I really think reading these kind of books gets the kids a little more excited for the experiences of late October: pumpkin picking, jack-o-lattern carving, deciding on costumes, and trick-or-treating. They can introduce a lot of the vocabulary needed, give kids ideas, and just prepare them for experiences that they may otherwise be timid for. And, they're just fun to read. Here are some of our favorites, in order by age appropriateness (is that a word?), youngest to oldest:
(These are scary faces!)
It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse!: For mouse lovers, this quick book by Laura Numeroff introduces the reader to seven little pumpkins that become jack-o-lanterns. Not only can you practice counting but also discuss emotions and what the different faces show, as well as start to plan your own jack-o-lanterns.
Click, Clack, Boo!: Since my boys like to read Click, Clack, Moo, and with Elijah being a cow for Halloween, I knew I had to pick this book up. Doreen Cronin again makes Farmer Brown face a problem in this book, and helps the reader participate in the story as she includes lots of different sounds to act out throughout the book. Creaking, tapping, crunching...
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything: As a building-repetitive book, this tale by Linda Williams follows a little old lady home along with a pair of shoes, hat, and pumpkin (among other items). With lots of onomatopoeia words, this book is especially fun with my late-talker two-year old who may only say BOO, but can also wiggle, clap, nod, and otherwise move along with the directions in this book. (This was actually my book as a child, I begged for books from book orders back then too.)
Just Say Boo! This book by Susan Hood has some sweet moments, and reinforces politeness as the story follows a family around on a night of trick-or-treating with lots of opportunities to yell "Boo!"
Ten Timid Ghosts: We met this author, Jennifer O'Connell, last Halloween and were able to get this book signed. Meeting her made me fall even more in love with this book, she was great with Theodore. This is another nice countdown-type, rhyming book, that has a really great cadence and I always seem to read it with a sing-song voice. It does introduce a few "scary" things (ghoul, vampire, and mummy) but wasn't exactly enough to cause any nightmares or anything. I figure a tiny bit of scare is okay.
Pumpkin Countdown: This nice rhyming book follows a class of 19 on a field trip, counting down from twenty different items the kids notice on the farm. I especially like it since it includes a lot of the experiences Theodore's field trip covers (though this year, it was unfortunately rained out and not able to be rescheduled). By Joan Holub.
Corduroy's Best Halloween Ever!: This book is the one with the deepest plot out of this list. Corduroy struggles with finding a Halloween costume, hosting a party, and helping out his friends. It all turns out great though, hence the title.
Happy Halloween, Little Critter!: Of course a Mercer Mayer book has to make our list. He has lots of great seasonal books, and this one is no different. Our version is actually a lift-the-flap kind that follows Critter through a scary Halloween party where you can reveal all his friends with the turn of the flap.
*The House that Drac Built: When I was grabbing Ten Timid Ghosts from my shelf of signed books, I noticed one there I had forgotten about. I met Judy Sierra about 8 years ago, and had her sign this book for me. I was a little hesitant to try it with Theo (he was pretty scared of the Lego movie, and parts of Frozen) but we read it through and he asked for a second reading. Like the Little Old Lady book above, it adds a verse every page to the growing list of frightening things that are found in the house (the illustrations are pretty repulsive, especially the fiend, zombie, werewolf and manticore). Spoiler Alert: There is a happy ending though. Theo keeps asking who Drac is. *More suitable for Elementary Aged*