The Best Part of Halloween is Reading Spooky Books

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My children are acutely aware of my personal failings, and (in their opinion) chief among them is my laissez-faire attitude about decorating for the holidays, specifically Halloween.

In my defense, isn’t Halloween sort of awesome all by itself? Don’t other people do enough to made the day special without my interference? Look at that spooky yard across the street with all the gravestones! What about that house with eighteen carved pumpkins elevated on stakes? And their school even has a costume parade which makes me feel like my children live in a Beverly Cleary novel.

With all that effort being expended, I feel pretty good about the two things I manage to do every year: 1. Carve a pumpkin (okay, my husband and kids always do that, but I buy it), and 2. Purchase costumes and take the kids trick-or-treating.

This year I decided to surprise those monkeys and decorate one day while they were at school. Yes, this was in part because I got to the library early and it wasn’t open yet, and YES, Target is just across the street, so I thought I might as well pop over and buy some of that incredibly wasteful stretchy spiderweb so my children would love me again.

And oh, they did. You would have thought I had spun the web myself.

If life were fair, my children would also note that they have read the absolute BEST spooky books, thanks to the valiant efforts of their superhero book-master mother. But I suppose books at this point feel like a given.

Happy reading and Happy Halloween!!

(Because we Asbys are total wimps, this list doesn’t include Coraline or, you know, anything by Stephen King. If you prefer scary over spooky, you’ll have to look elsewhere.) 

 

The Widow’s Broom is the book that made me decide to write this post. I get spooky chills every time.

 

The Bake Shop Ghost is long but lovely. I heard a librarian read it to a large group of sugared-up Halloweeners and (even though I love it!) I thought, “There is no way they’re going to make it through this entire book,” but I was absolutely wrong. Never doubt a children’s librarian.

 

The Spider and the Fly is a poem I remember reading again and again as a kid. While I felt mostly nostalgia, my children found this one very scary. They kept shouting, “No!” and I think felt really outraged at the end. The illustrations are perfectly terrifying in this one.

 

Zen Ghosts is another soothing delight from Jon J Muth.

 

She Made a Monster  has one truly scary page, but if your kids can handle it, it’s a beautiful read.

Frankenstein Takes the Cake and Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich marry silly and spooky in two volumes of poetry and fun.

What There is Before There is Anything There is a thoughtful and beautiful, like everything I’ve read by Liniers.

 

The Dark – Snicket and Klassen. Enough said.

Creepy Carrots is both funny and just scary enough to delight.

Leo: A Ghost Story is about friendship and kindness and inclusion, so obviously I love it.

 

There’s No Such Thing as Ghosts! Right??

 

Spooky Old Tree, a classic!

 

How to Make Friends with a Ghost is a cheerful not-scary-at-all read for the anti-fear crowd.

 

For the littlest spooks, try Ghost in the House

 

Now put these on hold at your library and plop down by a bowlful of candy!

 

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