I keep lists of all of our favorite books for each season and holiday. Each year, I find a few new gems that I like to share here. Here is the list of our favorite not-too-spooky picture books for Halloween.
Big Pumpkin – The witch has grown the biggest pumpkin ever, and now she wants to make herself a pumpkin pie for Halloween. But the pumpkin is so big she can’t get it off the vine. It’s so big the ghost can’t move it, either. Neither can the vampire, nor the mummy. It looks as if there’ll be no pumpkin pie for Halloween, until along comes the bat with an idea to save the day. How can the tiny bat succeed where bigger and strong spooky creatures have failed? You’ll be surprised!
A Dark, Dark Tale – “Once upon a time there was dark, dark moor. On the moor there was a dark, dark wood. In the wood there was a dark, dark house”. Young listeners will be kept on the edge of their seats as the journey continues up dark stairways through hidden passages, around sharp corners and behind windblown curtains. ”
The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin – A fat little, round little, yellow little pumpkin dreams of growing up to be fierce and frightening, just like the scarecrow in the field. Then one day in autumn, he unexpectedly gets the chance for his dream to come true, and the fierce yellow pumpkin becomes terrific and terrible! An enchanting tale from the author of Goodnight Moon.
Five Little Pumpkins – Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate. The first one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late.” Get ready for some wicked fun as these five pumpkins run and roll! Toddlers will want to chant along with this popular rhyme again and again. Dan Yaccarino’s vibrant and bold illustrations bring these pumpkins to life with personality and style. Toddlers are sure to laugh out loud as these pumpkins roll out of sight!
Happy Halloween, Witch’s Cat! – A little girl believes her mother is a good witch, and she is a special witch’s cat. Together, they’re out to find the perfect Halloween costume. But what could be better than being a witch’s cat? To create the whimsical world of Witch’s Cat, author-illustrator Harriet Muncaster handcrafted miniature three-dimensional scenes using paper, foil, fabric, and other materials, then photographed them for a truly magical look. Readers will love discovering all the dazzling, tiny details in the charming world Muncaster has created. With plenty of witchy magic and sparkle, this not-too-spooky story is a Halloween treat that will be enjoyed throughout the year.
In the Haunted House – Four sneakered feet, two large and two small, tiptoe through a house chock-full of otherworldly creatures–a vampire, ghosts and a mummy, among others–in Bunting’s second Halloween excursion. Like her Scary, Scary Halloween (which was illustrated by Jan Brett), this book features comically creepy rhymes (“Who’s in the closet, dark as a tomb / Rattling his bones in the gloom-gloomy-gloom?”), a small, built-in mystery (how can such a haunted house be real ?) and a cheery surprise at the end (the owner of the big feet has been more frightened by the weird goings-on than has his little partner). Meddaugh’s illustrations strike a nice balance between scary and silly, and include lots of rewards for observant readers: parents and art-wise children may note a homage to Picasso on one page. All in all, this winning addition to the Halloween bookshelf is sure to prompt as many giggles and shivers as the holiday itself.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything – Once upon a time, there was a little old lady who was not afraid of anything! But one autumn night, while walking in the woods, the little old lady heard . . . clomp, clomp, shake, shake, clap, clap. And the little old lady who was not afraid of anything had the scare of her life!
Los Gatos Black on Halloween – Follow los monstruos and los esqueletos to the Halloween party. Under October’s luna, full and bright, the monsters are throwing a ball in the Haunted Hall. Las brujas come on their broomsticks. Los muertos rise from their coffins to join in the fun. Los esqueletos rattle their bones as they dance through the door. And the scariest creatures of all aren’t even there yet! This lively bilingual Halloween poem introduces young readers to a spooky array of Spanish words that will open their ojos to the chilling delights of the season.
Mousekin’s Golden House – A whitefoot mouse makes a home for the winter in a jack-o’-lantern discarded after Halloween.
Mrs. McMurphy’s Pumpkin – One morning, a few days before Halloween, Mrs. McMurphy wakes up to find a large pumpkin by her front door. “My mouth is here. I speak to you. When my teeth are here, I’ll eat you!” it says with a mischievous grin. Unafraid, Mrs. McMurphy politely places the threatening squash outside. But day after day the pumpkin returns to make good on its promise!
Pumpkin Jack – The first pumpkin Tim ever carved was fierce and funny, and he named it Jack. When Halloween was over and the pumpkin was beginning to rot, Tim set it out in the garden and throughout the weeks he watched it change.
Pumpkin Moonshine – It’s almost Halloween and little Sylvie Ann has found the biggest, fattest pumpkin. But before she can carve it into a giant, crooked-toothed pumpkin moonshine (or jack-o’Iantern), she has to get it home.
Pumpkin Pumpkin – Jamie plants a pumpkin seed in the spring and, after watching it grow all summer, carves a face in it for Halloween! But best of all, he saves some seeds that he will plant again next spring.
Pumpkin Trouble – Duck wants to carve a jack-o-lantern, but he falls into the pumpkin and gets stuck. Unfortunately, his friends now think he is a monster. Can they figure things out before Halloween?
Room on the Broom – The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom. But is there room on the broom for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?
Scary, Scary Halloween – Two green eyes shine in the night sky and someone whispers, “I peer outside, there’s something there/ that makes me shiver, spikes my hair./ It must be Halloween.” As the unnamed narrator looks on, a skeleton, a ghost, a vampire, a werewolf, witches, goblins, gremlins, a devil and a mummy pass by. The monsters are in fact children dressed up in Halloween costumes, but Brett’s pictures are deliciously scary.
Too Many Pumpkins – With countless unwelcome pumpkins to deal with, Rebecca Estelle turns disaster into a celebration. One day, years and years later, white-haired Rebecca was busy not eating pumpkins when–SPLAT–a giant pumpkin fell off an overloaded truck and smashed into her yard. She buried the mess so she wouldn’t have to look at it, and, as you might imagine, she witnessed a bumper crop the following fall, “Too Many Pumpkins”.
The Very Best Pumpkin – Growing up on Mimi and Papa’s farm, Peter knows a lot about caring for pumpkins. One summer Peter finds a lonely pumpkin all by itself in the field, and with his tender care, the pumpkin flourishes. By autumn, it’s the very best pumpkin of all, and Peter wants to keep it for himself. But when a young girl shows up at the farm in quest of a perfect pumpkin, will Peter pass on his prized pumpkin and gain a friend?
Do you have any favorite Halloween books that we missed?