Brainy Parenting

Happy Halloween! Celebrate this fall holiday in October with the best Halloween books for kids about witches, ghosts, cats, pumpkins, monsters, and more!

Halloween is just around the corner. Are your kids excited?

Maybe it’s time to start reading good books all about this spooky fall holiday.

Discover the best choices in Halloween books– just right for kids of all ages to enjoy. Find board books, picture books, and chapter books. Even better, these books aren’t scary — they’re kid-friendly and mom-approved.

It’s time for a comprehensive, big ol’ list of all my favorite Halloween picture books for your kids to read.

From not scary to a bit spooky, this list has something for every age and stage.

Don’t miss this printable Halloween  treasure hunt.

Find  80 book character costume ideas here.

If you’re looking for scary books — try this list of scary chapter and middle-grade books.

My All-Time Favorite Halloween Books for Kids

Board Books for Ages 1 – 4

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Spookie Pookie by Sandra Boynton Don’t you just love Sandra Boynton board books? My kids ADORED her writing and illustrations when they were little. This cute Halloween book shows how Pookie makes a decision about what to wear as a Halloween costume. You’ll love it.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids Eek! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton The chickens are nervous at all the strange things they see on Halloween like a pumpkin, a wizard, and a robot. So what do they do? Cover their eyes, of course. Until someone explains all about Halloween costumes to them.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids Boo! Haiku by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea Simple haikus will get kids thinking and guessing about Halloween items including a bat, a skeleton, and a black cat.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary The I’m Not Scared Book by Todd Parr Parr makes it okay to feel scared. This excellent board book shows how some things feel scary and also, those same things can seem not scary, too. “Sometimes I’m scared of dogs // I’m not scared when they give me kisses.” LOVE.

open the witch's door Open the Witch’s Door by Jannie Ho It’s Halloween! Lift the flaps to see who’s in the house, find out what the witch is reading, what’s hidden in her cupboards, and even how she sees at night…Early readers will like this playful, not-scary Halloween story about a little witch.

It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff Learn about feelings in this simple Halloween board book. Mouse paints 7 pumpkins with different kinds of faces — silly, scary, friendly, and sad. Love this so much.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids Peep and Egg I’m Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Joyce Wan If you love these two friends, you’ll like this new, funny story about Halloween. Peep does an admirable job trying to entice Egg into being brave for trick-or-treating by sharing jokes, planning out the night, and talking about costumes. But Egg just won’t. (Yet.)

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary B is for Boo: A Halloween Alphabet (Babylit) by Greg  Paprocki The retro artwork of this Halloween alphabet book feels cozy with pages filled with treats, costumes, and other Halloween words. Absolutely lovely.

Halloween ABC by Jannie Ho For those of you Halloween aficionados (you know who you are), share your enthusiasm with this board book for babies and toddlers. This book shows an alphabet of Halloween things like H for haunted house, M for mummy, R is for run, and T for trick or treat. Bright colors and clean illustrations.

AlphaOops: H is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis, illustrated by Bob Kolar Hilarious! This goofey book is one of our favorite Halloween stories!

Kid-Favorite Halloween Books for All Ages Peep and Egg I’m Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Joyce Wan If you love these two friends, you’ll like this new, funny story about Halloween. Peep does an admirable job trying to entice Egg into being brave for trick-or-treating by sharing jokes, planning out the night, and talking about costumes. But Egg just won’t. (Yet.)

Ten Orange Pumpkins A Counting Book by Stephen Savage A bold, graphic illustrations accompany rhyming text that counts down from 10 to 1. Well done, not scary.

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz Don’t you just love Karen Katz books? In this adorable Halloween-flavored story, baby searches around her house for her pumpkin. Help her find it by lifting the flaps. Where will it be?

Halloween Picture Books for Ages 4 – 8

The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Cynthia Fisher Kids love this fun remake of the Night Before Christmas poem. In this Halloween story, the monsters prepare for the big day…mummies put on new wraps, Count Dracula does his hair, the witches brew potions, and they all decorate the house. What will they do when humans come trick or treating? Cute, not scary!

Halloween Night by Marjorie Dennis Murray, illustrations by Brandon Dorman Using the familiar Night Before Christmas rhyme, this Halloween version describes zombies, ghosts, and witches scaring trick-or-treaters.

There Was an Old Mummy Who Swallowed a Spider by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Gray You know the drill. There was an old ____ who swallowed a _____. This updated monster version leads up to a knock on the door and trick or treating. Kids will crack up at this Halloween story!

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Herbert’s First Halloween by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Steven Henry Little Herbert is unsure about this whole Halloween thing. So his dad gently introduces him to the idea. After making him a tiger costume, the two make their own carved pumpkin. Trick or Treating goes so well, Herbert is excited about next year.  A gentle, quiet book that will help children feel more comfortable about the holiday.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Ghosts In the House a Lift-the-Flap Book by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illustrated by Adam Record This clever, funny Halloween counting book starts with one ghost. The ghost discovers (lift-the-flap) a skeleton in the closet and now there are two. Soon there are a total of five monsters prowling through the house. That is until they see a little boy. Yikes! Frightened, the monsters run for their lives.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler Kids (and adults) adore this playful rhyming book about a generous witch riding on her broomstick with her cat. The wind blows so strongly that things start falling off like her hat. She lands and a dog helps her find the hat…he wonders if he can ride on her broom but is there room? Yes! One thing after another blows off and another animal helps and wants a ride. Will there still be room? A read aloud favorite for Halloween!

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Boo Who? by Ben Clanton Boo is new at school and invisible. Literally. This means he has trouble playing most games — because of the whole being invisible thing. Tag doesn’t work. Neither does basketball. But he’s happy to learn that Hide-and-Seek works perfectly! Muted colors show expressive characters pairing perfectly with this sweet story about fitting in. A great story for anytime of year, not just Halloween season.

Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler, illustrations by Will Terry Bonaparte is losing all his bones. =His friends, Franky Stein, Blacky Widow, and Mummicula try to help him but their glue, web, and bandages don’t help. When they see a dog with a bone, the friends realize that a bone-loving dog is just what Bonaparte needs. With his new dog, Bonaparte can go to school with confidence.

MORE Good Halloween Picture Books for Kids

Little Monster wants to be in a scary story. In a conversation between the narrator and Little Monster, Little Monster admits that he MIGHT need the story to be a little less scary, maybe a funny story instead? The story actually turns out to be both scary and funny.

The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin  by Sonali Fry, illustrated by Sanja Rescek Using the nursery rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” as inspiration, this Halloween story is about a pumpkin trying to find his way home. With a little help from a witch, the itsy bitsy pumpkin makes it back to his porch. Kids love that you can sing or read this darling pumpkin book to them.

Big Pumpkin  by Erica Silverman, illustrated by S.D. Schindler How can the witch get the biggest, heaviest pumpkin off the vine for her Halloween meal? You’ll be surprised who can help! (Hint: It’s not the vampire or the ghost.)

Get ready to be immersed in the stinky, loud, interactive world of monster-kind. Each page instructs you to do something to prepare for the next page’s monster — hold your nose, be very quiet, plug your ears. And get ready for the big ending!

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown Jasper’s mom to buy him a pair of big boy underwear. But the underwear is CREEPY and glows in the dark. So Jasper (who isn’t scared at all!) tries and tries to get rid of them. But no matter what he does, the pair of underwear comes right back! Finally, Jasper successfully buries them on a hill. That’s when he realizes he misses his creepy underwear and wants them back. A clever combination of silly and creepy both in this story for all year round.

The children dream of snatching and eating the pomegranates but how can they when it’s owned by . . . The Pomegranate, Pomegranate, Pomegranate Witch? The battle lines are drawn. Just when you think you know what will happen, you are surprised! Delicious words and sensory images weave together in a lyrical, fun Halloween story.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids Grimelda and the Spooktacular Pet Show by Diana Murray, illustrated by Heather Ross To win the pet show, Grimelda must make her pet spooktacular. Of course first, she must find her spellbook. And, the right pet. But, things go wonky at the pet show and Grimelda turns her cat into an even cuter cat. Whoops. Now what will happen!?

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids

A Teeny Tiny Halloween by Lauren L. Wohl, illustrated by Henry Cole Fall is coming and the teeny tiny woman’s house is a bit scary when covered with so many leaves. So, she decides not to be afraid and bakes chocolate chip cookies. Outside, three costumed children play in the leaves then discover the house. Together they eat the cookies inside the warm, cozy house.

Halloween books for kids The Wompananny Witches Make One Mean Pizza by Jennie Palmer The Wompananny Witches love cooking but are terrified by children. They accidentally put their feelings of fear and terror into a pizza; a pizza that escapes and wreaks havoc on the neighborhood. The witches must face their fears (children) and help the children stop the Mean Pizza. You’ll love the humor and sweet message of courage and friendship. This is another book that works year-round, not just on Halloween.

The Big List of Halloween Picture Books for Kids  Boo-La-La Witch Spa by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Isabel Roxas After the big day of Halloween, the tired witches visit the fab-BOO Witch Spa to drink Bat-Whisker Tea and get spooky spa treatments. A darling Halloween picture book that isn’t scary.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary It’s Raining Bats and Frogs by Rebecca Colby Oh, dear. It’s raining on the Witch Parade. Delia wants to help so she changes the rain to cats and dogs. But that’s too crazy so Delia tries again with hats and clogs instead. But the witches fight over the shoes! Next, she tries bats and frogs. Disaster after silly disaster makes basic rain seem fine. After all, a little rain never hurt anyone. Cute and not scary at all.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Even Monsters Say Good Night.   by Doreen Mulryan Marts Avery doesn’t want to go to bed. She’s worried about the monsters under her bed and in the closet, too. Until her mom explains that monsters sleep in their own beds in their own houses. And Avery isn’t scared anymore. A great way to help calm children’s nighttime fears, don’t you think?

Monster Trucks by Anika Denise, illustrated by Nate Wragg Loud, frightening monster trucks clang, boom, bang before the big race but what a surprise! It’s the Little Blue Bus who beats them all.

One Spooky Night by Kate Stone Cut-out pages overlaid with vellum tell the story of a little monster walking through the woods. There, he sees Halloween-related sights such as hooting owls, grinning pumpkins, and floating ghosts. The effect of the vellum plus dark and yellow colors creates incredible images.

Happy Halloween Witch’s Cat! by Harriet Muncaster What should the Witch’s Cat girl dress up as for Halloween? She and her mom, the good witch, visit a store to find a costume. But nothing seems right until she realizes she could just go as a witch’s cat. Gorgeous illustrative photos of three-dimensional scenes make this extra intriguing.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Fright Club by Ethan Long Fright Club has one last meeting before Halloween and Operation Kiddie Scare. But there’s a problem — cute creatures including a bunny want to join the Fright Club! What will the Fright Club do? We love this funny new Halloween book.

Count down from 10 creepy monsters to 0 in this creepy rhyming book with ghoulish illustrations. Clever and entertaining with scary-ish Halloween illustrations.

Even Monsters Need Haircuts Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott Did you know that that monsters needed haircuts? This boy barber, inspired by his barber dad, spends one night a month giving monsters haircuts –no matter who shows up or what they need! (Think Cyclops, Medusa, and Frankenstein.) Fantastic!

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Peanut Butter Brains: A Zombie Culinary Tale by Joe McGee, illustrated by Charles Santoso Reginald loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — and hopes to convince his fellow zombies that eating pbj is so much better than brains. A good laugh for any zombie lover.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Monster Trouble! by Lane Fredrickson, illustrated by Michael Robertson Winifred isn’t scared of the monsters who visit her bedroom. She loves them and thinks they’re cute. But they are annoying — they interrupt her sleeping and are smelly. She tries everything to get rid of them until she stumbles on the perfect solution — kisses! Monsters hate kisses. Funny!!

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Dining with Monsters! A Disgusting Way to Count to 10!  by Agnese Baruzzi Turn the book sideways to read and lift-the-flaps to see what these horrible monsters eat — 1 spider, 2 frogs, 3 whales. Awesome bold graphic illustrations!

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids Bad Kitty Scaredy Cat by Nick Bruel Bad Kitty didn’t use to be such a scaredy kitty but when one night, frightening creatures appear (An Awful Alien, A Bizarre Bigfoot, A Creepy Clown, . . . ) she becomes very, very scared. But when Kitty sees the candy: Apples, Bubblegum, Candy Corn, Dried Fruit, . . ., her fears go away. Now she’s motivated to Attack the Alien, Batter Bigfoot, Clobber the Clown, and get all the candy for herself. Hilarious alphabetic fun!

Grimelda The Very Messy Witch by Diana Murray, illustrated by Heather Ross Grimelda needs pickle root but must clean her entire house before she can find it. Silly and fun — no scary stuff here.

Just Say Boo! by Susan Hood A good Halloween read-along book for a classroom of kids – where everyone can shout “Boo!” after each question like “If a yip and a yowl make you shiver and scowl, what do you say?” (“Boo!”)

Which are your Halloween Picture Book Favorites?

Halloween Early Chapter Books for Ages 6 – 9

Monster School First Day Frights by Dave Keane Norm’s new school is full of hairy, scary, Larry monsters. But, Norm feels different because he’s not a monster. But, he can turn green like Hilda when she takes him for a wild broom ride. A hilarious, not-at-all-scary I Can Read book.

The Best List of Halloween Books For Kids -- From Sweet to Scary Ava the Monster Slayer by Lisa Maggiore, illustrated by Ross Felten We think Ava rocks! She’s the fierce monster slayer (glasses and all) who braves monsters in her basement to rescue stuffed Piggy. Awesome, don’t you think?

Never Kick a Ghost and Other Silly Chillers (I Can Read Book) by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Pascale Constantin A not-too-scary, silly. spooky stories perfect for early readers! My daughter’s first-grade teacher read this to the whole class and they LOVED it!

Kid-Favorite Halloween Books for All Ages Ghoulia: Making New Friends Can Be Scary by Barbara Cantini Ghoulia wants to make friends. But, she’s a zombie so she’s forbidden to befriend village children or else their family will be cast out of the village. When she overhears the children talking about Halloween, Ghoulia realizes she can join in with the celebrations, too. The children are impressed by her costume until Ghoulia pulls off her head. Shocked, all they can do is stare. And stare. Until they shot with joy — they love it and promise to keep her family’s secret. Full-color, charming illustrations give this story tons of personality.

Invisible Inkling Dangerous Pumpkins by Emily Jenkins Invisible Inkling is an invisible bandapat that lives with 4th grader Hank and who LOVES to eat pumpkins. Unfortunately, Inkling destroys the pumpkins that Hank’s sister is entering in the Dangerous Pumpkins contest. Of course, Hank gets blamed. Will things work out for Hank and Inkling? We sure hope so!

Mr. Pants:  Trick or Feet! by Scott Mccormick, illustrated by R. H. Lazzell We’re huge fans of the hilarious Mr. Pants graphic novels for beginning readers — this is the third book in the series. In this story, Mr. Pants and his sisters are stuck at the airport on Halloween. Boring, right? It’s up to Mr. Pants to figure out how to make the holiday fun happen no matter where they are.

Wow– do we love this Halloween book! The author not only has fun Halloween food and craft ideas but great photographs, a poster, stencils, and a page of stickers as well. My 10-year-old has dog-eared the pages she wants to do –um, almost all of them. Here’s our to-do list o’ fun so far:

Creepy Chocolate Spiders

Meringue Bones

Chocolate Tombstone Cakes

Brilliant Broomsticks (paper bags, rope, sticks)

Chocolate Licorice Broomsticks

Pin the Nose on the Jack-O’-Lantern

Spiderweb Pumpkin Soup

Frankenstein Fizz

Believe it or not, I sat down and read this book straight through, having intended to skim it. It was fascinating! It’s more about history than spookiness. I learned more about the Tower of London, tips for attacking a castle, the crazy King Ludwig II of Bavaria, The Bastille, and lots more. I highly recommend this can’t-put-it-down book!

See all my scary, spooky, creepy chapter book recommendations here.


Book Character Halloween Costumes book character costume ideas

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