Classic Halloween picture books

Classic Halloween Picture Books for Kids (And Why You Should Buy Them)

Do you still have that special picture book from your childhood that you read over and over, until you could recite it in your sleep? Even as we introduce our own kids to books, we get a sense of comfort and well-being when reading those familiar lines. “To the tiger in the zoo, Madeline just said, ‘Pooh-pooh.’ ”

Picture books are special to us, and some of the classics will be passed on from generation to generation. That’s why I now try to buy hardcover editions of classic picture books. The only problem is, that if the book is no longer in production, they can be very pricey.  Sure, there is often a Kindle version. But, for young children, don’t dismiss the tactile aspect of a print book. Kids need to touch the book, point at words, turn the pages. It is all part of becoming a life-long reader and writer.

What makes a great picture book? That’s a loaded question. Schema plays an important role in reading.  Schema is what we bring with us in our minds when we read a book. Schema comes not just from real-life experiences, but also what we hear and see in a variety of mediums.

Are spiders scary? Do ghosts want to hurt people? Should you be afraid of monsters? Some of the best picture books want to change our point of view; to alter or enhance our schema.

Another important characteristic of great picture books is word patterns.  When language is presented in a pattern, kids begin to anticipate and complete phrases (just like repeating the chorus in a song). It’s one way that kids can learn to read.

Similar to word patterns, rhyming can help young children anticipate and complete the text, even though they aren’t technically reading. When reading aloud a rhyming text, pause to see if your child can complete the verse. As you read, point to repeating phrases and words. This helps the young pre-reader to start making letter-sound correspondences.

There are many wonderful Halloween classics that fit the pattern (so to speak :)) of great picture books. Here are a few good choices.

Georgie, by Robert Bright

Georgie is a ghost who brings comfort to a home; the house just isn’t the same without him. Not only is the plot endearing, but the illustrations reveal a comfy, cozy setting where Georgie does his gentle ghosting.

The Teeny-Tiny Woman, by Paul Galdone

The teeny-tiny woman lives in a teeny-tiny house … . As the catch phrase is repeated throughout this story, your pre-reader will enjoy repeating “teeny-tiny,” in read-along style.

Go Away, Big Green Monster, by Ed Emberly

Another repeating phrase encourages your child to participate in ordering the monster to, “Go Away!”

Too Many Pumpkins, by Linda White

One of my son’s all-time favorites, Too Many Pumpkins tells the story of Rebecca Estelle, a lady who lives alone and keeps to herself, until an explosion of pumpkins introduces her to the concept of community. She learns the pleasures of sharing and friendship, and never looks back to her old, isolated way of life.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams

This story uses a number of strategies to encourage emerging readers, including repetition and add on techniques. Kids will love the onomatopoeia, “Clomp, clomp, shake, shake, clap, clap…”


The Witch on a Windy Night, by Bernice Chardiet

I first read this story to my daughter’s preschool class. They were mesmerized by illustrations, the artful language, and sounds of the wind that came through the words. You will enjoy reading this story aloud, as much as your kids will enjoy hearing it.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, by Simms Taback

We all know the story of that spider that “wiggled, and giggled, and tickled inside her.” Kids love to repeat the catch phrases and add-ons, as well as the sing-song rhyme. The award winning illustrations are an added bonus!

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, by Charles M. Schultz

What can I say, that you don’t already know about this story? Schultz’s uncanny ability to capture the logic of kids shines through, and a lesson about optimism in the face of disappointment is one that our children can learn at a very young age. It will serve them well in our “It’s All About Me” culture.

Happy Haunting, Amelia Bedelia, by Herman Parish

Although these books have been around a long time, I wasn’t introduced to Amelia Bedelia until my daughter brought the first book home from the library. There’s no escaping her charm, once you get to know Amelia’s lovable, naive, approach to life.

The Witch Next Door, by Norman Bridwell

This is one of the first books I ever bought, way back in my kindergarten book club. Suddenly, witches weren’t scary to me. Yes, Norman Bridwell is the author of Clifford, the Big, Red Dog. He is masterful at revealing our preconceived notions as sometimes flawed. Teachy, not preachy. If you can get hold of a hardcover copy, grab it!

For Older Kids — 43 Old Cemetery Road Series, by Kate Klise

If you are buying picture books for your emergent reader, don’t leave out your older kids. The 43 Old Cemetery Road Series, by Kate Klise, will fill the bill without conjuring up bad dreams, proving once again that ghosts can be our best friends.

Witch Halloween books are your favorites?

The editorial content in this post is an honest assessment by A.JoAnn. It does not represent the opinions of the book authors, sellers, or publishers This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission on products you choose to purchase, at no additional cost to you.

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2 comments

  1. Great collection! My daughter and I loved reading (and reciting from memory) “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” by Dr. Seuss. Along with the first book she read all by herself – “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”. What great memories! Thanks, Pam!

    • Yes, Chris, Dr. Seuss really knew what he was doing! I love to hear how these posts bring back memories- they do for me, as well! I think that’s why I enjoy writing them 😊

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