Best Children's Halloween Books

Picture Books, Nonfiction, A Beginning Reader and More

Whether your child is a preschooler, an independent reader, or somewhere in between, I have a children's book for Halloween to recommend. You'll find some not-too-scary picture books, one pretty scary picture book, a tale about scary carrots, of all things, and a cumulative tale, among others.  Several of the books feature popular characters and are part of a popular series. One of the Halloween picture books comes with an audiobook and an animated version of the story.

1
Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom Cover
Penguin

Room on the Broom, by the team that also created The Gruffalo, author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, is an excellent book to share with children 4 to 8 years old. The story of a witch, a group of animals who help her, good manners, friendship and cooperation is fun to read aloud because of its rhythm and rhyme. Kids love the repetition, the appealing story and the illustrations. The ISBN is 9780803726574. Read my review of Room on the Broom.

2
By the Light of the Halloween Moon

children's Halloween picture book cover art of By the Light of the Halloween Moon
Marshall Cavendish

By the Light of the Halloween Moon is an unusual Halloween picture book, a cumulative tale. Set at night and featuring a child with a wiggling toe, the tale is both amusing and slightly scary. The story, by Caroline Stutson, features alliteration and repetition. Kevin Hawkes's dramatic illustrations greatly add to the appeal of By the Light of the Halloween Moon. I recommend it for most kids ages 6 to 8 and some younger kids. Marshall Cavendish published the book in 2009. The ISBN is 9780761455530. Read my review of By the Light of the Halloween Moon.

3
Creepy Carrots

Creepy Carrots
Simon and Schuster
Creepy Carrots is a deliciously creepy, but not really scary, picture book by Aaron Reynolds, with black and orange illustrations by Peter Brown. The book, a 2013 Caldecott Honor Book for its illustrations, is about a rabbit who loves to eat carrots and is worried that "creepy carrots" are following him. The book is fun for 3 to 6 year olds, particularly those not ready for monsters and other scary creatures. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers published the book in 2012. The ISBN is 9781442402973. Read my review of Creepy Carrots.

4
Celebrate Halloween

Cover art of Celebrate Halloween nonfiction children's picture book
National Geographic Society

Celebrate Halloween with Pumpkins, Costumes, and Candy is a nonfiction book, one of many in the Holidays Around the World series. The book, by Deborah Heiligman, uses color photographs of children celebrating fall and Halloween in several different countries to illustrate the story of holiday, its history and celebration. Extras at the end of the book include directions for a Halloween game, information about The Day of the Dead, a glossary and more. (National Geographic, 2007. ISBN: 9781426301209) Read my review of Celebrate Halloween.

5
Too Many Pumpkins

Cover art of Too Many Pumpkins fall Halloween picture book
Too Many Pumpkins. Holiday House

What happens when a woman who hates pumpkins unexpectedly, and despite her best efforts to prevent it, has a bumper crop of pumpkins? What can she do? Her solution makes a very entertaining story. Author Linda White stresses community in this delightful Halloween picture book. Megan Lloyd's illustrations are delightful. Holiday House published the book in 1996. The ISBN is 9780823413201. Read my review of .

6
Tucker's Spooky Halloween

Tuckers Spooky Halloween, a children's Halloween picture book with DVD Audiobook and Animation
Candlewick Press

Tucker's Spooky Halloween provides extra fun for young kids because, in addition to the picture book, it comes with an animated version of the story, plus two audio versions. The story by Leslie McGuirk features a little white dog, Tucker, and the problems he encounters as he tries to convince his owner to dress him in a scary costume for Halloween. The illustrations by McQuirk have a nice simplicity. Candlewick Press published Tucker's Spooky Halloween in 2009 as part of its Candlewick Storybook Animations Series. The ISBN is 9780763644697. Read my review of Tucker's Spooky Halloween.

7
Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Cover art of Los Gatos Black on Halloween children's picture book
Henry Holt and Company

The Halloween picture book Los Gatos Black on Halloween will send shivers of delight down the spines of older children who thrive on creepy stories and illustrations. The influence of her childhood in Mexico is reflected in the paintings by illustrator Yuyi Morales. Elements of the Day of the Dead celebration can also be found in the text by author Martha Montes, who was born in Puerto Rico. This picture book would make a wonderful Halloween read-aloud, as well as a read-alone, for 8- to 12-year-olds who love scary stories and pictures. It is scarier than most picture books, which is why I don't recommend it for all ages or all 8- to 12-year-olds. However, I tend to get scared easily and know some even younger kids will love the book, which is why I included it on this list.  (Henry Holt and Company, 2006. ISBN: 9780805074291) Read my review of Los Gatos Black on Halloween.

8
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

Cover art for The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
HarperCollins

This just-scary-enough story is both a good read-aloud and a goood read alone. A little old lady goes walking in the forest until dark and then heads for home. On the way, she keeps hearing ominous sounds. She finds herself followed by noisy clomping boots, then by wiggly pants, and more. Kids will enjoy repeating the story's refrain and will delight in the little old lady's creative solution to the problem of what to do with these noisy objects who are upset because they can't scare her. (HarperCollins, 1998. ISBN: 0064431835) Read my review of .

9
A Tiger Called Thomas

Cover art for the Halloween picture book A Tiger Called Thomas
Hyperion

This charming story by Charlotte Zolotow is about Thomas, a little boy who moves into a "new house on a new street" and never ventures from his front steps because he thinks his neighbors don't like him. Day after day, he watches children playing and neighbors walking by. When Halloween comes, he is surprised to find that his neighbors, children and adults alike, recognize him, despite the tiger mask he hides behind, and want to be friends. He goes home a happy boy. (Hyperion, 2003. ISBN: 9780786805174)

10
Humbug Witch

Cover art for Humbug Witch a Halloween picture book.
Star Bright Books

Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian tells the story of a scary-looking little witch who finds that, despite looking like a witch, she can't do what witches do. The little witch is quite a sight, with a big nose, crooked teeth and stringy red hair. Although she tries, the little witch can't cackle like a witch, fly on a broom, cast magical spells or make magic potions. We find out why when the little witch removes her costume and mask, and we see she is a little girl who has been dressed up for Halloween. The simple illustrations are full of humor, much of it the result of the expression on the face of the black cat as he watches the little witch. This is a good book for three to five year olds. (Star Bright Books, 2003, 1965. ISBN: 9781595720092)

11
What was I Scared of?

Cover art of What was I Scared of? by Dr. Seuss
Random House

What Was I Scared Of? by Dr Seuss is a new picture book edition of an old Dr. Seuss story that first appeared in The Sneeches and Other Stories. Subtitled: A Glow-in-the-Dark Encounter, this children's book is a sweet story of two creatures who start out scared of one another, even though one is "A pair of green pants / With nobody inside then!" The narrator is scared of the pants, but ends up comforting the pants when he realizes the pair of pants is very scared of him. While not a Halloween story, it's a good very slightly scary story for ages 4 to 8 during the Halloween season, particularly since special ink makes some of the artwork on every page glow in the dark. (Random House, 2009; ISBN: 9780375853425)

12
The Berenstain Bears Trick or Trick

The Berenstain Bears Trick or Trick
Amazon

This book is part of Stan and Jan Berenstain's First Time Books series. For the first time, Brother and Sister Bear are going trick or treating without an adult along. While the authors emphasize the rules for Halloween safety, they also tell an entertaining story about not judging by appearances. (Random House,1989 ISBN: 0679800913)

13
Boo Who? and Other Wicked Halloween Knock-Knock Jokes

Boo Who? and Other Wicked Halloween Knock-Knock Jokes
Amazon

This clever book works on several levels. It's a book of funny Halloween knock-knock jokes; it's a fun interactive lift-the-flap book, and it's the amusing story of a boy's and girl's adventure in a haunted house.(HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN: 0694013595)

14
Moonlight: The Halloween Cat

Moonlight: The Halloween Cat
Amazon

If you are looking for a warm and gentle book about Halloween for a very young child, Moonlight: The Halloween Cat is it. Halloween is Moonlight's favorite night, and author Cynthia Rylant describes how he enjoys walking around the neighborhood, watching the children in costume and seeing the jack-o-lanterns glow. Illustrator Melissa Sweet's full page artwork provides a window on a magical Halloween night. (HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN: 0060297123)

15
The Monster Trap

The Monster Trap
Amazon

This delightful picture book features the wonderful oil paintings of Dean Morrissey. Although not a Halloween story, it features some of the most delightfully odd looking monsters you will ever see, perfect for the Halloween season. A little boy, Paddy, spends the night at his grandpa's place, which includes a shop filled with antiques and equipment. When Paddy worries about monsters, his grandpa builds some monster traps for him, with surprising results. (HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN: 0060524987)

16
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden
Amazon

The rhythmic text and the colorful photography make Pumpkin Circle a very appealing science book for a wide range of ages. The author, George Levenson, covers the life cycle of pumpkins, from seeds to pumpkins to jack o' lanterns back to seeds. At the end of the book, there is a page of additional information about pumpkins, including planting tips. The engaging photographs by Shmuel Thaler, which cover a year in the garden, complement the text. (Tricycle Press, 1999. ISBN: 1582460787)

17
Nate the Great and the Halloween Hunt

Nate the Great and the Halloween Hunt
Amazon

This entertaining detective story by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, with illustrations by Marc Simont, is written at the 2.1 reading level and will appeal to beginning readers. On Halloween night, Nate's friend Rosamond comes to his house to ask him to help find her missing cat, Little Hex. Nate the Great and his dog, Sludge, are on the case! (Yearling Books, reissue 1990. ISBN: 0440403413)