield. Such a fun book!

B Is for Boo: A Halloween Alphabet

By Greg Paprocki (illustrator),

Book cover of B Is for Boo: A Halloween Alphabet

Why this book?

It might be unusual to choose an alphabet book intended for babies and toddlers in a selection of Halloween books, but the art in this book and others in this series is worth collecting, even if you don’t have little ones to share the book with. There have been a lot of little ones reading books on my lap over the years, both my own children and now grandchildren, and I’ve learned that there are certain favorites that I might as well keep close at hand rather than shelve in the hallway with the other picture books. A few years ago I stumbled across B Is for Boo, and I loved the illustrations so much that I have collected nearly a dozen more books in Greg Paprocki’s series of alphabet books. The illustration style might best be described as “retro,” and whether readers grew up in the 1960s like me or not, they will love the nostalgic feel and mid-century details. While the word choices for the alphabet letters can be fun and sometimes surprising in Mr. Paprocki’s books, the illustrations are the magnet here.  

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Halloween, dogs, and witches?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Halloween, dogs, and witches.

Halloween Explore 54 books about Halloween
Dogs Explore 252 books about dogs
Witches Explore 85 books about witches

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Biggest Pumpkin Ever, Go Away, Big Green Monster!, and Alice and Greta if you like this list.