Time to haul out the box of Halloween books! This year, I have a plan to do a nightly read of spooky stories for the two weeks leading up to the Big Night. (I got the idea from here, for a Christmas advent calendar.) I’ll wrap the books and put them in a basket and make book time a surprise to look forward to. I’ve got a collection of obviously Halloween-related books in a cupboard in the basement, but I felt like the collection was getting a bit stale. I’ve been on the lookout for some new additions to our October reading list. Here is what I’ve come up with, and a few old favourites. Please leave your favourite titles in the comments section. I’m still looking for more!
Some of these are a little off the beaten path. You might not think they were Halloween reads to look at them. But they are spooky and, most importantly, excellently written and illustrated.
Ours is a well-worn board book, and it gets pulled out often. You can’t go wrong with Julia Donaldson, and this is a fun story about a witch, her familiars and a deluxe broom.
Oh, I do love a story with a woman who outsmarts a puritanical community. A widow helps an ailing witch and inherits her magical broom. Persecution ensues. Reason triumphs. Beautifully illustrated.
The gargoyles on a building come to life in a beautifully paced prose poem. The tone of the story is truly haunting. David Wiesner is a favourite illustrator of ours, and he does not fail to please in this gem.
Philip Pullman’s Clockwork (ages 8-12)
This is a fascinating story within a story. It actually makes my head hurt to work out how the gears of the stories interlock. A story about clocks that is structured like a clock, messes with your head and with time. Great fun.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ages 8-12)
I love Neil Gaiman’s child protagonists. They are all so grounded and whip smart. Nobody Owens is the protagonist in this book, and he is raised by ghosts and lives in a cemetery. His antagonist is a man named Jack, and the story plays with and subverts the traditional character of Jack from British fairy tales. Creepy, genuinely frightening, un-put-down-able.