Here’s a sweet idea to celebrate Halloween that doesn’t involve sugar galore: Grab some flashlights, gather your family, cozy up, turn off the lights…and open up one of these great Halloween books. Fear not: Even kids who are wary of Halloween’s scarier side will find a story on this list that won’t make them fret.
1. Bean’s Night
By Sarah Hines-Stephen
This sweet story about a little black cat that runs chases strings, and hides give parents plenty of opportunities to act out action words for curious toddlers.
2. Ghosts in the House!
By Kazuno Kohara
There’s nothing overly scary about this adorable ghost story, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book in 2008. The heroine is a girl witch who knows just what to do with a home full of ghosts: wash them and turn them into curtains!
3. I Love Fall!
A Touch-and-Feel Board Book by Alison Inches, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata
Infants will enjoy listening to the rhymes about the change of season while also using their hands to explore some of the textures of fall.
4. I’m Looking for a Monster
By Timothy Young
Nothing quite says Halloween like a pop-up book featuring—what else—monsters! Small hands will love lifting flaps, turning wheels, and pulling tabs in search of the perfect monster.
5. Creepy Carrots
By Aaron Reynolds
Are the carrots in the Crackenhopper field following Jasper Rabbit? Or does Jasper Rabbit simply have an overactive imagination? A 2012 Caldecott Honor Book, Creepy Carrots features the beautiful (and yes, creepy) work of celebrated artist Peter Brown. Note that, although this book is about carrots, it is in fact a bit scary.
6. Where’s My Mummy?
By Carolyn Crimi
Like many human children, this little mummy doesn’t want to go to bed: He just wants to play one more game of hiding and shriek. Somehow, this book manages to make monsters adorable.
7. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
By Linda Williams
The little old lady of the book’s title takes a walk in a dark forest and finds a series of spookily animated objects following her home: shoes that go clomp, clomp; pants that go wiggle, wiggle; and gloves that go clap, clap. Children will love making the sounds—as well as the heroine’s pluck and imagination.
8. Shake Dem Halloween Bones
By Mike Reed
The city is dark and quiet. As the lights go down, the music starts up, and costumed guests arrive at the hip-hop Halloween ball! Told in rhyming text, your little one will love rapping, stomping, shaking along with the characters in this Halloween romp.