Halloween Books to Give You the Spooks!

Article by marycatherine

For some kids, when it comes to Halloween, the scarier the better. For others, it’s an excuse to load up on candy and enjoy fall weather in costume. For me, the spookiest holiday marks the month every year in which I rant about every business that insists on using spiders as decoration--why is it okay to cover your establishment in the most terrifying creatures of all time?!--but that’s neither here nor there. 


On to the books. We’ve compiled some of our staff’s favorite Halloweeny reads for kids! For all these plus costume pump-uppers, activities, and ghoulish trinkets, come and haunt the kids room for a while sometime soon. 

Nightmares! Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385744256
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - September 9th, 2014

This is the first in a trilogy by Kirsten Miller and, yes, that Jason Segel, of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER fame, among other cool, hilarious things. It’s no surprise then that his first book for middle grade readers is SO MUCH FUN! It’s got super cool illustrations and a story that is just funny enough and just scary enough to fall in a perfectly spooky sweet spot. The story follows Charlie, who just moved into a new house with his dad, stepmom, and younger brother. As you may have guessed, the house is sinister and fills his sleep with nightmares both silly and creepy. He then goes on an adventure exploring the Netherworld, the Land of Nightmares, and a host of creatures you’ve never dreamt of. A great, fun read! --Mary-Catherine

Little Red Riding Hood Cover Image
By Brothers Grimm, Sybille Schenker (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9789888240791
Availability: Backordered
Published: minedition - October 1st, 2014

Behold the wonders of laser die-cutting! Technically this book has words, but I don’t know why anyone would bother reading them. The incredible, intricate pictures steal the show. Delicate cut-outs show Grandma and Little Red and--my favorite--the woodsmen shearing open the wolf with a giant pair of scissors. So creepy! So wonderful! --Brooke

The Witch's Boy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616203511
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 16th, 2014

I sat down to read a chapter or two of this book and looked up 150 pages later in a daze! Wow. This is an amazing achievement and one of many middle grade books coming out these days that are complex and engaging picks for kids, teens and adults alike. Barnhill draws on folklore, tales of ancient magic, and the always alluring themes of twinship to weave together the story of Ned, a twin and son of the only witch in a small, isolated village. When his brother dies in an accident he survives, he loses his voice and struggles to engage with townspeople who insist that he was the wrong boy to save. Meanwhile, miles away in the forest, Aira’s mother’s last words are that the “wrong boy” will save her life and she will save his, so when her bandit father goes deeper into the darkness of his own magic, she sets a plan in motion that eventually involves Ned and the fate of two warring kingdoms. This story is earthy, dark without being too scary, and a beautifully crafted tale of family and friendship. I loved it! --Mary-Catherine

The Girl from the Well Cover Image
ISBN: 9781402292187
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sourcebooks Fire - August 5th, 2014

This chilling, beautiful ghost story, told by the ghost herself, will keep you up late racing to the finish—but don’t worry, you’ll be able to sleep when you’re done! Okiku is the worst nightmare of the guilty: she’s an onryuu, a ghost, who frees the spirits of murdered children by extracting horrible vengeance on their killers. But for the first time in three hundred years, she finds herself breaking from her habits when a tattooed boy with evil trapped in his skin and his kind, brave cousin draw her attention. Okiku’s story is definitely not for the faint of heart (be careful if you find gruesome imagery squicky), but if you can stand the shivers, this book’s phenomenal writing will give you chills of a totally different kind. This gorgeously written story reads like poetry--Okiku sees everything, and her voice is both as wise as her years would make her and as passionate as the teen she once was. A must-read for horror fans! --Liz

The Witch of Blackbird Pond Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547550299
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - January 10th, 2011

Okay, maybe this is not officially a spooky, scary book but there is a brief incident involving Jack-o-Lanterns on All Hallow’s Eve that lands Nat in the stocks. Kit’s story of life in the early American colonies (plus friendship, plus romance) is a perfect fall read. I think they might even gather apples or shuck corn at some point. A great choice for fans of historical fiction. Spent enough time with Laura Ingalls Wilder? Meet Kit Tyler, young, feisty and potentially a witch. --Brooke

Through the Woods Cover Image
By Emily Carroll, Emily Carroll (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781442465961
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - July 15th, 2014

This season’s scariest graphic novel tells four seriously eerie tales in startling black, white and red. What’s most creepy here isn’t what’s seen, but what is left unseen and unsaid just off the edge of the page. I still think about one particular image from the novel, not because it was terribly graphic, but because it was weird and unsettling in a way my usual books are not. A beautiful achievement that just might keep teens up at night...to read just one more page, if not because of nightmares. --Mary-Catherine

Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep Cover Image
By Jack Prelutsky, Arnold Lobel (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780688840532
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - August 1st, 1976

This collection of frightening verse for children by the always awesome Prelutsky is single-handedly responsible for engendering my love of poetry. In fact, I love it so much, I've had the same copy since 1989. But more than that, these poems are truly chilling! NIGHTMARES is filled with memorable, blood-curdling odes to goblins, vampires, trolls, will-o'-the-wisps, and other things that go bump in the night. And the intricate black-and-white illustrations by Arnold Lobel that accompany each poem make this the perfect book for parents and children to share as you huddle together in the dark and scare yourselves silly! ---Keaton

Quake with fear and laugh until you cry with the delightfully spooky stories of BUNNICULA, a vampire rabbit who drains vegetables dry, and his family: Chester the high-strung cat, Harold the loyal dog, and Howie, the (maybe a werewolf?) Dachshund puppy. Filled with references to classics like Poe and Shakespeare, this series is the perfect read for a budding horror fan! --Liz

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