With Halloween almost here, bedtime stories are definitely taking on a ‘spooky’ direction.
No matter what age, reading to children in bed is a special bonding time for parents as well as an educational opportunity. Younger readers love pictures and rhymes whilst older readers can enjoy a little scare from the safety of their bed with these books for Halloween bedtime stories.
We’ve collected 10 of the best Halloween kids books for all ages but don’t be surprised if older children enjoy some of the ‘younger’ children’s’ books. Create a new tradition of reading a classic Halloween book (or two) each year with your family and friends.
Books For children under 3 years
1. Peek-A Who? – Nina Laden
This simple, colorful board book is excellent material for introducing a toddler to words and helps them to build their vocabulary. Created specifically for early learners, the book is a straightforward rhyming guessing game, accompanied by whimsical illustrations. Parents and caregivers can look forward to mentally stimulating and quality bonding time with a toddler, while at the same time, helping a child learn about animals in a fun way. Not strictly a Halloween childrens book it’s a worthy addition to your young ones’ library.
Books For children 3-5 years
2. The Night before Halloween – Natasha Wing
Most people are familiar with Santa Clause and his elves preparing for Christmas, so how about a story of monsters and ghosts getting ready for Halloween? The story of this book is a creative take on Halloween, told in Dr. Seuss-style rhyming verses. The colorful illustrations are eye-catching and the prose is easy to read for kindergarten children. This book is also ideal for reading aloud to children as a bedtime story..
3. The Spooky Bus on Wheels – J Elizabeth Mills
This is a humorous variation on the classic song Wheels on the Bus – with a Halloween twist. This wonderful book will get preschoolers singing along, learning numbers, simple Halloween vocabulary and onomatopoeia. It also helps that the book comes with cute illustrations that makes it a fun and educational page-turner.
TIP: Onomatopoeia: the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss). Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Books For children 6-8 years
4. The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat – Stan Berenstain
Part of the Berenstain Bears family series, this is a Halloween story for children that has some depth and positive messages parents can talk about with the kids long after the reading is done. The story revolves around the Bear siblings on a night out trick-or-treating, along with a subplot of a creepy neighbor they are afraid of. The moral of the story is to convey the message of how appearances can be deceiving, and hence we should not simply judge others without getting to know them ourselves. It is well-written story that also reinforces certain messages to children, such as staying safe by not wandering too far from the neighborhood, and never eat the treat before you bring them home for mom or dad to inspect them.
5. Spooky Pookie – Sandra Boynton
Here is a delightful story about Pookie the Pig, finding a resolution to a dilemma most children can relate to; deciding what to dress up as for Halloween. This is a simple story about being willing to try different things, set during a holiday most children look forward to. The charm of this book lays in the many different lovable animal characters. It is a book that will leave kids wanting to see more of the main character and its friends.
Halloween Books For children 9-12 years
6. The Halloween Tree – Ray Bradbury & Joseph Mugnaini
When eight young boys go trick-or-treating on Halloween night and one of is pulled into darkness the rest have to set out on a quest to rescue him. That is the simple premise of this book. There is more to this kids’ book, though. Despite a target age range of 9 to 12, older children, teens and even adults who pick up this title will quickly find themselves engrossed in it. How can one not be? The story delves into morbid subjects like death and loss, with somewhat eerie and surreal illustrations that just begs you to keep on turning the page and keep reading. This is one of those books that will capture your imagination as a child and you will treasure it for life, re-reading it from time to time for the sake of nostalgia.
7. Kids Halloween Stories: 10 Halloween Stories for Kids (Ghost Stories for Kids): Scary Halloween Short Stories for Kids – Arnie Lightning
Need some ideas for spooky tales to tell around a campfire? Arnie Lightning’s book will give you enough ideas. Here is a collection of easy to read, mildly bone-chilling Halloween-themed short stories for preteen readers that will make for an entertaining read, without actually scaring them from going to sleep. Adults may also find this book to be a valuable resource for stories they can read or tell to younger children.
Books For children 12+ years
8. Halloween Magic & Mayhem – Stella Wilkinson
This is a cute coming-of-age teen witch story that adults who grew up with Sabrina the Teenage Witch will love as well. The premise is not really original; ordinary teenage girl discovers that she has witchy powers, so now she has to learn how to make use of her gift, deal with ghosts, zombies and – typical teenage girl drama – boy troubles. Still, it makes for a light-hearted and funny young adult novel, filled with likeable characters that show considerable development as the plot progresses. If you are hoping for a sequel by the end of the book, the good news is that this is in fact the first installment of the Magic & Mayhem series of paranormal romance comedy!
9. Halloween Party (Fear Street, No. 8) – R. L. Stine
If a novel that is intended for a young adult audience can be enjoyed by more mature readers, there must be something outstanding about it. What would you do if you are given a party invitation in the form of a coffin with the words “reserved for you” inscribed? RL Stine’s horror thriller is one such book with a readership that extends beyond its target audience. Intriguing from the start, readers can look forward to interesting characters, shocking plot twists and an engaging mystery that keeps you turning the page. Tired of costume parties and trick-or-treating? Halloween Party is the perfect read for a quiet night indoors.
10. The Book of Hallowe’en: The Origin and History of Halloween – Ruth Edna Kelley
We commonly associate Halloween with costumes, candies, carved pumpkins and office parties; a celebration that is more rooted in commercialism than tradition. The Book of Hallowe’en is an informative guide into the origins, customs and beliefs of the holiday observed on October 31st each year. There is a wealth of information in this book, tracing the history of Halloween celebrations in various parts of the western world, from its pagan roots to Christian influence and subsequently its adoption into mainstream North American culture. It an educational compendium worthy of adding to one’s personal library, especially if you have an affinity for the supernatural and occult.