Halloween picture books are a special category of children’s books. Even more than Christmas books, tales of ghosts and witches hit that sweet spot with kids – a celebration of the one night they can ring a neighbor’s doorbell and be guaranteed a mini Kit Kat or something equally yummy! Over the past few years, I’ve begun hiding the Halloween books away (in a scary dark closet with a creaky door) until the first of October – so we can build some anticipation during September.
We have lots of tales of goblins and jack o’lanterns, but the most popular Halloween book continues to be The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey, the story of Oscar the dachshund, who is not happy that his mother wants him to wear a hot dog costume, complete with mustard, to go trick-or-treating. For those of you planning to read aloud to a group of young kids during the Halloween season, The Hallo-Wiener is a surefire hit. I actually kind of look forward to getting this book out of Halloween storage – Oscar looks really cute dressed as a hot dog!
There are also some wonderful new books this season…I like the cute (but not too scary) Halloween stories. Admittedly, I am not a fan of truly frightening costumes (like the Scream Mask) and when my son was young, I encouraged him to dress as a fireman or an explorer. It didn’t seem to bother him – one year he dressed as Edmund Hillary complete with a tin foil-covered ice axe!
For a fun Halloween story time, check out:
Ghost in the House by Ammi-Joan Paquette – A counting book with a twist… I like this book because of the cover. Have you ever seen a cuter ghost?
Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli – The story of a pumpkin seed who wants to be a little more intimidating and have the ability to scare his friends. After a season of growing (and sprouting some orange flowers), he turns into a jack o’lantern. This is a fun way to talk about the life cycle of a pumpkin.
Not Very Scary by Carol Brendler – A counting book “dressed up” as a Halloween book, this is perfect for preschoolers. Not Very Scary is the story of a cute little monster who is invited to a Halloween party. As she walks to the house, she realizes she’s not alone – there are all kinds of creatures following her. This is a cumulative tale with winning illustrations and a festive ending.
Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats by Laura Vaccaro Seeger – In this fourth installment of Dog and Bear’s adventures, the friends go trick-or-treating and have some funny encounters. My favorite scene is Bear looking in the mirror at the costume shop and seeing a bear that looks “exactly like me!”
Bramble and Maggie: Spooky Season by Jessie Haas – The combination of horses and Halloween is just too perfect – I expect high demand for this one. The third Bramble and Maggie book finds them confronting fears, both real and imagined. Give this one to a horse-loving reader who is looking for a “chapter book.”
Two side notes – completely unrelated to Halloween….
First, I love this picture:
A friend who participated in this past weekend’s Climate Change March in New York City sent this to me. Despite being in a crowd of over 300,000 people, this young woman found a place to read.
I spent the weekend in Charleston attending a family wedding. We also spent some time in Charleston’s beautiful Historic District where we walked by a fire station….
The dog is, of course, not real. Everyone who walked by stopped and took a picture – a fire department with a sense of whimsy!