Monday, October 20, 2014

Spooky Good Reads for Halloween

by Kris Kahrs and Susan J. Berger

Gather round Chickens! The Pen and Ink Blog has compiled a list of spooky good reads for you and the kidlets this Halloween. So, chuck the candy, pull up a stool, grab a swig of apple cider and read on...

Monstore by Tara Lazar, Illustrated by James Burke (2013)

Monstore, a Crystal Kite finalist, is currently 1.99 for your Kindle App on Amazon. (Hurry)
We read this last Saturday at Reading to Kids. Big hit with kids and readers.

The Monstore is the place to go for all of your monsterly needs. Which is perfect, since Zack definitely has a monsterly need. The problem? His pesky little sister, Gracie, who never pays attention to that “Keep Out” sign on Zack’s door—the one he has made especially for her.
But when Zack’s monsters don’t exactly work as planned, he soon finds out that the Monstore has a few rules: No Refunds. No exchanges. No exceptions.


Ten Little Tricksters by Penelope Cole, illustrated by Kevin Collier. 2014

The art of learning how to count both backwards and forward is a milestone for children. Pair it with the antics of Halloween and a classic children’s book is born. Each group of Halloween characters approach a different house at various times, each clustered in the number they represent. Find out how the fun-filled adventure concludes for these Halloween creatures in Ten Little Tricksters.
Also available as a PDF for 5.00 at Guardian Angel Publishing

Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley (1992) 

Pre-K and up. This die cut book is a lot of fun to read to kids. As you turn the pages, the monster grows piece by piece and as you keep going, the kids get to interactively tell the monster off and it disappears bit by bit.

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler and S.D. Schindler (Aug 9, 2005)

Ages three and up. You can just imagine the problems of a skeleton with hiccups. Now imagine how difficult it would be for him trying the various methods of getting rid of the hiccups and you'll have an idea how visually funny this book is!

The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey (Sep 1, 1999)

Ages four and up. Oscar the Dachshund gets a special costume from his mom to wear for Halloween. One problem -- it a hot dog costume and guess who's supposed to be the wiener that goes inside the bun? By the author of Captain Underpants.


Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Aug 25, 2003)

Ages four and up. A rhyming story of a witch and the friends she picks up as she flies through the night. Is there room for one more? You have to read it to find out!

The Halloween Kid by Rhode Montijo (Aug 3, 2010)

Ages Kindergarten and up. Rhode Montijo is the author and illustrator of this superhero story of The Halloween Kid and how he keeps Halloween safe for all. The retro illustrations are the real treat.

Bone Soup by Cambria Evans (Sep 8, 2008)

Ages 6 and up. This is the Halloween version of the old tale "Stone Soup". A story I still tell to my son at night. In this retelling, Finnigin the always hungry skeleton is looking for his next meal on Halloween and needs to convince the townspeople to share a meal with him.

Sounds Spooky by Christopher Cheng and Sarah Davis (May 1, 2012)

Ages 5 and up. SCBWI homeboy, Christopher Cheng's book Sounds Spooky is the perfect read for Halloween. He uses the Onomatopoeia of words to help the reader hear the sound as well as set the tone for the story.

The House With a Clock In Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt) by John Bellairs and Edward Gorey (Aug 3, 2004)

Ages 8 and up. A deliciously chilling tale for the older crowd, John Bellairs writes a couple of different series for this age group that are thrilling but not too scary and that have an upbeat resolution. At 179 pages, you won't finish reading this to the kids on Halloween, but the good news is that they'll keep coming back night after night asking you to read more.

Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace and LeUyen Pham (Aug 7, 2012)

Ages two and up. This is a charming, funny read. Being a ballerina is every girl's dream, especially so for Vampirina, but this little dancer has the extra challenge of also being one of the undead.

Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown (Aug 21, 2012)

Ages 4 and up. How would you feel if your favorite snack all of a sudden became alive and started stalking you? That will give you a good idea of what happened to Jasper Rabbit one day while noshing on his crunchy treat. There's some lovely illustrations you'll enjoy, parodying cinematic classics. Put down the cupcake and back away slowly.


In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories (I Can Read) by Alvin Schwartz. Illustrated by Dirk Zimmer (1985)

An oldie, but goody. This level two reader was my second grader's favorite chapter book.
From The School Library Journal: This collection of short stories (HarperCollins, 1984) retold by Alvin Schwartz are just creepy enough to give youngsters shivers without causing nightmares. The seven tales were collected from a variety of sources and include some classics such as "The Green Ribbon" (holding on a severed head) and "The Night It Rained" (a man discovers that his hitchhiker was a ghost)

Margot Finke just reminded me of The Revenge of Thelma Hill by Margot Fink. Illustrated by Algy Wilson. While not strictly a Halloween book, it's a spooky enjoyable ghost story.
Also Anne Loader McGee is having a signing of The Mystery at Marlatt Manor on Sunday October 26, 2014 from 4-6 PM at the “$10 or Less Bookstore” 9054 Tampa Ave, Northridge 91324, Tel: 818.701.0047. The store will also be hosting their VILLAIN Storytime from 2:30-3:30 PM with some really exciting special guests. Do pop in and say hello if you are in the area, we would love to see you. And we also wouldn't mind it one bit if you wore a costume.

There are lots more spooky reads out there. Please add to our list and share your favorite Halloween Stories.



One More thing:

Scary Mommy Blog is coming out with a new book. The Scary Mommy Guide to Surviving the Holidays, It comes out November 17th from Simon and Schuster and has a wonderful collection of writers. Your purchase of this book (2.99 eBook) goes to help Scary Moms help moms in need. Their blog is wonderful and I love this project.


  1. Thanks for the suggestions. Love the covers with their spooky, Halloween theme.

  2. Whenever I want to be scared, I look at my bank statement.

    "The horror...the horror..."
    Overdrawn Withdrawn

  3. Thank you for the mention!

  4. Hi Susan,
    Many thanks for adding my Tricksters to your Halloween Spooky Good Reads! This was a treat to find in my inbox.
    Here's one I loved to read aloud: "Shake Dem Halloween Bones" by W.Nikola-Lisa. I think you can also sing it.
    Hugs and blessings,
    Penny (

  5. Informative & entertaining! Thanks for sharing your spooky reads.


  6. Great list of "scary." But hey, what about "The Revenge of Thelma Hill" --a ghost story with guaranteed goosebumps, sibling rivalry, and a missing mom! The ghost is even modeled after someone I know. . . MY mom!
    Kindle, soft cover, or autographed form my website. Pretty please. You don't want my ghost haunting you--right?

    1. Oh my gosh. I forgot!!! Revising today.!!

  7. Thanks so much for your mention of my book signing October 26 at the $10 or Less Bookstore in Northridge (4 PM - 6 PM). We're going to have a really "Spooky" time. Hope to see you all there.


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