Halloween is a holiday that offers something for everyone: costumes, tricks and treats, and a sense of magic in the air. Here is a selection of HMH's best Halloween books for kids to help them understand and celebrate the holiday in the classroom!
Halloween Picture Books
Hooray for Halloween Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey
Young children will be soothed about any Halloween scariness by experiencing it with a classic favorite character, Curious George, in this Halloween read-aloud book.
Little Blue Truck’s Halloween by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Little Blue Truck is picking up all his friends in their costumes to go to a Halloween party, but Blue doesn’t have a costume of his own. Or does he?
Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat by Eileen Christelow
In this Halloween storytime book, the five little monkeys are going trick-or-treating with their favorite babysitter, Lulu. Once they meet up with their friends, they decide to play a trick on Lulu—but as usual their monkey business only ends up tricking themselves.
Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple
The sheep are worried about going trick-or-treating. What if there are wolves lurking in the woods, hoping to pounce on them as they return home with bags full of goodies? Their adventure is told through Shaw’s fun rhymes and Apple’s delightful illustrations.
The Witches' Supermarket by Susan Meddaugh
On Halloween night, Helen and her dog Martha, reluctantly costumed as a cat, enter a mysterious supermarket for witches and cats only. What will happen if the manager realizes they aren’t what they claim to be while dressed in their costumes? This was the first appearance of Martha the dog before she ate the alphabet soup that allowed her to speak to and delight readers and television viewers.
The Bats series, by Brian Lies: Bats at the Ballgame, Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, and Bats in the Band
Although none of the books in this series are about Halloween specifically, bats are such an integral part of Halloween imagery that these delightful books belong in any Halloween celebration. They can appeal to all children and may even make those who find bats a bit scary change their minds!
More Halloween Children's Books
Witches are essential to Halloween, and because they have roots in history, they make wonderful book characters. Some of HMH’s classic Halloween books are about witches and their power.
The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg (Pre-K–Grade 3)
When a witch’s broom unexpectedly stops functioning and the witch falls into a widow’s field, she leaves the broom behind and takes off with a friend. The broom retains some magic, however, and helps the widow with her chores. The widow triumphs in this tale told with Van Allsburg’s beautiful but slightly macabre drawings.
The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone (Grades 2–5)
Two 7-year-old girls spend their afternoons drawing and telling each other stories about a family of witches who live on top of a glass hill. There's also a mermaid and a buzzing spelling bee in this delightful story of make-believe, originally published in 1960.
Bed-Knob and Broomstick by Mary Norton (Grades 2–5)
This edition brings together Mary Norton’s two books (The Magic Bed-Knob from 1943 and Bonfires and Broomsticks from 1947) that were made into a Disney movie starring Angela Lansbury in 1971. The story involves three children, an apprentice witch, and a flying bed.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Grades 5–7)
Speare’s book, which won the John Newbery Medal in 1959, is not about a magical witch but rather explores a historical time period when independent women were often deemed witches. It’s the story of an orphaned 16-year-old girl who arrives in Connecticut in 1687 to join the family of her aunt, whom she has never met. Already regarded with suspicion by the villagers, she becomes friends with another outsider who is believed to be a witch, leading her to face an ethical dilemma.
We hope this list of spooky books for Halloween will help you celebrate the holiday in your classroom as your students come to class dressed in costume and eagerly await trick-or-treating. Happy Halloween to you and your students.
For more ways to celebrate Halloween with your students, read: