The Best Halloween Read Alouds for Kids
How can a book be Halloween themed without being too frightening? For us adults, Halloween-themed books usually fall into the horror genre. Instead, for kids, the book may have some spooky elements, but it's never horror.
Some Halloween book attributes are:
- Well-known characters: witches, ghosts, and vampires
- Halloween activities: pumpkin carving and trick or treating
- Educational: learn about different cultures' approaches to Halloween
The Best Halloween Read Alouds for Kids
An excellent read-aloud book gives plenty of opportunities for interacting with each other. Your preschooler will enjoy all the different voices their parents or grandparents can do. Additionally, books that include questions the little one will be able to answer are helpful steps toward read-aloud bliss.
Some of my favorite read-alouds for the Halloween season are:
- Halloween is Coming! By Cal Everett: a rhyming read perfect for getting children and adults to feel the mysterious night of Halloween approaching. The illustrations in this book are beautiful.
- Hardly Haunted By Jessie Sima: houses want to be nothing more than a home, but this old house is coming to the realization that she may be haunted. Creaking hinges, banging pipes, and cobwebs make for the perfect opportunity for everyone to join in on making their best scary noises together.
- Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht: do you love picking pumpkins with cider and toffee apples? Then this rhythmic read-aloud book with its expressive illustrations and familial feeling will be just right. Follow along as we pick out the perfect pumpkin and transform it into a jack o'lantern to keep the home safe from ghostly visitors.
- The Short Straw by Irene Mathis: a spooky poem about a little boy who, upon picking the shortest straw, is forced to go inside the local haunted house. A perfect opportunity to find all the rhyming words and have a conversation about peer pressure.
- It's Raining Bats & Frogs by Rebeca Colby: little witch Delia has been looking forward to flying in the annual Halloween parade all year, but oh no, the day has rain in store. Chaos erupts when she uses her very best magic to change the rain to various creatures. Fun for everyone!
- Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson: a story of animal friendship and sharing. Three helpful animals help the witch get back her belongings, but they want a ride on the broom in return. Is there enough room for them all on the broomstick? Lots of funny pictures to explore with your little story hunter.
- The Little Ghost who was a Quilt by Riel Nason: do you have a budding quilter in the family? Time to explore the story of the little ghost who is a quilt instead of a sheet and all the troubles that come with it. A beautiful story about fitting in and being different from the other ghosts.
- Halloween Nursery Rhymes by Cali's Books: it's time to get ready to trick or treat with 6 Halloween-themed nursery rhymes to get everyone singing and dancing along to a spooky tune. Not got the voice to carry a tune? The sound button will do the central singing for you!
- That Monster on the Block by Sue Ganz-Schmitt: a book all about confronting your fears. Monster is excited to meet the new neighbor, but he finds them ever so terrifying. Will Monster make friends with the new neighbor? Find out by reading out loud together and making memories.
- Skulls! by Blair Thornburgh: is your little one scared of skeletons? Or do they have a fascination with how the body works? This book is all about teaching how fascinating and crucial a skull is. Tap, tap on each other's heads to show the little ones what's in their nogging!
Books are More Than Reading
Reading together is way more than just taking in words. It is an opportunity to bond with your children and grandchildren—a moment to share stories from your day and your life.
At Cali's Books, we're all about the most interactive stories to get your kids interested in building the reading habit of a lifetime. Whether you're after Halloween, spooky season books, or something a bit more mellow for the toddler in your life, we've got it all!
Hacks for Parents and Grandparents
How do your kids react when it comes to being scared? Watch out for whether they're strangely quiet and put the book aside for a moment. Not every child cries when they're afraid. A book that seems mellow to us adults can be scary to a small child. It's important to know when to stop and reassure.
If it seems that the child can't stop being scared, change the activity. It can be tempting to just switch to a different book and get on with reading out loud, but some kids may not be able to let go of the fearful feeling if they're still doing the same activity.
Instead, have a go at something different like baking with grandma or making some cocoa. They'll have forgotten all about the quilt ghost in no time. (The quilt ghost really isn't scary, but small minds work a little differently!) Then it's time to cuddle up and try a different read-aloud story together.
Top Tip: If you know your kids have specific fears, make use of Amazon's 'look inside' feature before committing to housing a new book in your collection.
What Makes a Kid-Friendly Halloween?
Halloween doesn't have to be all about scary stuff. Halloween for kids is all about playfulness. Who doesn't enjoy dressing up, singing songs, going to bonfires, a kid-friendly haunted house, carving pumpkins, and reading books together?
Safety is always the most important thing. Teach kids not to eat Halloween trick-or-treat food that looks like it has been opened. Teach them language around saying no if they're scared. Halloween is a perfect opportunity for them to learn to use those little voices rather than freezing up in a fearful situation.
My top tip for parents of those sensitive kids who think this season is terrifying: find fun ways to confront the things that scare them silly. For example, if they're scared of ghosts, make up a silly song together to make the ghosts go away so that they can sing it whenever they feel afraid.
I have some Halloween season planning to do! Do you also dress up in a costume, or do you reserve it for just the little ones? We have a dress-up box that gets a lot of use every month, but we adults love getting involved with the costume planning, too—the perfect opportunity to let your inner child out.
After so much time spent outside playing, Halloween can be a great mark to huddle up inside and make family memories with everyone.
Admittedly, out here in California, the seasons don't change all that much. However, we still ensure this house has pumpkin patch and spooky stories season, just like colder states. Let's get that spooky decor ready!
Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books
“I’ve loved books since childhood and wanted to transmit this enthusiasm to my children”
I'm a mom of two young children who trained as an engineer and worked in investment banking and at Disney. A French of Caribbean origin (Martinique to be precise!), I grew up in Paris. Los Angeles is now the place I call home!
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