As Halloween approaches, young readers are in for a trick and a treat with these eerie titles ranging from light-hearted picture book scares to haunting YA mysteries.
Picture Books, Board Books, and Chapter Books
April Genevieve Tucholke, illus. by Khoa Le. Algonquin, $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-6437-5157-3. Ages 4–8. In this gothic-tinged picture book debut, Beatrice who enjoys all things dark, while her polar opposite sister loves sunshine. When Beatrice creates a potion one night that makes Roo less afraid of the dark, Roo teaches Beatrice a song to mitigate the sensory overload she feels during the day.
Construction Site Gets a Fright!
Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by AG Ford. Chronicle Books, $12.99 (16p) ISBN 978-1-79720-432-1. Ages 2-4. The trucks on a construction site find spooky surprises on the lot on Halloween night.
C.K. Malone, illus. by Alejandra Barajas. Beaming, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5064-8405-1. Ages 4–12. Charly attempts to find the perfect costume to portray their bigender identity.
Drew Daywalt, illus. by Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, $9.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-62102-8. Ages 4–8. A group of crayon friends face comedic missteps on their first night of trick-or-treating.
Día de Los Muertos
Rosie Pajaro, illus. by Gaby Zermeño. Cottage Door Press, $7.99 (12p) ISBN 978-1-64638-641-3. Ages 1 to 4. Readers learn the festive traditions of the Day of the Dead with this interactive picture book.
Emi Isn’t Scared of Monsters
Alina Tysoe. Orchard, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-75565-7. Ages 4–8. A girl named Emi doesn’t fear the monsters creeping in the dark and makes plans to capture one. But when her dog escapes into the dark, Emi will have to venture into monster territory to save him.
Suzanne Kaufman. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4852-4. Ages 4–8. A lonesome ghost longs for friendship and finds it in a stray balloon.
Goodnight Train Halloween
June Sobel, illus. by Laura Huliska-Beith. Clarion, $8.99 (12p) ISBN 978-0-358-62607-7. Ages up to 4. Passengers climb aboard the Goodnight Train as it takes a special Halloween ride filled with surprises.
Happy Owl-Oween! A Halloween Story
Laura Gehl, illus. by Lydia Nichols. Abrams, $14.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4312-2. Ages 3–5. Readers can follow along with the Owl family as they plan their costumes, go trick-or-treating, and more in this rhyming picture book.
How to Catch a Witch
Alice Walstead. illus. by Megan Joyce. Sourcebooks Wonderland, $10.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-72821-035-3. The Catch Club Kids’ Halloween plans are interrupted when a witch opens a portal allowing ghastly creatures into their neighborhood.
If Animals Trick-or-Treated
Ann Whitford Paul, illus. by David Walker. FSG, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-38852-2. Ages 3–6. The popular If Animals Kissed Good Night series, with more than a million copies in print, continues with this Halloween-themed picture book imagining animals partaking in the holiday hunt for candy.
Ana Siqueira, illus. by Irena Freitas. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8874-8. Ages 4–8. A child considers if their caretaker could potentially be a witch as Halloween night approaches.
Anna Pignataro. Little Hare, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-76050-633-9. Ages 3–5. After a century of living alone, witch Kit makes a new friend when winged bat Caboodle is in need of help.
Flavia Z. Drago. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-2050-6. Ages 3–7. Leila Wayward, a skilled and talented witch, dreams of becoming the best of the best by winning a bake-off.
Little Pumpkin: A First Halloween Story
Lisa Edwards, illus. by Kat Kalindi. Viking, $7.99 (12p) ISBN 978-0-593-46518-9. Ages 1–3. In this addition to the You Are the Light series, Little Pumpkin and Big Pumpkin greet their nighttime friends, from bats to cats to owls and beyond.
The Monsters on the Broom
Annemarie Riley Guertin illus. by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn. Little Simon, $8.99 (14p) ISBN 978-1-66591-146-7. Ages 0 and up. Set to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus,” Halloween creatures set off on their brooms for a ride.
Jarrett Dapier, illus. by Lee Gatlin. Abrams, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5246-9. Ages 4–8. Skeleton drummers on a trip to the White House discover that it’s haunted with lots of eerie creatures.
Ana Aranda. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-5255-1428-2. Ages 3–7. Siblings Mar and Paz excitedly prepare to celebrate day of the dead with their family.
Snowmen at Halloween
Caralyn M. Buehner, illus. by Mark E. Buehner. Dial, $8.99 (28p) ISBN 978-0-593-52910-2. Ages 1 to 3. When a group of children abandon their snowmen for trick-or-treating, the snowmen throw a Halloween party of their own.
Truck or Treat
Hannah Eliot, illus. by Jen Taylor. Little Simon, $7.99 (18p) ISBN 978-1-66591-597-7. Ages 0 and up. On Halloween night, the trucks on the construction site show off their spooky costumes.
Lu Fraser, illus. by Sarah Massini. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0906-2. Ages 3–6. Attempting to use a spell to conjure up a friend, a young witchling finds friendship with an unexpected guest.
Antoinette Corley-Newman, illus. by Noor Alshalabi. Summit Street, $24.99 (54p) ISBN 978-1-63877-585-0. Ages 4–7. A young witch who enjoys the treats mortals receive on Halloween begins to make deals with trick-or-treaters in exchange for more sweets.
Elias Barks illus. by Zoe Persico. Hazy Dell, $8.95 (12p) ISBN 978-1-948931-35-9. Ages 0 to 4. A vampire baby makes his way through a haunted castle on Halloween night.
Kallie George, illus. by Birgitta Sif. Candlewick, $14.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1463-5. Ages 7–9. Crimson Twill may not be quite like other witches, but a move to a new city showcases her know-how and compassion.
Fleur Bradley. Viking, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-40463-8. Ages 8–12. Staying behind after a class field trip, three seventh graders must endure a creepy night on the grounds of a long-shuttered island prison in this atmospherically heightened mystery.
Sara Farizan. Algonquin, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-64375080-4. Ages 12 and up.
Maz, Cori, and Sam, all 12, used to do everything together, until Sam disappeared on Halloween night in 1987. Now it’s 1993, and Maz and Cori haven’t spoken since Sam’s funeral, where the two had a falling-out; Cori believes Sam is dead, but Maz is convinced he was sucked into their beloved pinball machine. A serendipitous run-in at the mall puts Cori and Maz back on each other’s radar. See our profile on Farizan.
Double, Double, Twins and Trouble
Luna Graves. Aladdin, $17.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-66590-623-4. Ages 7–10.
Twin witch sisters’ accidental magical outbursts risk exposing their hidden suburban monster community in this first book in this middle grade series.
Lindsay Puckett. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-338-80342-6. Ages 8–12. Young witch Adelaide accidentally triggers a curse, which transforms her bones into glass. Now she’s being stalked by a mystical hunter that has possessed a member of a local witch-hunting family.
Andrea L. Rogers, illus. by Jeff Edwards. Levine Querido, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64-614179-1. Ages 12 and up. Rogers recounts the past, present, and future trials and tribulations of one Cherokee family in this spine-tingling horror collection.
Kenn Nesbit et al., illus. by Martin Ontiveros. Reycraft, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4788-7041-8. Ages 8–14. This assortment of poems compiles haunting works from contemporary authors and illustrations from Ontiveros.
Our Shadows Have Claws: 15 Latin American Monster Stories
Ed. by Yamile Saied Méndez and Amparo Ortiz, illus. by Ricardo López Ortiz. Algonquin, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-64375-183-2. Ages 14–18. This anthology of short stories encompasses a range of genres, from horror to romance and more, featuring mythology and 15 authors from across the Latin American diaspora.
The Pug Who Wanted to Be a Pumpkin
Bella Swift. Aladdin, $17. 99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8691-1; paper $7.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-8690-4. Ages 7–10. Peggy and Chloe must conquer their fears to go trick-or-treating in the fifth story in The Pug Who Wanted to Be illustrated middle grade series starring Peggy the pug.