Halloween Tales!

Staff PicksSouthwest Library

Halloween Tales!

Not-so-spooky chapter books for kids

Halloween is my favorite time of year. I spend the month of October reading spooky stories to get ready for the season. But spooky books aren't just for adults. There have been some excellent ones written for children. Here are some that are just the right level of scary for your young reader.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
A group of boys intend to go trick-or-treating. However, they soon discover that one of their friends has been carried off on a journey through time. They must travel back with the mysterious Moundshroud in an attempt to save their friend, Pipkin. They visit A Day of the Dead festival in Mexico and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Medieval Paris.  Along the way, they learn many myths and legends that contribute to the origin of Halloween. But will it be enough to save their friend?

The Boy of a Thousand Faces by Brian Selznick
Alonzo has always loved monsters. Perhaps it’s because he was born on Halloween. His house is haunted, he talks with the dead, and he knows more about horror films than can be good for him. But, none of this prepares him for the arrival of the Beast. Hopefully, he can solve the mystery of the thing that is stalking his town.

It’s Halloween, I’m Turning Green by Dan Gutman
The My Weird School series is a popular one, and this special volume is a prime example of why. One of the kids in school attempts to eat a million hundred pounds of candy. But it’s hard to eat all your Halloween candy when a monster steals it first.

Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Herdman kids cause chaos every Halloween. They steal candy and spray-paint other kids. The Mayor has finally had enough and decides to cancel Halloween. While it solves the Herdman problem, it also means no candy and no costumes for anyone. Could the holiday’s worst enemy become its greatest hope?

Halloween Howls: spooky sounds, stories & songs
This book is a collection of spooky and silly stories, songs, and sound effects. The accompanying CD features some of the stories read out loud, as well as the aforementioned spooky sound effects.

Attack of the Jack-o'-Lanterns & other Goosebumps books by R. L. Stine
The Goosebumps series needs no introduction. Stine has mastered the art of being just scary enough for your young reader. Here is one Halloween entry to his massive juvenile horror collection. Two kids plan a prank. Their plan involves scary pumpkin heads. But the pumpkins are a little too scary and a little too real. Then the pumpkin heads begin to speak.

No Trick-or-Treating! : superscary superspecial by P.J. Night
What is the scariest Halloween you could imagine? How about no trick-or-treating? That is just what Ashley discovers in her new hometown. But, maybe there is a reason Halloween has been forbidden here.  When Ashley invites friends over, they go trick-or-treating anyway and soon discover that everything seems much more real; in fact, a little too real. 

Haunted!: the Scary Life of David Mortimore Baxter by Karen Tayleur
David’s neighbor is missing and has been for several days. Now there is a stranger in the house! David must now find out if the town ghost known as the Shadow Man is living next door to him.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
A series of three spooky books featuring folklore and urban legends that are not too scary. The illustrations were more horrifying than the stories in many cases. In 2011, the books were re-issued with new, not so scary illustrations, much to the dismay of fans of the original artwork. Depending on which version you want, Stephen Gammell’s illustrations are the scary ones, and Brett Helquist’s are not as scary. The stories include such classics as hook hand, the babysitter who gets a call from inside the house, and the woman who always wears a green ribbon around her neck. Some stories are scary, some are funny, and some are a combination of the two.

The Halloween Party by Lonzo Anderson
Faraday Folsum encounters a forest party of witches, ogres, and gremlins on her way to a Halloween party. She manages to not be dumped into a stew pot by quickly inventing her own spell and flying off on a friendly broomstick.

The Creeps. 3, Curse of the attack-o-lanterns by Chris Schweizer
The school misfits are collectively known by students and administrators alike as the Creeps. The Creeps receive a novel punishment called “service detention”. This involves removing pumpkins from a foreclosed pumpkin patch. Afterwards, the sheriff allows each of them to keep a pumpkin. Wouldn’t you know the old pumpkin farm was run by a witch and the pumpkins are cursed? When they are carved, the jack-o-lanterns come alive. And they aren’t here for tea.