Looking to grow your Spooky Season picture book collection this year? I’ve got ya covered. On this post, I gathered 27+ picks (including my personal faves). I went ahead and broke them down into 2 categories to help with your selection. The categories are stories featuring Halloween elements and read alouds with just spooky, cute characters without Halloween references.
No matter how you celebrate October in the classroom or at home, I hope you can find a story you’re excited about sharing with your littles! You can Shop these & more Spooky, Fall + Halloween stories in my Amazon Bookshop by clicking here
& if you’re wanting spooky book activities, check out this blog post & this one.
Spooky Cute *WITHOUT* Halloween references
Creepy Tales Collection by Aaron Reynolds + Peter Brown
Creepy Carrots, Creepy Pair of Underwear and Creepy Crayon (new 2022) are perfect any time of the year, but I especially love them as read alouds during October because of their creepy vibe, fun color palette and illustrations that are extra fun to gaze at while reading each page. No matter the age of kiddo, (from my experience) they always seem to listen and engage with this series like it’s the first time hearing it!
Gustavo the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago
An adorable violin playing ghost, bringing attention to Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and placing a big emphasis on friendship/being yourself made this picture book a quick favorite of mine.
A Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall & Vera Brosgol
Although this one is new as of July 2022, I’m still putting it in my tops for Spooky Season. The setting & the funny storyline make it unique and one that littles will enjoy listening to time & time again. Also, no frogs were harmed in this story (aka FrogLESS soup). 🙂
Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler and Will Terry
Cute little monsters tackle a common school fear, fitting in and being accepted by peers! Naturally this one has a spooky cute twist because our main character, Bonaparte is falling apart – literally! With the help of his loyal friends, they find a solution that helps Bonaparte fit right on in.
Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima
The illustrations in this one are so fun and would be great for SEL. Another text with a strong theme of be proud who you are – in this case, that’s a creaky foundation and cobwebs to boot! And old house feels she is haunted because she’s unable to sell… but a new ghost family helps her realize she’s perfect just the way she is!
Leila the Perfect Witch by Flavia Z. Drago
This is the anticipated follow up to Gustavo the Shy Ghost that stars a character seen first in Gustavo, Leila! This story features a fun bake off, the topic of perfectionism and realizing there is more to life than winning/being the best at everything. Leila is pretty much good at everything. And coming from a long line of bakers, she anticipates she will be great at it too… but it’s not “such a cake-walk” for her. You see, Leila’s goal is to enter the bake-off and win the trophy for her large collection but feels disappointed in herself when all her baked creations go up in smokes. Luckily for Leila, she’s got a supportive family. They help her realize it’s ok to need help, learn something new and it’s also ok if you don’t win everything because you tried & had fun along the way.
Monster Trouble by Lane Fredrickson and Michael Robertson
Cute and perfect for any kiddo who has ever feared a “monster” in their room or under their bed. In this story though, Winifred doesn’t really fear them… she’s rather fed-up with them because they keep her up all night. With her days becoming extra sleepy, she researches and devises a plan to catch the Monsters. And it’s the most unexpected of ideas that finally send them running. Littles always laugh so big at the very end – let’s just say, it’s sealed with a k i s s! 🙂
I Love My Fangs by Kelly Leigh Miller
Vampire Vacation by Laura Lavoie and Micah Player
Since I was a kid, I’ve always been a big fan of vampires and these two vamp stories are my top picks among all the vampire reads simply because of their level of cute! I Love My Fangs is about a little vamp losing his first fang and not really knowing what to expect (relatable, right)! It’s fun for talking about losing a first tooth or even chatting about oral care. Vampire Vacation is exactly what it sounds like… Fang wants to switch up his family’s routine vacation spot this year to the BEACH. But since they’re not budging on the idea (I mean.. the SUNSHINE), Fang decides to take matters into his own hands and just persuade them! Lots of laughs with this one and a fun ending to leave kiddos wondering about Fang’s next family vacation.
Room on the Broom is probably the most recognizable of the four shown. So Not Ghoul and The Witchling’s Wish are new for 2022, Don’t get me wrong, I do really like both of them but in terms of a read aloud the storyline doesnt read as smooth as the ones mentioned above (in my opinion)! I do love the inclusivity of So Not Ghoul (think Chinese ghost stories) and LOVE the artwork in The Witchling’s Wish. Another stunning choice here is The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen. I always admire the way Killen presents text and art around common holidays without really directly calling out the holiday – like in this one!
And if your kiddos love learning about Bats, I recommend:
Amara and the Bats by Emma Reynolds, Fiona the Fruit Bat and Stellaluna! I especially love Emma Reynolds (yes, the child of Aaron Reynolds :)) take on a bat book in Amara and the Bats! This bat book is all about a girl with a passion for bat activism and protecting/saving the bats. We get a great story, see passion in action and learn bat facts along the way. The illustrations also feature diverse and inclusive characters which is a huge bonus!
Spooky Cute *Featuring* Halloween
Alright, alright! Now time to get into Halloween storylines! Below you’ll find a collection of picture books perfect for October or Halloween that *DO* show Halloween settings, trick or treating, costumes, etc.
The Hallowiener by Dav Pilkey
When I think Halloween read aloud, this is the picture book that comes to mind first! This pick has Dav Pilkey’s signature humor mixed with Halloween and a great message. From our main character Oscar goes from “hot dog” to a HERO sandwich in this Halloween night story full of tricks and sweet, sweet treats like new friends.
Bad Seed Presents: The Good, The Bad and the Spooky by Jory John & Pete Oswald
If you love The Bad Seed, just grab it! Be aware the size of the book is smaller than the others in the food series. The spinoff stories are smaller squares but give the reader just as cute of story featuring a favorite character. In this one, The Bad Seed attempts to cancel Halloween/Trick or Treats because he doesn’t have a costume but learns a lesson along the way.
Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins
I absolutely adore this picture book – the art, the message, the entire feel! While it does mention it’s happening on Halloween night, the element of Halloween is very toned down compared to others shown above.
The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt by Riel Nason and Byron Eggenschwiler
1 Word – STUNNING! To me, this one screams classic halloween night and it’s truly beautiful. I can’t get over the artwork in this one – it might be my favorite art out of all 27 of these Spooky books on this post. The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt is different than other ghosts and because she’s a quilt… his weight makes it difficult to fly. Because of his differences, he’s often left out or laughed out. 🙁 But on Halloween night, everything changes when he meets a little (human) girl who makes him feel loved, seen, special and even l i g h t enough to fly. It’s a lovely story of realizing you were made to be perfectly & unapologetically y o u.
Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht and Jarvis
A great read to build up anticipation for the season and get excited for the things Fall/Halloween brings. If you’re familiar with Pick a Pine Tree, it’s from the same creators. It’s vibrant and pretty.
Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli & Tim Zeltner
When a little seed just wants to be scary and BOO others! This story does build up to Halloween night but is more about the journey from seed to pumpkin to jack o’ lantern. I love using it for the life cycle of a pumpkin aspect because the illustrations are perfect for learning about it.
And if your kiddos love funny Halloween Night Trick or Treating Stories, These Fit the Bill:
And because reading spooky stories is like opening a can of worms for me… here’s a couple more that *do not* reference halloween. These categories are moody illustrations that evoke a “spooky” feel and 3 with educational value with a spooky twist.
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