Halloween Books for Young Children

I will have more precious autumn picture books to share and recommend in the coming weeks, but since Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I’d do a roundup of some of our favorite Halloween stories. Beware when shopping for Halloween books. There’s a lot of junk out there. Seriously, if it’s a TV or movie character starring in a Halloween book, skip it.

I promise none of these books are scary. My older son is too sensitive (thus far) for scary Halloween stories. And Asher really doesn’t like “keepy guys.”

Some Favorite Halloween Books


Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom — This comical story, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, about a friendly witch who drops one thing after another off her broom while she’s flying is full of fun rhymes and cutsey animals. Each time she drops an item, such as her wand or hat, a friendly creature finds it and returns it, and thereafter becomes a traveling companion. The group does finally meet a scary dragon, but through their adventures, broom-riding friends become fearsome enough themselves to frighten that dragon away. As this book is fairly wordy for a picture book, I’d say it’s perfect for 4- to 8-year-olds. This is a Nice Witch Book, of which I am in favor, speaking as a grown woman who had many, many nightmares about witches when I was a small girl.

Kevin Lewis’s The Runaway Pumpkin — This Halloween picture book illustrated by S. D. Schindler is an all-time favorite in our house. Lewis has a gift for rhythm, and his refrain robustly beats off the page predictably and dramatically. I challenge you to read this book to your kids without slapping your thigh or tapping your toe in time. After finding the most giant pumpkin ever grown and rolling it homeward, the three children of this extended family get more than they bargained for! It’s all good in the end, because grandma cooks up delicious pumpkin goodies—just in time for Halloween.

Mary Serfozo’s Plumply, Dumply Pumpkin — Illustrated by Valerie Petrone, this book is great book for toddlers. It’s simple and sweet, and full of yumpcious, made-up words. The tiger goes looking for the perfect pumpkin for his jack-o’-lantern, and finds it, of course.

Norman Bridwell’s The Witch Next Door and Other Stories — This collection of four Witch Next Door stories by the creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog is a classic. It must be, right?—because I read these stories when I was a kid. A good witch moves into a “normal” neighborhood and quickly teaches everyone a thing or two about being good and neighborly. It gets my approval because it’s another Nice Witch Book and always has my boys (3 and 8 ) laughing.

Peter Glassman’s My Working Mom — OK, I admit I bought this one on lark when Lucas was less than a year old. Yes, it’s another Nice Witch Book. The little girl in the story explains how it can sometimes be challenging when you have a mom who works, especially when Mom’s busy and her job is kinda weird. Yes, it appeals to me on so many levels. Eventually, the little girl in the story comes to realize it’s kinda cool to have such an interesting mom, who has her hands in so many … cauldrons. Cute and funny. Not scary, although Mom’s cooking is … adventurous, and Career Day at school has never been so fun.

Two More Halloween Favorites

Two more favorites:

Tasha Tudor’s Pumpkin Moonshine — First copyrighted in 1938, this is a sweet story about a Sylvie Ann who picks a fine pumpkin to make a pumpkin moonshine, but it rolls out of control down the hill! Perhaps this book was Lewis’s inspiration for The Runaway Pumpkin. If you’re fond of books set in “simpler times,” this is a lovely addition to any young child’s library.

Lauren Thompson’s Mouse’s First Halloween — A great first Halloween book for babies and preschoolers. Illustrated by Buket Erdogan, this book explores all kinds of things Mouse thinks are spooky, only to find that they are really “Not so scary after all.” We have the board book edition and it has served us well.

If you have read all this way, you might be asking yourself why we have so many Halloween books. (My husband might be asking that also.) Here’s part of the reason: In our home, after Halloween, the Candy Fairy visits in the night. If we leave out candy for the Candy Fairy to feed to her children, she leaves a little gift in its place.


Happy reading!

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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