Halloween books

Favorite picture books for Halloween

Over the years (it’s been two years — that counts as years doesn’t it?), I’ve amassed quite a collection of Halloween books. I love cute Halloween, and there are a LOT of picture books out there that fit this description. Here’s what we’ve found so far. I love them all.

Just Say Boo! My First Halloween

Just Say Boo! – When you see something scary on Halloween, what do you say? BOO! I like this message, and I love the pictures of a classic suburban neighborhood all decked out for Halloween, and a dad dressed up as an astronaut with a glass helmet walking his kids through the neighborhood while they trick-or-treat. (At a distance, of course — you only see him in a few pictures.)

My First Halloween – The best how-we-celebrate-Halloween in a nutshell book I know. The pictures in this book inspire my Halloween planning more than anything else, including Pinterest.

The Spooky Old Tree Bears in the Night Pumpkins

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree – Three little bears sneak into a haunted tree! My kid loves the rhythm and repetition, and he was fascinated for months by just the right level of scariness in this.

Bears in the Night – Little bears sneak out of bed to find out what is making that strange noise up on Spook Hill. A compelling read!

Pumpkins – The book we read before we go to the pumpkin patch. Gorgeous photos showing where pumpkins come from, how they grow, and where they end up.

Creepy Carrots A Very Brave Witch Frankenstein

Creepy Carrots! – A rabbit is haunted by carrots that no one else can see. Is it all in his imagination, or is there something else going on? In a surprising twist, this book has a happy ending for everyone — the creepy carrots and the rabbit.

A Very Brave Witch – Did you know that witches are afraid of humans? One brave little witch decides to overcome the fear and learn more.

Frankenstein – A monster-themed parody of Madeleine.

Usborne Spooky sticker book Ghosts in the House! Arthur's Halloween

Spooky Sticker Book – Okay, this is not actually a book. It’s a sticker book. But I love it. Sometimes my little boy helps me stick the stickers on the pages. Sometimes I do it myself.

Ghosts in the House! – When this little witch moves into a new house and find it full of ghosts, she throws them in the washing machine, hangs them out to dry on the clothesline and then puts them to good use.

Arthur’s Halloween – Arthur is afraid of everything Halloween-related until he has to rescue DW from a witch! He finds his courage and discovers that the witch is just a friendly old lady who needs a little help with the upkeep on her haunted-looking house.

Monster Needs a Costume AlphaOops! H is for Halloween

Monster Needs a Costume – Monster has a lot of ideas about what he wants to be for Halloween. Finally, he settles on something completely original. My son loves the rhymes in this book.

AlphaOops: H Is for Halloween – Oh how I love this book! It’s my favorite ABC book in the world. The letters are putting on a Halloween show, and they get all mixed up. This is about as cute as cute Halloween can get.

Excuse Me... Are You a Witch? Halloween ABC Night of the Gargoyles

Excuse Me Are You a Witch? – A lonely little black cat who spends a lot of time at the library reads that witches like black cats, so he goes in search of one.

Halloween ABC – Trick or treating, ABC-style.

Night of the Gargoyles – Gargoyles come to life at night and frolic in the city! It’s not Halloween related, but it’s a little eery and the text is beautiful.

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever – Two mice love and nurture the same pumpkin and figure out how to share it so that they both get what they want.

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin – Duck and Goose are pretty silly guys. They look in all the wrong places for a pumpkin until a friend helps them out.

Max's Halloween Max and Ruby: Happy Halloween Max and Ruby: Spooky Bunny Tales

Max’s Halloween, Happy Halloween!, and Spooky Bunny Tales – We loooooove Max and Ruby. This brother and sister are always tugging back and forth about how things should be and working through their small scale conflicts with kindness and a sense of humor. I love how gentle these are and I love little brother Max’s determination and belief in himself.

Where is Baby's Pumpkin? What Am I? Halloween

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin? and What am I? Halloween – We are also big fans of lift-the-flap books. These two walk little kids through cute versions of Halloween symbols and characters.

I Love Fall!

I Love Fall! – This cute touch and feel book isn’t about Halloween, but it does have pumpkins in it, and it feels right to get it out when pumpkins start showing up in the stores.

Bats at the Beach Bats at the Library

Bats at the Beach and Bats at the Library – These books aren’t specifically about Halloween, either. They’re just about bats. But what bats! They do all the things that people do, but at night time and in upside down funny bat ways.

Miss Spider's Tea Party

Miss Spider’s Tea Party – Again, this isn’t a Halloween book — it’s a book about a spider. But when big furry spiders start showing up all over people’s houses in our neighborhood, I like to have this story about a friendly, dainty vegetarian spider who throws elaborate tea parties kicking around.

What are your favorite Halloween picture books? I’m always looking for more…

Halloween books: My First Halloween

My First Halloween by Tomie dePaola

A mom, a dad and their four kids carve jack-o-lanterns, make Halloween decorations to hang up around the house, dress up in non-scary costumes (the mom is a friendly looking gorilla), go trick-or-treating together and then come home with their friends for a Halloween party with apple bobbing and orange frosted cupcakes. Tomie dePaola’s illustrations feel like home. This is the book that got me started loving Halloween picture books. We got it last year, and we’ve been reading it all year long.

Halloween books: Ghosts in the House!

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

A little girl moves into a house that happens to be haunted, but there’s no cause for alarm because she happens to be a witch and she knows just what to do. She puts on her witch’s hat, and her white cat puts on his black cat costume, and together they catch all the ghosts in the house, stuff them into a hamper, wash them in the washing machine and then put them to work around the house as curtains, table cloths and sheets. The illustrations are beautiful and all of the ghosts are printed in barely transparent white ink, so you can see through them. This is one of my favorites.

Halloween books: AlphaOops! H Is for Halloween

AlphaOops! H Is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis

This book is super cute. The letters of the alphabet are putting on a Halloween show and they get all out of order in the process. The letter “B” keeps picking costumes that other letters have picked synonyms for until he finally finds the perfect word starting with B. At the end all the letters have a big Halloween party. The pictures are cozy little kid Halloween style instead of creepy, and the text is both short and interesting enough that you can read it to toddlers over and over and both of you will enjoy it.

Halloween books: Pumpkins / Field trips: Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkins by Ken Robbins is a beautiful book. There are gorgeous pictures of pumpkin farms, and pictures showing the life cycle of pumpkins from seeds to decomposition. It also shows how big and small they can be and how different they can look. The farm pictures include a wagon like the one on the cover and a tractor in the background, which were some of the most excitedly exclaimed over pages in our house. It also devotes a few pages to Halloween and jack-o-lanterns. It’s the perfect book to read at the beginning of October just as pumpkins start showing up everywhere.

* * * * *

We read it before visiting the Tanaka Farms pumpkin patch in Irvine, and it was a great preparation. At Tanaka Farms, you can pick pumpkins off the vine, and you can ride around the farm in a wagon attached to the back of a tractor.

The Tanaka Farms pumpkin patch, as seen from a wagon ride around the farm.

Unlike the book, it had a petting zoo, and it was the best petting zoo we’ve been to so far consisting of relatively sturdy, small animals that are unlikely to stress kids out and that kids are unlikely to stress out in return. There were no rabbits or chickens, for example, which was wonderful, and there were lots of pygmy goats and baby pygmy goats, and young normal goats and a few sheep and pot bellied piglets. There were three separate pens, each one a good, respectable petting zoo on its own, and one of the pens was getting a rest period while we were there to give the animals a chance to relax. The animals we visited with seemed pretty comfortable with the whole situation.

It also had a produce stand, old-fashioned games for older kids (bean-bag toss sorts of games with no flashing lights or loud noises) and a track surrounded by large potted plants where kids could ride gas-powered mini tractors around.

We’ll definitely be going back.

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
5380 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Halloween books: Just Say Boo!

Just Say Boo! by Susan Hood

I love Just Say Boo! The pictures look like they are from a beautiful, platonic New England-y (or Pasadena-y) suburbia where neighborhoods are full of kids and everyone dresses up  — kids and adults — in homemade costumes and goes trick-or-treating at twilight. It’s like a fantasy childhood Halloween. The book teaches kids what to do if they get a little scared by all the Halloween decorations and costumes (Just say “Boo!”), and the rhythm and rhyme of the words makes it fun to read out loud over and over. Little ones can chime in with a “Boo!” every other page or so.


Halloween books: Excuse Me . . . Are You a Witch?

Excuse Me Are You a Witch? by Emily Horn

I love picture books, and I especially love Halloween picture books. I like my Halloween books to be more cute than scary, and we found some very cute Halloween books this year. This one — Excuse Me Are You a Witch? by Emily Horn — is about a lonely black cat who hangs out at the library when it is cold out, and who discovers from his reading that witches love black cats. He goes out in search of a witch, and eventually he finds a whole school of little witches in training right back where he started — at the library.