Halloween is a favorite holiday for many people from all age groups. What better way to celebrate than with a picture book that celebrates the season? Here are some of my favorite picture books about Halloween to read aloud with family, at storytime or in a classroom setting. I have avoided books that are part of large series, mainly because if your child love s Clifford or Arnold books, then they will most likely enjoy the holiday or seasonal books in the series. These books are all appropriate for children through eight years old.
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman contains brilliant illustrations and rhythmic text that makes it idea for sharing. A colorful witch is trying to pick a pumpkin in order to bake a pie for Halloween. Unfortunately, the big pumpkin that she grew is stuck on a vine. Varieties of graveyard creatures come to her aid, teaching the value of cooperation while delighting readers with a spirited assortment of characters that stop short of being scary.
Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell does more than celebrate the jack-o-lantern, it also teaches about the garden life cycle. Tim carves a jack-o-lantern for Halloween, but he loves it too much to throw it away when it gets past its prime. Instead, Tim puts his rotting pumpkin in the garden, where it changes and becomes the seeds and nutrients for pumpkins for the following year. Now Tim can share pumpkins with his class at school and welcome back Jack as a new jack-o-lantern.
The Hallo-Wiener Dav Pilkey is a pun- laden tale of Oscar the dachshund, who is typically teased by neighborhood dogs. One Halloween his mother dresses him as a hot dog, even though he desperately wanted to be something much more intimidating. He lags behind the rest of the dogs while trick or treating, which turns out to be a good thing as he is able to rescue the group and gain their respect. This is a punny and funny tale with a loveable hero.
Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino is a bright and fun reworking of the classic finger play rhyme. The colors and faces might be a little spooky for the youngest or more sensitive listeners, but my children (both under five) were not bothered by the illustrations in the slightest. The sturdy board book will entertain and inspire some singing or reciting along with the reader after a few renditions.
It’s Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall is the story of siblings working together to plant and tend to a pumpkin patch, planning to have wonderful jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. The illustrations are painter-paper collages, which add a special depth as the pumpkins progress from tiny seeds in spring to the pumpkins for carving in the fall. The story can work as a gardening story or a fun Halloween tale, complete with information at the end of the book explaining how a seed germinates and grows.
Halloween Night by Arden Druce is a beautiful picturebook that asks the readers and listeners to respond. It offers a mystery to solve with colorful watercolor illustrations that will captivate Halloween fans of all ages as much as the rhyme and mystery.
Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting features a cat and her three kittens as they watch costumed children trick or treat. This is a great book for introducing the spirit of Halloween in a classroom or story time setting.
The Teeny Tiny Ghost by Kay Winters is a fu ghost story for Halloween. A little ghost goes to school in order to learn about haunting, but he is so timid that he is afraid of his own screams. On Halloween night, he is home with his cats when there is a knocking at the door. Who will do the scaring, the ghost or the knocking trick-or-treaters?
A Very Scary Witch Story by Joanne Barkan has glow-in-the-dark illustrations that add a special element to the story. Witches, mummies and other creatures lead the silly and spooky tales. A great book for sharing; would be perfect at a Halloween party for young children.
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll is a story of compromise as well as the season. Two mice begin to care for a single pumpkin, but each is unaware of the other’s work. Clayton waters it for the county wide contest of the biggest pumpkin, while Desmond waters the pumpkin so he can have a huge jack-o-lantern for Halloween. When both of the mice figure out what they have been doing, they come together with compromise and friendship.
Other fun picture books for Halloween include Mouse’s First Halloween, Pumpkin Moonshine, The Witch Who was Afraid of Witches, 10 Trick-or-Treaters: a Halloween Counting Book, In the Haunted House, Peek-a Moo!, Shake dem Halloween Bones, and How Spider Saved Halloween.