5 Halloween Book Favourites
The last thing our kids need is more junk food on Halloween. If you gift something to your kids, other kids, or host parties with treat bags, books are always a great option. I find that holiday books often fall short, with a lot of the popular shows and characters just being illustrated into a holiday setting. They will draw the attention of our kids in the moment, but do not need to deliver more than a few read-throughs worth of entertainment, since they are often shoved aside once the season passes. Below are my 5 favourite Halloween books that are sure to withstand the test of time.
1. Little Blue Truck’s Halloween (lift the flap book) by Jill McElmurry
This book is about Little Blue Truck on a journey to a Halloween party. On his way, he picks up a variety of different partygoers dressed in their Halloween costumes. It’s your job to guess who is in disguise and discover what Little Blue goes as.
I love the original Little Blue Truck book, with it’s pleasing rhyme scheme and simple story. This holiday edition does not disappoint - maintaining it’s rhyming pattern, but also adding the “lift the flaps” feature. The flaps are great to engage children, keep them entertained, and get them guessing which animal is dressed in which costume. It is short, simple, and has wonderful illustrations that keep kids invested in the story.
2. Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace
Being a ballerina is a tough job, but even more so if you are a vampire - but that won’t stop Vampirina. This book showcases the trials and tribulations that Vampirina must overcome in order to be a ballerina. Everything from trying to find the right school to learning the right moves. Vampirina must figure out how to fit in with the other children even if they aren’t too sure about her to begin with. She learns to do the things that make a good ballerina like drinking water, not overshadowing the other children, and pirouetting… but most importantly practicing.
This book has recently been adapted into a Disney series which my daughter loves. It speaks volumes about a book if Disney adapts it into an animated series! This story is absolutely charming with black, white, and pink illustrations to match. I love the story of a vampire trying to be a ballerina. The underlying message is that you can be anything you want to be as long as you work hard and dedicate yourself to your dreams. At first glance, one may assume that this is another girly book trying to make even the spookiest of characters into a ballerina but it is, in fact, the exact opposite. She does not need to be less of a vampire to be a ballerina and that is what makes this book extra special!
3. Don’t Push The Button! A Halloween Treat by Bill Cotter
Larry the purple monster is a little bit scared of a creepy house. After a night of trick or treating, you and Larry come upon a spooky looking house that he is not a fan of. Larry does not want you to walk towards it, and especially does not want you to go inside, but you just can’t help yourself can you? See what happens as Larry tries to convince you to stay away from the house. I have a feeling you’ll be doing exactly what he hopes you won’t.
Larry is back from the original “Don’t Push The Button” book that he features in and this story is just as interactive. I love that these books get kids involved in the story; it is a great way to keep them engaged. Everything from pushing buttons to clapping and snipping occurs in this story and it’s all lead by you, the reader. The Halloween theme perfectly matches the stories overall goal so it doesn’t seem like a stretch from the original.
4. Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson
The Witch and her cat love to fly on her broomstick over an ever-changing landscape, but wind starts blowing and the Witch starts to lose her things. Her hat, her bow, and her wand get swept off of the broom, but three helpful animals find the items and The Witch lets them ride along despite how crowded her broom gets. Disaster strikes when The Witch has an unpleasant meeting with a scary dragon. Will she be saved and how will it happen? Luckily, her new friends come to the rescue and alls well that ends well.
Julia Donaldson, most well known for her story “The Gruffalo”, is one of my favourite children’s lit writers. She has an innate understanding of what children seek in a story and has a beautiful way of making her words come to life. This story does not disappoint. With a wonderful rhyming cadence and appealing illustrations, it’s a delight to read for both children and parents alike. While it is a longer story better suited for children ages 3 and up, the underlying life lesson that helping others is beneficial for all is a lesson I encourage parents to teach from the earliest of ages.
5. The Spooky Express Canada: A Halloween Thrill Ride by Eric James
Hop on board this train for a creepy ride and exciting adventure through Canada. You will meet a variety of Halloween characters including a ghost, a witch, a werewolf, and a vampire. The train makes stops at popular Canadian destinations to pick up more passengers. While this journey is anything but smooth, its definitely worth the ride!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a sucker for books that rhyme and this one is no different. I love the fact that this book takes you on a journey across Canada and mentions different cities and hot spots. It is a fantastic way to introduce Canadian kids to their home country and gets them interested as they begin to recognize different cities that they may have travelled to. If you are not from Canada, fear not, as there are a number of variations for different countries/cities/states. Eric James writes a variety of these “place-based” books and I have yet to find one that I didn’t enjoy. The pictures are the full page, colourful, grab your attention type of illustrations, so your kids are sure to spot something new and exciting on each subsequent read-through.