Halloween is my daughter’s favorite holiday, and Halloween children’s books are far superior to other holiday children’s books, in my opinion. Witches! Ghosts! Jack-o-lanterns! My inner goth rejoices every October when I pull out our stack of spooky children’s books. If I’m honest, I enjoy them as much as or more than my daughter, which is probably why we have so many. The 20 Halloween books for preschoolers listed below all make excellent read-alouds. Some appeal to a preschooler’s funny bone, while others tell sweet, spooky stories. They all make perfect reads for Halloween season.
20 Halloween Books for Preschoolers
Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Stumpkin doesn’t look like all the other pumpkins in the shop because he doesn’t have a stem. But more than anything, Stumpkin wants to be a jack-o-lantern for Halloween and light up someone’s window. As the days pass and customers take home all the other pumpkins on the shelf, Stumpkin gets sad. Finally, it’s Halloween, and Stumpkin is the only pumpkin left on the shelf at the end of the day. However, when the shop owner decides to make Stumpkin into a jack-o-lantern for the shop’s window, Stumpkin’s dream comes true, and all the trick-or-treaters admire him. This book is gorgeous and cleverly illustrated. The author based the story on a day when she and her children brought a stemless pumpkin home from a pumpkin stand and named it Stumpkin.
Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht and Jarvis
Pick a Pumpkin will have you chanting the words long after you’ve read it (I sometimes sing it to my daughter to the rhythm of “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two” from the musical Oliver, ha!). It’s a rhythmic delight that follows a family picking out pumpkins at a pumpkin farm, bringing the pumpkins home, cleaning and carving them, and finally displaying them and trick-or-treating. This is one of our current favorite read-alouds, and the rhyming helps early readers pick up on pacing and guess/read the final words in a line. The beautiful illustrations are vibrant and spooky.
Birdie’s Happiest Halloween by Sujean Rim
Birdie can’t decide what she wants to be for Halloween. All of her friends have neat ideas, but she’s flummoxed. When she visits a museum with her mother, she’s inspired by lots of the things she sees, but nothing feels quite right until she realizes what’s missing from the exhibit. When it comes time for Halloween, Birdie dresses up as the United States’s first female president! There are lots of books in Sujean Rim’s Birdie series, and this is one of our favorites.
Click, Clack, Boo! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
Click, Clack, Boo! is my favorite Farmer Brown story, and one of the first books my daughter memorized. Farmer Brown is scared of Halloween, so he hides in his bed on the big day. Meanwhile, his farm animals have dressed up for a Halloween party and decorated the barn. Only one thing is missing—Farmer Brown and the candy bowl! With lots of repetition and alliteration, this is an excellent read-aloud and a perfect book for preschoolers to memorize and read to their parents.
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler
A witch is craving pumpkin pie, but the pumpkin she’s grown is so big she can’t pick it from the vine and carry it home! A ghost, a vampire, and a mummy try to help, but none of them are strong enough to pick the pumpkin. When a bat shows up asking if it can help, they all have a good laugh. How can a little bat help? But then the bat suggests they work together to pick the pumpkin, and the plan works! They all have delicious pumpkin pie along with good company. This repetitive picture book is a fun read-aloud. I especially enjoy making up voices for all the characters.
Clever Little Witch by Mượn Thị Văn and Hyewon Yum
On Mãi Mãi Island, Little Linh is the cleverest witch; unfortunately, she has a not-so-clever brother, Baby Phu. In fact, Phu is downright bothersome, so she decides to find someone else to take him. She tries a troll, a fairy queen, and even an orphanage, but no one wants him. Linh thinks maybe she can change him into a goldfish, but her spells keep miscasting, and Phu turns into all sorts of creatures. Any preschooler with an annoying younger sibling (and aren’t they all annoying?) will relate to this book. My daughter’s favorite part is Linh’s animal companion—a flying mouse.
Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch by Diana Murray and Heather Ross
Diana Murray is one of the queens of rhyming picture books, which makes Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch a delight to read aloud and a joy to listen to. It’s about a witch who wants to make pickle pie, but she can’t find the pickle root anywhere in her very messy house! Exasperated, she decides to clean up so she can make her delicious pie. Meanwhile, discerning readers will notice a certain spider in the background making off with the jarred pickle root. As a game, we put a discarded green marker lid in a leftover breastmilk storage bottle and called it the pickle root, and then hid it for our daughter to find. Parenting win! I have yet to read the second book in this series—Grimelda and the Spooktacular Pet Show—though it looks adorable.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
We’ve read this contemporary classic so many times I’m convinced that when I’m a great-grandmother I’ll still be able to recite it from memory. Julia Donaldson is a master of rhythm, and this book is a delight to read. It’s about a witch happily flying on her broom with her cat when a pesky wind blows off her hat. With each object the wind blows off, a new animal finds it and joins the witch and her cat on the broom. Eventually, the broom becomes too heavy and snaps, sending the animals falling, while a dragon chases the witch. Thankfully, the animals team up to help the witch and defeat the dragon.
Bone Soup by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Tom Knight
Bone Soup retells the European folktale “Stone Soup.” Three sister witches are hungry, but their cupboards are bare! Naggy Witch has an idea. They take a cauldron with a bone in it to all their neighbors for trick-or-treating and ask them to throw one ingredient into it. As a monster, ghost, ghoul, vampire, and more Halloween creatures add ingredients, the soup starts coming together, and the end product has enough to feed everyone! This is another enjoyable read aloud with lots of good voices.
The Right One for Roderic by Violeta Noy
Roderic doesn’t want to wear the boring white sheet the rest of his family wears. He wants his clothes to represent who he feels like inside. He tries on all sorts of outfits, and his family disapproves of all of them. He runs away in despair, but when no one sees him in the city, he becomes even sadder. Worried, his family finds him and tells him they’ll love him no matter what, and Roderic finally discovers the perfect outfit—a sheet with apples on it! Self-expression and identity are explored in this fun picture book, perfect for kids who like to pick out their own outfits.
Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson
Leo wants to find a friend, but Leo is a ghost, and no one can see him. When a new family moves into the house he haunts, he tries to make friends with them, but they misinterpret his friendship overtures and seem to be afraid of him. He leaves the house and soon finds a little girl looking for a worthy knight. Leo is more than happy to pretend play with the girl, and the two become good friends. The blue and gray illustrations in this bittersweet picture book about friendships are beautiful, as always with Christian Robinson.
Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara
A little girl moves into a haunted house and knows just what to do with all those ghosts. She’ll wash the ghosts and turn them into curtains, sofa coverings, table cloths, and more! The orange, black, and white illustrations are adorable and help create a sweet and spooky Halloween read.
Samurai Scarecrow by Rubin Pingk
Kashi wants to do everything her big brother ninja Yukio wants to do, and it’s annoying. For Halloween, Yukio dresses up like a bird, and so does Kashi. He yells at her and she storms off, and he goes trick-or-treating with his ninja friends without her. But Kashi gets the ultimate revenge when she dresses up as a creepy scarecrow and scares her brother and his friends! This book is lots of fun, especially if you have a ninja-loving preschooler at home.
Pug & Pig Trick-or-Treat by Sue Lowell Gallion and Joyce Wan
The Pug and Pig books are all adorable, but this one may be my favorite. Pug and Pig have everything ready for Halloween—they’ve carved the pumpkins, a scarecrow is in the yard, and they’ve finished decorating—but when it comes time to put their costumes on, Pug refuses to wear his. Pig tries to trick-or-treat without him, but he misses his best friend! When the two find a messy and funny compromise, they finally enjoy Halloween together.
Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler and Will Terry
Bonaparte has a problem. His bones keep falling off and rolling away! How will he ever be able to go to school if he can’t keep his body together? His friends Franky Stein, Blacky Widow, and Mummicula all try to help, but to no avail. One day they see a dog with a bone, and they have an idea! Bonaparte trains the dog to retrieve his bones, and with the dog’s help, Bonaparte can go to school. This book is definitely the most unusual service dog story I’ve read. With lots of puns and cute illustrations, it’s a hit with preschoolers.
The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen
One Fall day Ollie and her cat pumpkin find a little kitten in a pile of leaves. The three have fun playing together while searching for the kitten’s home, but all of a sudden, Ollie realizes she’s lost her cat Pumpkin! The kitten leads Ollie down a path and to his house, and after Ollie returns the kitten, she goes back into the woods to find Pumpkin. She becomes lost, but soon enough, Pumpkin finds her and leads her home. This is an adorable picture book with beautiful illustrations in Halloween colors.
A Tiger Called Tomás by Charlotte Zolotow and Marta Álvarez Miguéns
In the first half of this picture book, Tomás moves to a new neighborhood where he doesn’t have any friends, and he’s too shy to play with his neighbors. As the seasons pass, Tomás watches each of his neighbors and the types of activities they do. For example, a little girl plays hopscotch, an older man walks his poodle. But Tomás is too shy to say hi to any of them. Then it’s time for Halloween! In his tiger costume, Tomás finds his bravery and approaches his neighbors. This book is both an excellent Halloween story and a fantastic story for kids to read who are moving. Miguéns’s illustrations are vivid and beautiful, and Zolotow’s prose is a great mix of dialogue and storytelling.
Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes and Yuyi Morales
This picture book features a lilting, rhyming Halloween poem that includes both English and Spanish: “Los gatos black with eyes of green, / Cats slink and creep on Halloween. / With ojos keen that squint and gleam— / They yowl, they hiss…they sometimes scream.” The illustrations by the fantastic Yuyi Morales are dark and often pretty creepy, making this an excellent read for preschoolers who enjoy a little darkness. There’s a glossary at the end of the book for the Spanish words, though the combination of illustration and prose makes the meaning clear for non-Spanish readers.
Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennet and Paul Meisel
The narrator’s little sister Tootie has sprouted teeth, and these are no ordinary teeth—they’re vampire teeth! His parents insist it’s normal for babies to bite everything when they’re teething, but the narrator knows better. His sister is a vampire, and the only thing to do is find a vampire family willing to adopt her. Siblings will find a lot to relate to in this funny picture book.
Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace and LeUyen Pham
Vampirina Ballerina is the first book in a series featuring a little vampire who loves ballet. In book one, she’s trying to learn ballet, but she’s so different from the other children in her class, and ballet is more challenging than she thought it would be. But with encouragement from her family and friends and with hard work, she learns the right steps. LeUyen Pham channels the Addams Family in his lovely, gothic illustrations, and the story is both fun and encouraging.
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