BOO! Book List for HALLOWEEN! Updated with more PUMPKIN, BAT, + altogether SPOOKY Read-Alouds!

Halloween was never a favorite holiday of mine . . . until recently. My family didn’t really celebrate it growing up, and since I’m a pathetic, squeamish fraidy-cat by nature, I’ve always steered clear of anything too scary or gory. But our son absolutely LOVES Halloween; from the costumes, to the Jack-o’-lanterns, to the bats . . . and his enthusiasm has rubbed off on me over the past few years. Although we still keep the witches and skeletons and blood to an “it’s-for-mom” minimum, our whole family loves decorating our house with friendly spiders, pumpkins, and bats (hey, they pollinate cocoa beans . . . what can I say?). We also have become big fans of . . . you guessed it . . . reading *carefully chosen* Halloween-themed BOOKS!

Seasonal reading is one of our family’s favorite activities.

Nothing celebrates a season or holiday quite as intentionally, effortlessly, and affordably as cozying up with your kiddos over the pages of a book steeped in the sensory richness of a hallowed time of year.

Since our son was born, we have read more than seventy-five pumpkin, bat, and Halloween-themed books. We have weeded through the clutter (the gross, gruesome, or totally terrifying), and have selected our very favorite *Happy* Halloween books to share with you today! I’m even including a “cross-curricular” / nonfiction section to use as, or with a Homeschool Halloween-Science Unit Study. And for Christian families, I have marked books that may still be considered questionable according to specific values/preferences with these labels: *content includes jack-o-lanterns* OR *content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*

So, make some Hot Apple Cider or Pumpkin-Spiced Hot Cocoa, and cuddle up with a few of these bright or spooky reads to celebrate October!

Make our Super Simple Homemade Hot Apple Cider: In a pot on stove, or in a crockpot, place: 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, and half a gallon of unfiltered apple juice (the browner the better). For extra spicy Hot Apple Cider, you can add a whole star anise, a few whole allspice berries, and/or a few red hot candies (my mom’s trick). On stovetop: bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and simmer for at least an hour and up to three. In a Crockpot: turn on low and heat for at least three hours. Remove or strain out the spice and cheers! Serves a family of 5.


PUMPKIN & HALLOWEEN FICTION; our Top-Picks by age

~Baby Boo Pumpkins (under 3)~

Baby Boo

*content includes jack-o-lanterns*

  • Goblin Story from Little Bear’s Visit by Else Homelund Minarik (one of our family’s all-time favorite stories and our second TOP PICK for this age category. It is just slightly spooky . . . the perfect first “scary” story for a very young child. Both of our children LOVE this little tale, and each had it practically memorized before they even turned two years old! Bust out your best goblin voice for this charming read-aloud.)

Illustrations above by Maurice Sendak from Little Bear’s Visit

*content includes jack-o-lanterns*

*content includes jack-o-lanterns, magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*


~Sugar Pie Pumpkins (age 3-6)~

Heirloom New England Sugar Pie Pumpkin Seeds | Terroir Seeds
  • Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell (an absolute TREASURE in our family and our TOP PICK for this age category! The story and illustrations are truly beautiful, and fully capture both the miracle of a pumpkin’s life cycle as well as the magic and mystery of Halloween.)

*content includes jack-o-lanterns*

  • Cinderella, retold by Paul Galdone (The witch-like fairy godmother paired with pumpkin coach make this retelling of Cinderella a perfectly soft-pedaled Halloween read-aloud!)

*content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*

*content includes jack-o-lanterns*

*content includes jack-o-lanterns, magic/sorcery, and/or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*

*content includes jack-o-lanterns, and dressing up as evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*


~Casper Pumpkins (age 6-9)~

Casper
  • The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson (a very fun sequel to the amazing and hilarious The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, this is a quick chapter book loaded with slightly spooky and mischevious fun. Our son listened to the audiobook version nonstop last year, and we are giving it our TOP PICK for this age category. Note: you can read this before The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which is a must-read for the Christmas season.)

*characters dress up as evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.) for Halloween*

*content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*

  • Bunnicula by James Howe (a fairly toothless introduction to vampires . . . the vampire turns out to be harmless and not a vampire at all)

*content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*

*Check out my ghost-themed Boxcar Book recommendations here: SPOOKS, SCAVENGERS, SKITS, SILLY SONGS, and (S)MORE! Campfire-Inspired Family Activities

*Or try this Spooktacular Trio:

*content includes discussion of evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.) but always turns out to have been something real and explained*

*content includes dressing up as evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*

*Henry Huggins dresses up as “an Indian” for Halloween*


~Warty Goblin Pumpkins (age 9-12)~

Warty Goblin
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (although it may not immediately seem like a good choice for Halloween, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is full of mischief as well as plenty of spooky adventures! From graveyards, frightful nights, to bat infested caves . . . Tom Sawyer gets our TOP PICK for a spooky Halloween-worthy read-aloud for this age group!

*content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*

*The above illustrations are by Donald McKay from our amazing vintage copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer that is sadly out of print. If you want this version, which is truly beautiful, you can often find a gently used copy on Thriftbooks or Ebay.

*content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghost, etc.) with a theme of allegorical redemption*

*content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*


~Knucklehead Pumpkins (age 12+)~

Knucklehead

CROSS-CURRICULAR / NONFICTION HALLOWEEN; our Top-Picks by age group

~Baby Boo Pumpkins (under 3)~

Baby Boo
  • Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jean Titherington (an exquisitely beautiful book . . . the simple words and realistic yet artistic chalk illustrations make this an amazing read to little absorbent minds!)
  • Pumpkins by Ken Robbins (although perhaps more humble than the other books on this list, THIS was the book that our son asked for over and over and over again when he was two and three, and is responsible for the spark that kindled his deep and true love for pumpkins and all things Halloween.)

*content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*


~Sugar Pie Pumpkins & Casper Pumpkins (age 3-9)~

white pumpkin on top of orange pumpkins photo – Free Plant Image on Unsplash

*content includes magic/sorcery, or evil characters/spirits (witches, ghosts, etc.)*

  • Bats by Gail Gibbons (everything you could ever hope to know about bats . . . kind of mind-blowing actyally)
  • How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? by Wendell Minor (the cover doesn’t do it justice . . . such LOVELY illustrations . . . vibrant and rich just like the season!) This book is as absurd as it is beautiful; it’s full of larger-than-life pumpkins fulfilling odd roles such as filling in for a president at Mount Rushmore. I included it in the cross-curricular category because it takes you along a fun journey to some famous United States landmarks.

HAPPY READING! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Thanks for reading!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~