When the leaves start to fall and Halloween is around the corner, it’s normal to find yourself craving a delightfully spooky story — one about ghosts, werewolves, witches, and things that go bump in the night. Kids feel it too! Each year after we carve pumpkins, my 5- and 7-year-olds want to curl up before bed and read something that makes their stomachs flutter. It gets them in the holiday spirit, and it feels magical to them to read something a little bit spooky while knowing that they’re safe at home, in their own room, with loved ones right beside them.
Story-telling is as much a part of Halloween as mini candy bars and black plastic spiders, and reading aloud to kids positively impacts their language and literacy development, as well as their social and emotional learning. But when you have young children, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right kinds of Halloween books.
For kids in the preschool and elementary set, you want books that tell light-hearted stories, provide junior-sized spooks while still providing positive messages, and have a happy ending that ultimately shows them there is nothing to fear. The books on this list are some of the best that fit the bill, and will delight the whole family in a kid-friendly way.
Craving more Halloween fun? Here’s a full list of picture books for kids who don’t want to be scared. You’ll also want to check out these brand new Halloween reads!
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Oliver Jones is making his way home on a perfectly normal moonlit night when something very strange happens: He turns into a werewolf! Oliver is shocked, but then he discovers that being a werewolf is so much fun. He can run faster, jump higher, and howl at the moon. He even has super strength! This book is wonderful at taking a traditional Halloween character (a werewolf) that has the ability to be really frightening and turning it into a story that will have young children and even their elementary-aged older siblings gasping in surprise and shaking with laughter.
On Halloween night, Sammy the skeleton has to make a trip through the woods to his grandma’s house before he can go trick-or-treating. Along the way, strange things start to happen. Sammy hears noises. He senses someone nearby. Could it be a new Halloween friend? This fun-to-read book by renowned children’s book author Steve Metzger is a great introduction to spooky stories for eager little ones. It has bright, cheerful illustrations and a playful level of suspense. Best of all, it ends on a happy note! It’s a perfect fit for any Halloween story time with preschoolers and other young children.
At Halloween time, most children are looking for that perfect story that’s scary, but not too scary. Well, so are Grace and Walter, the siblings at the center of this exciting Halloween tale. They love it when their grandfather tells them scary stories at bedtime — as long as they aren’t too scary — so he invents a magical story about two children out for a walk in the haunted woods. Grace and Walter must help him finish the story to see how it ends. This book doesn’t rely on ghouls or witches for scares. Instead, it uses the eerie setting to create some hair-raising suspense that’s just mild enough for the kindergarten set (and still interesting to children who are slightly older). It’s a remarkable age-appropriate scary story for children who want good-natured spooks in time for Halloween.
Your little ones already perk up when they hear Peppa speaking on TV, so throw on your best British accent and read this festive book aloud to give them the best Halloween ever. In this spooktacular story, Peppa and her friends and family play outside in the leaves, carve pumpkins, and dress up in costumes. It's the perfect read-aloud for kids who don't want any spooks at all! Siblings will relate to the dynamic between Peppa and George, and your kids will be eager to partake in all of the season's festivities after a family reading of this charming book.
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