Halloween is, overall, my number one fave holiday of the year. In fact, it combines all my favourite things! Candy eaten in copious amounts, check. Creativity being encouraged, check. Whimsical creatures wandering the streets, check. Although, let me be clear: I’m not usually a fan of being scared, but something about Halloween makes it feel okayish for the night. During this time of year, I love building lists around niche recommendations – and helping you find monster children’s books is one I find especially fulfilling.
If you’re looking for some more general Halloween book options beyond monster children’s books, here are my suggestions for best Halloween books for kids. There’s also these must-read scary stories (with some options for slightly older children). I’ve added a couple of nonfiction monster children’s books at the end as bonus content – they would still would work well as reads for monster-lovers.
An additional note: on Book Riot, we do our best to actively promote diversity in books and publishing. This list of monster children’s books features very few authors and illustrators of colour because I wasn’t able to find very many – hopefully that changes soon!
Gustavo The Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago
This book is an (adorable) monster-filled delight. Author and illustrator Drago has crafted a wonderful story about a shy ghost who builds up the courage to make friends. Gustavo is great at ghostly activities – maybe too great, because none of his fellow monsters notice him! The art in this supernatural tale is cute without sacrificing autumn atmosphere, so great.
Frankenstein Doesn’t Wear Earmuffs! by John Loren
A little boy who is dressed as Frankenstein just wants to be taken seriously by his parents. Unfortunately, they keep giving him sensible outerwear and ruining his Halloween vibes. This is a clever, rhyme-filled book that will make for a very fun seasonal storytime.
The Ghosts Went Floating by Kim Norman and Jay Fleck
This entry in the monster children’s book oeuvre is an easy-to-read, not-scary Halloween version of the classic kids song The Ants Went Marching. Additionally, it incorporates some beginner math, fun vocabulary words and ridiculously cute monsters. Not the right book if you are looking for spooky monsters, but adorable enough for littles to follow without fear!
I Love My Fangs by Kelly Leigh Miller
Little Dracula loses a tooth despite his best efforts to take care of his glorious fangs. This is really fun, from how it plays with fonts to the cute illustrations. Plus, really reminds me of the Addams Family in a spooky-sweet way, all the while promoting good dental hygiene.
Poesy the Monster Slayer by Cory Doctorow and Matt Rockefeller
This one is for slightly older monster children’s book fans because it’ll be a little too scary for kids under four years old. In this hybrid comic/picture book, Poesy just wants to slay monsters, but her increasingly tired and frustrated parents keep insisting that she go to sleep. Poesy knows that they are wrong, that she is the only one who can stop her house being taken over by a vampire, a one eyed floopy octopus monster, and a fearsome werewolf.
The Witch’s Cat by Sonica Ellis and Harriet Rodis
Little Pepper, a shy black cat that belongs to a witch, struggles to make friends. She’s worried it might be a black cat curse, but maybe it’s a lack of confidence? This story teaches empathy and self-esteem, while providing a deliciously autumn-like aesthetic.
Monster Trucks by Joy Keller and Misa Saburi
Misa Saburi’s illustrations are slightly spooky but mostly cute, and I dig the adorably rhyming prose. Basically, the story hinges on what monsters do post-Halloween, which seems to predominantly involve driving trucks. So if your kid loves Halloween + vehicles, this will very much be their jam. Even if those aren’t two of their fave things, still definitely a fun seasonal read.
Ghoulia: Making New Friends Can Be Scary by Barbara Cantini, Translated by Anna Golding
This one is aimed at slightly older kids. Ghoulia is a zombie child who lives in spooky Crumbling Manor with her Auntie Departed and her albino greyhound, Tragedy. But things aren’t all cobwebs and pumpkins (those would be good things for zombies, I think), because she is lonely and wants to be accepted by the village children. Eventually she finds a way to make friends, and so this monster tale actually has a lovely message of acceptance.
That Monster on the Block by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and Luke Flowers
This book also has a great message about diversity. Monster can’t wait to see what kind of creature will move into the newly vacant old house on the block – daydreaming about ogres and other dastardly potential menaces. Then, Monster and his neighbours are disappointed to learn the newest addition is actually a squeaky clown. Clown finds a way to bond with the rest of the neighbourhood, and the story teaches empathy and kindness in a silly Halloween setting.
Monster Needs a Costume by Paul Czajak and Wendy Grieb
Even monsters need costumes on Halloween. (Do they? We learn something new every day, I suppose.) In this wonderful Halloween book, Monster tries on an assortment of creative costume ideas, and I love the range and that there are no gendered expectations!
Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies by Megan Lacera and Jorge Lacera
As the title of this book correctly points out, zombies are not usually big on veggies (I think we both know that their usual favourite dish is brains). However, Mo Romero is a zombie and he is crazy for vegetables, much to the confusion and frustration of his carnivorous parents. Some Spanish language words are used in the text, and the authors do a wonderful job of keeping the book funny and enthralling throughout.
Fright Club by Ethan Long
‘Tis the annual meeting of Fright Club (made up of Vladimir the Vampire, Fran K. Stein, Sandy Witch, and Virginia Wolf), and Vladimir is trying to rally his gang for Operation: Kiddie Scare. Unfortunately, the team has been slacking, and their scaring needs some work. Will they pull it together? This one will have kids laughing for sure.
Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes and Yuyi Morales
This Pura Belpré award-winner pairs bilingual text with spooky art and eerie descriptions of monsters (“Next los fantasmas drag their chains; The ghosts, the phantoms, shriek their pains” – eek). This one is definitely more creepy than kooky, so be prepared, but it is wonderful and worth reading.
Monsters 101 by Cale Atkinson
This book is set up like a nonfiction infographic about different types of monsters, giving humorous “facts” that will make monster fans giggle as they read. Cale Atkinson’s vivid art showcases a plethora of endearing creatures – from general monsters to zombies and more.
Moldilocks and the Three Scares: A Zombie Tale by Lynne Marie and David Rodriguez Lorenzo
Moldilocks is a lonely zombie who finds her way into the haunted house stomping grounds of the “Three Scares”. There is Papa, who looks like Frankenstein’s monster; Mama, who looks Bride of Frankenstein-esque; and they have a vampire baby. Something just isn’t right in their home – they each feel like there is a gap in the family – and then Moldilocks lurches into their unlives. This creative Halloween take on Goldilocks is funny, spooky, and has a heartwarming family message.
Nonfiction Monster Children’s Books
Skulls! by Blair Thornburgh and Scott Campbell
This is one of those books that I fell in love with and squirreled away in my brain, thinking — one day I’ll have a reason to recommend this! It is a charming nonfiction book that focuses on skulls — skull facts, specifically. While this isn’t a monster children’s book per se (and it actually tries to make skulls less scary for kids), it will appeal to any skeleton fans in your life. The book suggests that readers tell their friends “Nice skull, it gives your face a good shape!” which we should definitely make into a popular new compliment. Let’s make each other happy (in a strange way), this All Hallow’s eve.
She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lynn Fulton and Felicita Sala
Mary Shelley is such an interesting figure, and this book will share her story in a way that will be engaging to young readers. It’ll give kids insight into how the story of Frankenstein was created, and maybe even inspire them to write some monster books of their own!
Well, there you go. I hope you manage to have a creepy, satisfying Halloween. Maybe it will look different this year, maybe it will mostly be reading monster children’s books together in your home and then splurging on some candy. These creature-filled stories have enough holiday atmosphere to get you through and make your Halloween outstanding.