Books for Kids: 12 Halloween Releases

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We carve pumpkins, plan costumes, and decorate our front porch for trick-or-treaters but one of our favourite ways to get ready for Halloween in our home is to read a few themed books. Sometimes the book focuses on Halloween while other times it just deals with haunting ghosts, scary monsters and maybe a zombie or two. Here are twelve great books to share with your kids to get into the Halloween spirit.

Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
By Nina Laden
22 pages
age 0-3
Board Book


Synopsis from Raincoast Books:

In this third title in Nina Laden’s Peek-a series, the classic game of peekaboo becomes spookily fun! Colorful pictures and lively, rhyming text-featuring bats, jack-o’-lanterns, and ghosts galore-help children predict what is peeking through die-cut windows. Read the clue… guess the rhyme… giggle wildly… and repeat!

Even the smallest family member can get into the Halloween spirit with Peek-a-BOO. This simple “Peek-a” rhyme explores elements of the holiday season in a fun interactive way. Kids can guess what is on the next page by peeking through the cutout windows and the last page has a nice surprise.

You can find a copy of Peek-a-BOO from Raincoast Books or your local bookstore.


My First Halloween

DK Canada
34 pages
age 0-3
Board Book


We have a number of DK Canada’s “My First…” books in our collection based around the holidays. My First Halloween helps young kids create an association with the words and images they see during Halloween. It’s also a great way to help ease a child’s fears that might develop this time of year. These types of books can help address that Halloween elements are just for fun and not meant to scare you.

You can find a copy of My First Halloween from DK Canada or your local bookstore.


Pete the Cat. Five Little Pumpkins

Harper/Harper Collins Canada
By James Dean
22 pages
age 3-5


Synopsis from Harper Collins Canada:

Pete the Cat takes on the classic favorite children’s song “Five Little Pumpkins” in New York Times bestselling author James Dean’s Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins. Join Pete as he rocks out to this cool adaptation of the classic Halloween song!

Your kids are probably familiar with the Halloween hand game Five Little Pumpkins. Now they can recite the sing-song verse with their favourite feline Pete the Cat. This cat has celebrated a few holidays in print, including the Pete the Cat Saves Christmas in last year’s holiday book countdown calendar.

You can find a copy of Pete the Cat. Five Little Pumpkins from Harper Collins Canada or your local bookstore.


The Fun Book of Scary Stuff

Farrar Straus Giroux/Raincoast Books
By Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Hyewon Yum
32 pages
age 3-5

Kids Book Review Halloween Fun Book Scary Stuff (1)

Synopsis from Raincoast Books:

There are lots of frightening things out there. Witches. Trolls. Sharks. The DARK! But nothing seems as scary once you turn on the light. In this hilarious picture book, a boy and his two dogs go through a list of all the things, both real and imagined, that make the hair on the backs of their necks stand on end – and come up with a clever way to face their fears.

Halloween can bring out a lot of scary sights, like the giant scary witch displays, spooky costumes, and eerie pumpkin carvings. Talking about what makes you scared can help address those fears. That’s what the child in The Fun Book of Scary Stuff does, sharing all those scary things with his brave dogs. It’s not until he sees his dogs scared and reassures them that he discovers his ability to deal with his fears.

You can find a copy of The Fun Book of Scary Stuff from Raincoast Books or your local bookstore.


Love Monster & the Scary Something

Harper Collins Canada
By Rachel Bright
32 pages
age 3-5, 5-8


Synopsis from Harper Collins:

A hair-raisingly funny and deliciously spooky new title in this monster hit series! It’s way past bedtime o’clock in Cutesville and Love Monster is the only one who’s wide awake… Or is he? As the sounds of the night make his imagination run wild… will he be brave enough to stare his fears straight in the googly eye? A heart-poppingly empowering, edge-of the-bed story, about how, sometimes, it’s only when we face our fears, that we find out there was nothing to be scared of, after all.

Halloween can cause a child’s imagination to run wild. That shadow of your housecoat looks like a ghost and the noise by your window sounds like a monster. That’s the same thing that happened to Love Monster in Love Monster & the Scary Something. Sometimes things aren’t what our mind leads us to believe as was the case with the spooky, scary noises in Love Monster & the Scary Something. A fun book to address a child’s scary imagination.

You can find a copy of Love Monster & the Scary Something from your local bookstore.


Monster Trouble

Sterling Children’s Books
By Lane Fredrickson, illustrated by Michael Robertson
26 pages
age 3-5,5-8


Synopsis from Sterling Children’s Books:

Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel—but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON’T let her be! Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus. Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. What’s a girl to do? (Hint: Monsters HATE kisses!) The delightfully sweet ending will have every kid—and little monster—begging for an encore.

If Halloween conjures up spooky monsters, fearless Winifred has the solution. Monster Trouble is a great way to tackle monster fear without addressing the issue as a child’s weakness. Winifred isn’t afraid of the monsters but she’s tired of being kept up all night by their shinanegans. The message that scary things are afraid of love is a nice touch to dealing with fear and families will appreciate the ethnic diversity with Winifred’s Afro-American background.

You can find a copy of Monster Trouble from Sterling Publishing or your local bookstore.


Dining with Monsters

White Star Kids / Sterling Children’s Books
By Agnese Baruzzi
34 pages
age 3-5


Synopsis from Sterling Children’s Books:

Kids will enjoy this fun feast of a counting book, with 10 colorful creatures and their meals of grasshoppers, scorpions, owls, and prickly porcupines. Foldout pages and simple, humorous rhyming text make this a delight to read aloud.

Why not combining a little Halloween fun with number concepts in Dining With Monsters. Kids will love the crazy monsters that fill the full page but they’ll have a hard time containing themselves when they have to open the monster’s mouth to finish the rhyme and see what’s been eaten. A new page means a new monster and his crazy meal. Learning the numbers from 1 to 10 has never been so spooktac

You can find a copy of Dining With Monsters from Sterling Publishing or your local bookstore.


Zombie in Love 2 + 1

Atheneum Books / Simon & Schuster
By Kelly DiPucchio, illustrations by Scott Campbell
32 pages
age 5-8


Synopsis from Simon & Schuster Books:

Happily married zombie couple Mortimer and Mildred are thrilled to be new parents. But having a baby isn’t what they expected. Sonny hardly ever cries. His teeth are coming in instead of falling out. And worst of all, he’s awake all day and sleeps through the night. Mortimer and Mildred are dead tired, and very worried. Will their precious baby boy ever behave like a good little monster?

I love a book that is just as enjoyable to read as a parent as it is to read to the kids. Zombie in Love 2+1 is just such a book. Parents will enjoy the humour behind a new parent’s worry and kids will love the zombie antics.

You can find a copy of Zombie in Love 2 + 1 from Simon & Schuster or your local bookstore.


Leo a Ghost Story

Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
By Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson
52 pages
age 3-5, 5-8


Synopsis from Raincoast Books:

You would like being friends with Leo. He likes to draw, he makes delicious snacks, and most people can’t even see him. Because Leo is also a ghost. When a new family moves into his home and Leo’s efforts to welcome them are misunderstood, Leo decides it is time to leave and see the world. That is how he meets Jane, a kid with a tremendous imagination and an open position for a worthy knight. That is how Leo and Jane become friends. And that is when their adventures begin.

I have read that children are more open minded in many ways, making it possible for them to see spirits versus adults. That thought and the whole world of imaginary friends makes Leo a Ghost Story an interesting read. This type of ghost story isn’t scary but it may have you thinking twice about your own child’s imaginary friend (or is that a ghost).

You can find a copy of Leo a Ghost Story from Raincoast Books or your local bookstore.


The Elevator Ghost

Groundwood Books/ House of Anansi Press
By Glen Huser, illustrated by Stacy Innerst
168 pages
age 5-8, 8-12


Synopsis from Groundwood Books:

When Carolina Giddle moves into the Blatchford Arms, no one knows what to make of her sequin-sprinkled sneakers and her trinket-crusted car. But the parents are happy there’s a new babysitter around, and Carolina seems to have an uncanny ability to calm the most rambunctious child with her ghostly stories. Armed with unusual snacks (bone-shaped peppermints, granghoula bars and Rumpelstiltskin sandwiches), candles to set the mood, and her trusty sidekick — a tarantula named Chiquita, Carolina entertains the children with some good old-fashioned storytelling and, at the end, a great Halloween party.

Ghost stories are perfect to share around Halloween, whether it’s reading them or telling them as in The Elevator Ghost. This story consists of mini ghosts stories shared by Caroline Giddle to different children she cares for in the apartment building. Each chapter is like its own contained story, great for kids looking for a longer read with breaks. The few black and white sketches add to the tales told but they’re really not needed. The Elevator Ghost reminds me how entertaining a good story can be for kids and after reading this chapter book you may want to host your own ghost story party.

You can find a copy of The Elevator Ghost from Groundwood Books or your local bookstore.


The Blackthorn Key

Simon & Schuster Canada
By Kevin Sands
112 pages
age 8-12


Synopsis from Simon & Schuster Canada:

Following a series of murders, an apothecary’s apprentice must solve puzzles and decipher codes in pursuit of a secret that could destroy the world in this suspenseful debut novel. “Tell no one what I’ve given you.” Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way. But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.

This historical mystery gives you a peek into life during the 17th century as we join Christopher in his apprenticeship. After writing a post for Melissa & Doug on secret codes for kids, we’ve been a little obsessed with code and code breaking. Blackthorn Key‘s incorporation of codes, puzzles, and secret societies is what enticed us to read the story. Add to that a slew of grisly serial murders and you have a perfect suspenseful read for your tween this Halloween.

You can find a copy of The Blackthorn Key from Simon & Schuster Canada or your local bookstore.


The Ghost Prison

Sourcebooks/Raincoast Books
By Joseph Delaney, illustrated by Scott M. Fischer
112 pages
age 13-18


Synopsis from Raincoast Books:

Fifteen-year-old Billy guards a castle prison. But it isn’t just criminals he’s guarding-the ghosts of executed prisoners haunt the place. When Billy is given the task of feeding the prisoner in The Witch Well, a ghost named Long-Neck Netty decides to play a trick on Billy during the feeding… a trick that couldcost Billy his life.

Halloween reads aren’t just for little kids. Sometimes our big kids want a good scare too and the novella The Ghost Prison will certainly delivery. These ghosts aren’t cute and friendly like Leo. These ghosts are tormented souls with foul dispositions. Beware there is reference to witches and an offspring of the Devil. The black and white sketches add to this eerie tale that will keep your young reader turning pages right up until the twisted end.

You can find a copy of The Ghost Prison from Raincoast Books or your local bookstore.

Additional Reading: The Haunting of Heck House.

Do you have a favourite Halloween read in your home? Share it in the comments below so we can add to our collection and be sure to visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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