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13 Best Read-Aloud Halloween Picture Books for Kids

Elizabeth Bastos

Staff Writer

Elizabeth Bastos has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, and writes at her blog 19th-Century Lady Naturalist. Follow her on Twitter: @elizabethbastos

I am a big booster of “gather ’round the cauldron” old-fashioned read-aloud of Halloween picture books for kids. It’s a tradition in our family to light the Dia de los Muertos oferenda candles and then crack the spine of a book, for who does love the delicious collective spine-chiller of not-too-scary stories? I vant to hear a tall tale. Mwhahahah. Poe Poe Poe (how do the literary undead laugh?).

halloween picture books

My children, 6 and 8, are scaredy cats. I’m saving Lenore for when they’re older and not freaked out by the existence of a room in people’s houses called a basement. “It’s a scary word, Mom, baaassseeeemeeent” says DS, 8, going all Eastern European Count Dracul on the pronunciation like he’s from Transylvania.

They like small thrills. Wacky pumpkins. Silly cats. Dark and stormy nights, and rat-a-tat-tatting on the chamber door, but not too dark and stormy, not too much rat-a-tat-tatting. Chances are your young kids are the same.

So here are ten (okay, thirteen!) suggestions for the best Halloween picture books for kids that won’t give the under-ten set nightmares. Light some candles, put on Bach’s spooky Toccata and Fugue in D Minor organ music, sit your little werewolves on Mummy’s lap, and get reading by the light of the big full moon. Owwwwwwwwwwoooooooo!

  1. Frankenstein Takes The Cake by Adam Rex
  2. Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Adam Rex
  3. The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer
  4. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
  5. The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night by Peter Spirer
  6. Dem Bones by Bob Barner
  7. The Witch in the Cherry Tree by Margaret Mahy
  8. Bunnicula by James Howe
  9. A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee
  10. Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting
  11. Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi
  • Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
  • Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson

    Want even more Halloween books? Check out “28 Of The Best Halloween Books For Kids”!