Member Sandra K. Lee has written in with several fun recommendations for little trick-or-treaters and their parents this fall. Thanks Sandra!

Child in Snoopy Costume
© Sandra K. Lee


Alpha Oops! H is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis is a wonderful combination of learning the alphabet and basic concepts of Halloween (in a non-scary way). The colorful cartoons of playful mummies and ghosts – and letters – will be fun for older toddlers through elementary-school children.

Porkenstein is a clever Halloween story about Dr. Smart Pig, the surviving brother of Three Little Pigs fame who creates a porky friend. Young children will like Kathryn Lasky’s story and the brightly colored pictures while older kids and parents will enjoy the pigs’ revenge on the big, bad wolf.

The Little Scarecrow Boy is one of those “oldies,” originally written by Margaret Wise Brown in the 1940s, about a little scarecrow boy who wants to be a scary scarecrow just like his father. But the little scarecrow boy is too young and needs to grow, says his father. It’s a cute story that any toddler or preschooler who insists they’re “big enough” will relate to and the illustrations by David Diaz are colorful and imaginative.

Another older classic tale is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy the repeated “clomp, clomp” of the shoes, the “wiggle, wiggle” of the pants and other clothes that follow the old lady. Young children might even enjoy acting out those parts. It’s a story with a spooky element but not scary for the young ones.

Preschoolers and early school-age children will enjoy Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler and In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting, which introduce classic Halloween themes in a fun way. In the first book, the skeleton tries several ways to cure his hiccups until he scares himself with - what else? – his own reflection, of course. Bunting’s rhyming tale of the haunted house with colorful pictures of vampires and ghosts will entertain without the scare factor.

Two books that feature one of the best parts of Halloween, Trick-or-Treating, are featured by Linda Hoffman Kimball and Robert Munsch. Kimball’s Come with Me on Halloween introduces first-timers and reminds youngsters about the spooky elements of Halloween and trick-or-treating but the rhyming tale reassures kids that everything is okay. “Never fear, you’ve got me near,” says Daddy in the book. Munsch’s Boo! is a creative book for older preschoolers and school-age children and the story is one many current and former trick-or-treaters can identify with.

Miss Fiona’s Stupendous Pumpkin Pies by Mark Kimball Moulton is geared for preschoolers but some toddlers, who can sit still longer, may enjoy the rhyme and the beautiful “country-style” illustrations. Sometimes the cadence of the rhymes stalls a little, but young readers will be forgiving as the story of the green-skinned witch who bakes pies for the neighborhood each Halloween is entertaining.
Halloween Nights, Twenty-One Spooktacular Poems by Charles Ghigna is a great way to get into the Halloween mood, especially for those with short attention spans (of any age). First graders and older will likely get the most out of this book but some children in preschool and kindergarten might like some of the poems.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is an interesting narrative for older kids that weaves the origin of various Halloween traditions with the practices of various countries and times with the plot of a group of boys trying to rescue their friend from something. There are spooky elements and the book does deal with death and loss but not in a scary way and the characters often seem more thrilled than truly frightened by their experiences so this story should be fine for most older grade school children. However, those in high school and even adults would be educated and entertained.

For more recommended Halloween books, check out Sandra’s other review on childrenswritersguild.org and her personal website.