12 Books I Dare You to Be Without on Halloween

by Amy Kraft on October 22, 2008

I LOVE HALLOWEEN. I love it. Far and away the best holiday of the year. I love the costumes, the candy, and the opportunity to make food shaped like gross things. To top it off, there seems to be a never-ending supply of wonderfully spooky Halloween books. I made my bookstore rounds today, and there seems to be more than ever. These are my favorites. 

1. Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara – this is the book I bought today. I defy you to walk out of the bookstore without it once you’ve seen the gorgeous woodblock illustrations and you’ve read the story of a little witch who moves into a haunted house, only to throw the ghosts in the washing machine and repurpose them as linen-based home needs. 

2. The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey – the author of Captain Underpants brings us a tale of poor Oscar, a wiener dog forced to dress up as a hot dog only to be ridiculed by the other dogs, until he saves the day, that is. 

3. Vunce Upon a Time by J. Otto Seibold – ummm, you had me at J. Otto Seibold, whose books I adore. This one is no different. Hilarious, in fact. A sensitive vegetarian vampire, who also happens to like candy, dresses up like garlic (what could be more scary to a vampire?) to experience what the humans call “trick-or-treating”. 

4. Who Said Boo? by Phyllis Root – this was last year’s favorite. It’s a lift-the-flap board book, going page by page to solve the mystery of “Who Said Boo?” You’ll never guess who.

5. One Witch by Laura Leuck – Olive and I coincidentally discovered this one tonight at her best friend’s house. It’s a counting book, counting up all of the ghoulish creatures who give the witch things for her bubbling brew, then counting back down as they all come to feast. 

6. Bone Soup by Cambria Evans – Staying on the Halloween soup theme, Finnigan the Eater is dreaded by the ghouls in town because, well, he eats everything. As everyone hides away with their goodies, he starts cooking Bone Soup and eventually coerces everyone to add in their stewed eyeballs and bat wings and what have you. 

7. I Spy Spooky Night by Jean Marzollo – Walter Wick’s amazingly spooky photographs make this one of the best I Spy books of all. 

8. Boo! Made You Jump! by Lauren Child – Honestly, what’s any holiday without a little Charlie and Lola? 

9. Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi – Carolyn Crimi (she who penned The Louds Move In) spins the tale of an unlikely odd couple pairing of sloppy Bella and uptight Boris. Gris Grimly’s illustrations are as Halloween-y as they come. 

10. Spooky Hour by Tony Mitton – the power duo of Tony Mitton and illustrator Guy Parker-Rees bring us more Halloween counting, with great verse and sweetly spooky illustrations. 

11. Wanda’s First Day by Mark Sperring – a little witch is wondering why she’s not fitting in at school. Could it be that she’s stumbled into Fairy School instead?

12. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex – creepy, strange poems about all of your Halloween favorites. The illustrations are mesmerizing. 

Got any more for me?  

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