Trick Or Treat! Give Me Ghoulish Books To Read
Five books to celebrate Halloween
Hello! I'm Sri Juneja and this is my children’s book recommendation newsletter. You can subscribe by clicking on this handy little button:
Let’s get hopping!
I’ll be the first to say that Halloween doesn’t do much for me. As a kid, it was easily one of my favorite holidays of the year. But sometime after graduating college and turning “professional” the holiday fell off my radar. The most I’ll do is curl up on the couch and watch Coco for the millionth time. (Does anyone want to invite me to Día de Muertos? Because I am there).
Now that I have a kid, I’m realizing Halloween is going to be a problem for me. I am what some would call lazy when it comes to holiday decor and celebrating. When I was pregnant, I enthusiastically bought a light-up Halloween dog from Target thinking my excitement about Halloween would be renewed after having a kid (false). Instead, the poor dog is collecting dust in its little candy pail.
For many years, I didn’t even hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters (I can hear the collective gasp of horror). Now, out of an abundance of fear that my bad karma will taint my kid’s attempts at a fruitful Halloween, I’ve grouchily started doing Halloween-y things. The books I’ve listed in today’s newsletter did help restore some of the childish enthusiasm I had for the holiday.
These “hacks” have helped me feel like maybe I got this 💪🏽:
I love that Primary releases a guide on creative costumes for kids using clothes you may already have (or can easily buy)
I’ve never tried this but I now want to carve pumpkins using cookie cutters
Something I’ve heard recently is to encourage kids to keep some of their candy and leave the rest out for the Halloween Fairy who will give them a toy in exchange. I kind of like this… makes it so much easier to eat my kid’s candy guilt-free
Am I still a Halloween Grinch? You betcha. But at least my kid doesn’t know that. Yet, anyway.
❓What are your kids going to be for Halloween? Give me some ideas! I may or may not steal one of them.
Written and Illustrated by Joan Holub
Recommended Ages: 1-3 years old
The perfect primer to get a baby or toddler well-versed on what monsters to expect on Halloween! Toddlers especially will love to read and re-read this one. Each spread has a question and the answer is under the flap. The illustrations provide clues to help the reader guess what (or who) is hiding under the flap. Get the kids involved and encourage them to listen to the text clue and the illustration clues to guess lifting the flap. My only complaint with this one is that I wish it was a board book to withstand the love (/abuse) of very young children.
Five Little Monkeys Trick-Or-Treat
Written and Illustrated by Eileen Christelow
Recommended Ages: 2-5 years old
In this darling read, five little monkeys are off to trick-or-treat with their babysitter, Lulu. Their mum cautions Lulu to keep an eye on them. And thus, the hijinks begin. As they go trick-or-treating, the monkeys start trading costumes with their friends and wonder if Lulu will get fooled. But Lulu ultimately has the last laugh. The sketchwork is colorful and warm and you get the feeling that it would be a lot of fun to go trick-or-treating in the monkeys’ neighborhood. This is just a fun, amusing read. As you read, see if the kids can identify who’s underneath each costume.
Ghosts In The House!
Written and Illustrated by Kazuno Kohara
Recommended Ages: 3-6 years old
In this very on-brand Halloween book (it’s entirely orange, black, and white), the sparse linocut illustrations will capture your attention. The illustrations are clean and enticing in their boldness. A young girl moves into a house and is startled when she realizes it’s haunted by ghosts. Luckily, she’s no ordinary girl—she’s a witch! The young girl gets to work fixing up her home and de-ghosting it. It’s a funny, clever tale that turns the notion of scary ghosts on its head.
Ghost And Pete
Written by Dayle Ann Dodds and Illustrated by Matt Novak
Recommended Ages: 6-8 years old
This older book may not be the easiest to find but many libraries will have it. This is a funny story about an unlikely friendship. Pete moves into a new house with his family and discovers Ghost. Together, Pete and Ghost go trick-or-treating and it’s hilariously obvious that Ghost is a novice trick-or-treater. Ghost’s one-liners will have the kids laughing and the adults grinning. There’s a catchy “song” in the book that, decades later, we still sing in my family. I encourage you to adopt this song into your family repertoire as well. You can yell at me later.
Precious And The Boo Hag
Written by Patricia C. McKissack and Onawumi Jean Moss and Illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker
Recommended Ages: 7-10 years old
This is the kind of book that begs to be read aloud. Not quite a Halloween story and not quite a folk tale—it’s somewhere deliciously in the middle. This is the perfect story to get kids on the edge of their seats. Just thrilling enough to make their eyes go wide but without scaring the wits out of them. The illustrations are riveting—the soft-hued collage work is just the right combination of dreamy and eerie. Precious isn’t feeling well and her mother instructs her to stay at home and not let anyone in. Just as they’re about to leave, Precious’s older brother tells her about Pruella the Boo Hag, a trickster who will do anything to come inside the house. And so begins Precious’s adventure in preventing Pruella from coming inside. There’s a catchy refrain that kids should join in and shout to “help” Precious stay brave and strong. What I loved best about this book is that it’s gripping and fast-paced as you watch the Boo Hag attempt different disguises to fool Precious into letting her in.
❓What are your kids going going to be for Halloween? Give me some ideas! I may or may not steal one of them.
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