If there is one thing I love, it is the holidays. For me, September through December is the best time of year! I used to be a strictly Christmas loving girl, but I have grown fond of Halloween too (probably because my husband and daughter love it too.)
The other day, my 2 year old daughter’s teacher asked the children what their favorite things about fall were. Most children mentioned the pretty leaves or going to the apple orchard. Mac simply said “Halloween!” And as she is following in my footsteps as a voracious reader, I decided to put together a list of fall and Halloween books for all ages.
(Usually for toddlers, I recommend books that are realistic, but as a holiday loving lady, I have been willing to bend to rules for fun, seasonal books as a sort of treat.)
The first book is a little Halloween and a lot of fall. This is probably the most realistic of the bunch for toddlers and it is a classic. Seriously, I read it when I was little! Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell is a cute little story about a little girl picking apples and pumpkins to get ready for Halloween.
One realistic book I have found for toddlers that shows different aspects of Halloween is My First Halloween by Tomie dePaola. It starts with the preparations for the holiday all the way through the celebration with realistic illustrations in the classic style of dePaola.
Mac and I both love the Duck and Goose books by Tad Hills. We have picked up a few of them over the span of her short life. They are fun and entertaining with great pictures. One of the first ones I bought was Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin. It is a cute fall read where Duck and Goose go looking all over for their pumpkin. This year, they also put out Duck & Goose, Honk! Quack! Boo! I have not bought this one yet, but it will be on the way shortly. From what I have seen online, it looks just as adorable as the rest!
A simple Halloween board book that Mac loved to look at when she was little was Spooky Pookie by Sandra Boynton. We don’t have a lot of books by Sandra Boynton, (I don’t know why as they are cute books) but Mac still enjoyed this one. Pookie is just trying to find something to wear for Halloween. Thankfully he finds something to wear by the end.
I would be remiss to mention Halloween toddler books without mentioning Happy Halloween, Daniel Tiger! by Angela C. Santomero. Daniel Tiger is hands down Mac’s favorite character, show, everything. This book is a fun lift the flap book where you get to see which costume each character chooses for the holiday.
Many of the books I have for this age level is all of the old stand-by characters. Most likely it is nostalgia on my part. The first one is the Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat by Stan and Jan Berenstain. This old standby shows what happens when misconceptions almost lead to tricks instead of treats!
Clifford’s Halloween by Norman Bridwell is another classic from my childhood. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth love Halloween, but they also talk about other holidays they like to celebrate.
There is also the story of Clifford’s First Halloween by Norman Bridwell. Clifford wants to dress up to go trick or treating, but he is so small that he is having a hard time finding a costume! Emily Elizabeth comes up with a cute idea for a costume.
Arthur’s little sister D.W. wanders into the scariest house on the block and Arthur has to retrieve her. I remember reading this story as a kid and wondering what I would do if I was Arthur. Arthur’s Halloween by Marc Brown is another classic Halloween story that I cherish.
I’m going to start off with some books that are near and dear to my heart. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling has been a constant in my life since they came out. They do get a bit dark as the series goes on, but the first three are fun books for younger children to read either on their own or with an adult. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are all fun books to read around Halloween time.
I don’t know if anyone else was genuinely scared of some of the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine, but I definitely was. I don’t know if the dummy who came to life or the kids being chased through a London castle dungeon scared me more, but the thought still gives me the chills. The Goosebumps Retro Scream Collection has Night of the Living Dummy in it to freak out your preteen while the Goosebumps 25th Anniversary Retro Set has A Night in Terror Tower to scare them a little more.
I was definitely a Baby-Sitters Club girl. Ann M. Martin knew how to write books that kept me coming back for more! I read every single book, including the mysteries, super specials, and the series about Karen. Some of the mysteries were pretty spooky. Just re-reading the description for The Baby-Sitters Club Haunted House (Super Mystery #1) makes me want to re-read it.
As I mentioned before, I love the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The last 4 books of the series get a bit darker as the war in the wizarding world becomes a more imminent threat. I definitely say that everyone should read the entire series, even if it takes some time. So for older teenagers, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are all fantastic books to complete a fantastic series.
Just like the Goosebumps series scared me as a preteen, the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine scared me as a teenager. Now they are putting multiple stories together like Fear Street Super Thriller: Nightmares: (2 Books in 1: The Dead Boyfriend; Give me a K-I-L-L) and Fear Street Super Thriller: Party Games & Don’t Stay Up Late. Honestly, they still look really creepy to me!
A newer series that I read as an adult, but would definitely have enjoyed as an adult was Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs. This series is a 3 books set with each book being better than the last. It is a great fantasy book without being a Harry Potter knock-off. I also love that each book has vintage photographs that helped inspire it. They really up the creepy factor.
Obviously adults can read the preteen and teen selections too, but I wanted to pick out a few classics that adults should read. The absolute first thing that sprang to mind was Edgar Allan Poe. His poems and stories make a chill go up my spine. “The Raven” is a masterpiece that everyone should know. I can’t pick just one though, so I definitely recommend the Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe.
I’ve read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James multiple times as an adult. It is a creepy ghost story without being too melodramatic. It is a true psychological thriller that I enjoy each time I read.
Here are three of the classic horror books all in one place. No one can say they are a horror or even Halloween fan without having read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dracula by Bram Stoker, and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Now all three are together in one book so the month of October can be filled with classic horror.