There is a chill in the air and it isn’t just the falling temperatures. In honor of Halloween, we’ve gathered spine-tingling tales of tricks and treats, haunted houses, and supernatural encounters for kids and teens.
Picture Books and Board Books
The Bad Seed Presents: The Good, the Bad, and the Spooky
Jory John, illus. by Pete Oswald. HarperCollins, $10.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-295454-1. Ages 4–8.
In his second adventure, the bad seed conspires to postpone Halloween when he can’t find the perfect costume. If he can’t enjoy Halloween, no one can.
Rick Chrustowski. Penguin Workshop, $9.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-22475-5. Ages 6–8.
Dino-zombies are on the hunt, but there’s no need to be scared. Readers can join the creepy crew as they trick-or-treat to collect and consume all the candy they can.
Joy Keller, illus. by Ashley Belote. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-76580-2. Ages 4–7.
Victoria Franken is a slime scientist whose experiments lead to amazing slimes. That is, until one stormy night when her latest experiment goes awry and her newest creation comes to life.
Cal Everett, illus. by Lenny Wen. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $10.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-72820-586-1. Ages 4–8.
This rhyming read-aloud that takes kids through all the stages of the exciting buildup to the scariest night of year.
Rose Rossner, illus. by Gareth Williams. Sourcebooks Wonderland, $8.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-72822-334-6. Ages up to 3.
In this cheerfully rhythmic board book, an unnamed narrator relays a series of Halloween puns. A greeting card–esque readaloud for the youngest Halloween enthusiasts.
Illus. by MacKenzie Haley. DK, $6.99 (16p) ISBN 978-0-7440-3383-0. Ages up to 3.
Halloween is approaching and it’s time for the kids to pick out their pumpkins. The pumpkins are excited to meet their new owners but when everyone is being chosen, the friendliest and happiest one of all feels left out.
Jessie Sima. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4170-5. Ages 4–8.
House has a problem±what if she’s haunted? But she’s not sure. If she’s on her best behavior, maybe a family will move in.
Ashley Wolff. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1934-5. Ages 4–8.
Dog is planting a garden, doing all he can to help his pumpkins grow: protecting them from snow, weeding and watering their patch, and keeping them safe from barnyard creatures who might eat the sprout. But are the animals really out to destroy the garden?
Phoebe Wahl. Tundra, $19.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6489-2. Ages 4–8.
Little Witch Hazel is a tiny witch who lives in the forest, helping creatures big and small. But when Little Witch Hazel needs help herself, will she get it in time? The book received a starred review from PW.
Eric Geron, illus. by Pete Oswald. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1050-7. Ages 4–8.
This meta picture book puts a fresh spin on an old joke and elevates chicken comedy to ghastly new levels. A little spring chicken crosses the road but quickly gets flattened under a semitruck. Now Chicken has a job as a noisy troublemaking ghost.
Gris Grimly. Orchard, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-11244-3. Ages 4–8.
One girl heads out into the night for a Halloween adventure in this creepy twist on a favorite preschool rhyme. The book received a starred review from PW.
Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, $27.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-593-46618-6. Ages 4–8.
A girl lives in a haunted house, but she has never seen a ghost. Are they white with holes for eyes? Are they hard to see? Readers can help the girl as she searches for a ghost under the stairs and in the attic.
Tracy C. Gold, illus. by Nancy Leschnikoff. Sourcebooks Explore, $10.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-72823-329-1. Ages 4–8.
Gold follows along as a young bat takes flight on Halloween night and eats lots of delicious bugs along the way. Includes educational backmatter with fun facts about bats and their favorite insects.
Samantha Berger, illus. by Dan Santat. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-45809-2. Ages 4–8.
This year, Crankenstein’s favorite day of all—Halloween—has gone rotten. Costumes, jack-o’-lanterns, and loads of candy have been ruined. Can Halloween be saved, or will today turn into the crankiest Halloween in history?
Priscilla Tey. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8981-0. Ages 4–8.
Itch the witch is having company over for tea. As the clock counts down to tea o’clock, Itch’s mind is in a tizzy: is her house too twitchy?
A Unicorn Named Sparkle and the Pumpkin Monster
Amy Young. FSG, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-30850-6. Ages 2–6.
Lucy and the unicorn are back in the fourth book of the A Unicorn Named Sparkle series, and this time it’s Halloween. Lucy and Sparkle love the holiday but then they discover one big difference: Lucy loves to be scared every once in a while. Sparkle, not so much.
Goldie Hawk, illus. by Angie Rozelaar. Little, Brown, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-62830-3. Ages 4–8.
Three trick-or-treaters are looking for the perfect pumpkin on Halloween night. They have to make their way through sticky cobwebs, flying bats, and a spooky house, but they eventually find their pumpkin—and a ghost.
Sarah Kieley. Doubleday, $10.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-593-17488-3. Ages 3–7.
Along with a gaggle of adorable Halloween passengers—including pumpkins, witches, cats, and candy—kids can join in this boisterous version of the classic song The Wheels on the Bus.
David Crosby, illus. by Carolina Coroa. Maverick Arts, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84886-778-9. Ages 4–9.
When young witches come of age, they get to choose their grown-up witch nose. But for Grizelda it is not an easy choice. No nose seems to be as good as the one she already has. But finally Griz sees the nose for her: it’s the one in her own reflection.
Lucy Ruth Cummins. Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6698-2. Ages 4–8.
On a Saturday morning, baby Dracula visits the zoo with his family, where baby Penguin lives with hers. But these intrepid young adventurers are not content with staying in their proper places. The book received a starred review from PW.
Ben Manley, illus. by Hannah Peck. Andersen Press USA, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-72843-892-4. Ages 4–9.
Everyone says Peter is the baddest boy in school. In fact, Peter is a vampire. So when the class gerbil goes missing, Lucy lets Peter take the blame, even though she knows Peter had nothing to do with it.
Katherine Arden. Putnam, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-10915-1. Ages 10 and up.
In this follow-up to Small Spaces, Ollie, Coco, and Brian have to survive a group trip to Lake Champlain, where it’s said Vermont’s very own Loch Ness monster lives. When a misstep from Phil causes a tragedy and leaves them shipwrecked on an island haunted by a monster, it’s up to him to help everyone work together and find a way to escape.
Lucy Strange. Chicken House, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-68643-2. Ages 8–12.
It’s 1899. The Earl of Gosswater has died, and 12-year-old Agatha has been cast out of her ancestral home by her cruel cousin. While adjusting to her new fate, she learns that the shores of Gosswater lake are haunted, and soon comes face to face with the spirit of another girl whose soul will not rest.
The Halloween Moon
Joseph Fink. Harper Collins/Quill Tree, (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-302097-9. Ages 10 and up.
Thirteen-year-old Esther Gold loves Halloween more than anything in the world and is determined to go trick-or-treating this year despite the fact that her parents think she is too old. Esther has it all planned out, but when the night rolls around, something feels off.
Chris Samnee and Laura Samnee, illus. by Chris Samnee. Oni, $12.99 paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-62010-784-3. Ages 9–12.
Rainbow has been looking for her younger sister, Jonna, for over a year—since the monsters appeared and the world began to dry up. Then, one day, Jonna is spotted out in the wild, filthy but strong—strong enough to knock back a towering monster with one punch.
Living Ghosts and Mischievous Monsters
Dan SaSuWeh Jones, illus. by Weshoyot Alvitre. Scholastic Nonfiction, $26.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-338-68162-8. Ages 8–12.
Jones collects 32 short stories— including tales passed down for generations and accounts that could have happened yesterday—from the thriving tradition of ghost stories from American Indian cultures across North America.
Derek Taylor Kent. Whimsical World, $16.99 (184p) ISBN 978-1-949213-10-2. Ages 8–12.
Rudy Berkman thought he was the luckiest kid in the world when his family moved to Danville. The problem is, all the kids at Danville Junior High act like mindless robots and his teachers seem to want him dead. When an enchanted homework comes to life and eats his dog alive, Rudy embarks on a quest with his grandfather and the school bully to rescue his pet from a greater evil than he could ever imagine.
Scary Stories for Young Foxes: The City
Christian McKay Heidicker, illus. by Junyi Wu. Holt, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-18144-2. Ages 9–12.
Michael Regina. Razorbill, $20.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-593-11734-7, Ages 8–12.
When the Russo family returns home from vacation to discover their nanny has unexpectedly died, Matt takes the news the hardest. His three best friends decide to cheer him up with a sleepover, but their plans are derailed when a new nanny must watch the group, and there’s something about her Matt doesn’t trust.
Jessica Lewis. Delacorte, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-17738-9. Ages 12 and up.
Katrell can talk to the dead, and she wishes it made more money. She’s been able to support her unemployed mother, but it isn’t enough. And to complicate things, Katrell has started to draw attention, not from this world—from beyond. The book received a starred review from PW.
Ann Dávila Cardinal. Tor Teen, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-29612-2. Ages 13–18.
In this supernatural thriller, the sequel to Five Midnights, the island of Vieques off the coast of Puerto Rico is trying to recover from Hurricane Maria, but developers have come to take advantage of the battered island. Meanwhile Lupe, Javier, and Marisol are back to investigate the series of murders and a new threat in the wake of the hurricane.
Sarah Hollowell. Clarion, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-358-42441-3. Ages 12 and up.
Derry and her siblings live in an isolated house, separated from the world by an eerie forest. Frank, the man who raised them, says it’s for their own good. After all, the world isn’t safe for people with magic. But when Derry’s eldest sibling disappears, Derry is sure she saw her walk into the forest. And when another sibling goes missing, Frank’s true colors start to show.
Goldy Moldavsky. Holt, $18.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-250-23010-2. Ages 14 and up.
New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep but struggles to fit in. When she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends. But the prank has attracted the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret society of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with Moldavsky.
Amber McBride. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-78036-2. Ages 12 and up.
Moth has lost her family in an accident. Though she lives with her aunt, she feels alone and uprooted. Until she meets Sani, a boy who is also searching for his roots. And if Moth can help him feel grounded, then perhaps she too will discover the history she carries in her bones. McBride is a finalist for this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
Erin A. Craig. Delacorte, $18.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-59330-674-1. Ages 12 and up.
Ellerie Downing’s days are filled with mundane things such as tending to her family’s beehives and dreaming of bigger things while her twin, Samuel, is free to roam as he wishes. But strange activities begin to plague the town, and it’s clear that something is terribly wrong.
Tiffany D. Jackson. HarperCollins/Tegen, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-302909-5. Ages 14 and up.
When the Sterling Foundation offers Marigold’s mother free housing for a year, her newly blended family moves to the embattled city of Cedarville. Mari wants to be back in sunny California, not this oddly renovated home in a decaying town—but it’s not like the house wants her there, either.
Stephanie Perkins. Dutton, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-525-42602-8. Ages 14 and up.
Two girls go backpacking deep in the woods of the Pisgah National Forest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and things go very wrong. Then their paths collide with a serial killer.