Inside: Halloween is the perfect holiday for starting a tradition of books and Read-a-Loud fun. Here are some fun and entertaining Halloween books to add to your family’s collection. Check out these great Halloween books with your family!
“Witches’ brooms don’t last forever. They grow old, and even the best of them, one day lose the power of flight… On very rare occasions, however, a broom can lose its power without warning, and fall, with its passenger, to the earth below … which is just what happened one cold autumn night many years ago.”
So begins The Widow’s Broom, a charming and enchanting book and a perfect Halloween read.
Great Halloween Books
Halloween is right around the corner—that delightful, pagan holiday filled with witches, haunted houses, bobbing for apples, costumes, and trick-or-treating. But the best part of the holiday is creating a family tradition of “Read-Aloud-Fun” with Halloween books.
Have you ever read the book, The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg (think Polar Express and Jumanji)? It’s one of the best Halloween books ever written for kids of all ages. It’s suspenseful, fun, intriguing and helps to develop kids’ thinking skills. It’s everything you want in a book–especially a Halloween book!
The Widow’s Broom is not your typical Halloween book with colorful black, orange, purple and green pictures of pumpkins and fanciful goblins and such—no siree!—this book is created with sepia tone illustrations that make you feel that there really are such things as ghouls, flying brooms, and the Salem witch trials.
The Widow’s Broom: A Spooky Halloween Read
Lonely widow Minna Shaw finds a wounded witch who has fallen from the sky and has landed in her vegetable garden. Strangely, the witch disappears before dawn but leaves her broom behind. Minna begins to use it around the house and finds that “it was no better or worse than brooms she’d used before.”
One morning, Minna wakes up to see the broom sweeping by itself! She is surprised but also delighted because now she has someone to help with the household chores. She trains the broom to chop wood and fetch water.
But, when the neighbors find out about this “wicked, wicked thing,” they confront Widow Shaw and demand that the broom is burned.
Here’s where it gets suspenseful:
Are the narrow-minded neighbors successful in separating the lonely widow and her hard-working, sweeping friend?
Does the broom get burned into useless splinters of charred wood?
Van Allsburg is a master storyteller and his illustrations are mesmerizing. It is an engaging book and your child will have to “read between the lines” to figure out the attention-grabbing and clever deceit of lonely widow Minna Shaw on the townsfolk.
Choosing Halloween Books to Read
Make a goal to have a Halloween tradition of reading books to your children throughout the month of October. Books that center around Halloween–fun books and ones your children and teens will remember throughout their lives. Start early in the month. Read aloud every book you can borrow or buy about this spooky holiday. Libraries and bookstores will have their displays up before October 1, with lots of great books to pick from.
When choosing Halloween books, determine the “scare factor,” of your children. Consider these two things:
- The ages of your children
- Their level of handling scary stories
When you’ve determined those two things, you will have a wide variety of Halloween books to choose from. Here’s a breakdown by age:
Halloween Books for Kids ages 1-4
For younger kids, (ages 1-4 years old) go with fun Halloween stories such as:
- Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds
- Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
- Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell
- At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman
- Halloween Hustle by Charlotte Gunnufson
- The Spooky Wheels on the Bus by J. Elizabeth Mills
- Skeletons ARE NOT Spooky by Kaine & Duds
- Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler
These books have entertainment value and are just plain fun to read. Also, think about Halloween books that you loved as a child. Dust off the cobwebs and share those books with your children. Traditions are formed as we pass down from one generation to the next those things we loved.
Warning: little kids love re-runs. Meaning—be prepared to read these books over and over and over again throughout the month.
Halloween Books for Kids ages 5-teen
For older kids (ages 5+) think anything spooky, but also something that whets their creative thinking juices. Our kid’s favorites were:
- When the Clock Strikes on Halloween by Lisa Ferland
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz (and this is the entire scary collection)
- The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg
- Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories by Roald Dahl
- Halloween Stories Bundle by Uncle Amon
Remember: anything that gets kids thinking and/or problem-solving is a 5-star book. And these are all 5-star books.
A Halloween Poetry Book & Memorization
If you’re looking for an entertaining Halloween poetry book, check out Jack Prelutsky’s “It’s Halloween.” This is probably the best poetry book on the topic of Halloween on the market. His poems are funny, entertaining, and easy to memorize. Add this to your family’s collection of Halloween books–it will become a favorite for sure.
Since memorization has become a lost art, take some time as a family to memorize his poems and then recite them at the dinner table throughout the month.
Set the Mood: 4 Ideas
But wait! Since you are reading Halloween books, setting the tone and the mood is a must for creating the best Halloween reading experience ever! Check out these four ideas:
4 Ways to Set the Mood for Reading Halloween Books:
#1. Read at Night
Read to your kids at night. Read to them in their beds with the covers pulled up tight!
#2. Turn off the Lights
Either turn off the lights or turn down the lights. Give everyone a flashlight. Flash the lights on the ceiling for an eerie glow.
#3. Eat Something Sweet & Salty
There’s nothing like eating and reading! Indulge in some sweet and salty treats while reading under the covers. Salted caramel popcorn and root beer are always favorites. And don’t worry about crumbs…that’s what handheld vacuums are for.
#4. Play Halloween Music (3 Favorites)
Top off the experience with scary Halloween music playing quietly in the background. Think of it as the ultimate mood enhancer!
Some CD favorites are:
- Scary Halloween Sounds and Spooky Sound Effects
- Martha Stewart Living: Spooky Scary Sounds for Halloween
- The Halloween Haunted House CD: Spooky Eerie Music Mixed with Super-Scary Sound Effects
Also, play Halloween CDs on the night of Halloween. Have the music blaring outside for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy.
Kids love Halloween!
Kids of all ages love Halloween. It’s dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, parties galore, and eating more sugar than your body can handle. You can make it one of your kids most memorable holidays by choosing fun Halloween books to read year after year.
Get started now. Those Halloween books are just dying to be read!
If you’re a parent who doesn’t like Halloween or reading stories about scary mythical creatures and goblins, check out my blog on the importance of enchantment in a child’s life. Children need enchantment in their lives. Please trust me on this and put aside your concerns for now and embrace this holiday in all its’ fun terror.