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13 Not-So-Spooky Halloween Picture Books For Children

Updated: Sep 19

Costumes, spooky stories, tons of candy, and time with friends...there are so many things that make Halloween a fun time for all. Some children love the spookiness of the season, while others gravitate to less frightening aspects like candy corn and Reese's pumpkins. Well, candy corn can be frightening to some people. LOL.


No matter what the little readers in your life love about Halloween, they're sure to enjoy one or several of these diverse picture books. All of these books make great read-alouds and the accompanying illustrations will get imaginations flowing too.



The perfect Halloween gift for your baby or toddler!

With My Baby Loves Halloween, celebrate all the lovely things that Baby discovers about Halloween:

Baby loves the crisp autumn air.

Baby loves candles in pumpkins that grin.

Baby loves candy...


Celebrate all the sweet things that Baby discovers about Halloween. This Own Voices board book, the perfect gift for a new baby, features rhythmic poetry from Jabari Asim and adorable art from Tara Nicole Whitaker.

Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon



Celebrate Halloween in a special way with this bright, joyful board book.


The day is almost here! It's only "one more good night" until Halloween. As a child goes to sleep, they can't wait for all the fun that comes with celebrating their favorite holiday with their loved ones. They know the next day will be filled with the best Halloween decorations, treats, and costumes! Experience familial traditions in this sweet holiday primer.

Purchase: Bookshop




Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel—but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON'T let her be! Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus. Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. What's a girl to do? (Hint: Monsters HATE kisses!) The delightfully sweet ending will have every kid—and little monster—begging for an encore.


Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon




This winning debut picture book from Mexican artist Flavia Z. Drago about finding the courage to make friends is perfect for the spooky season -- or anytime.

Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters. Whenever he tries getting close to them, he realizes they just can't see him. Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves? With fancifully detailed artwork and visual humor, debut picture-book creator Flavia Z. Drago's vivid illustrations tell a sweet and gently offbeat story of loneliness, bravery, and friendship that is sure to be a treat for little ghouls and goblins everywhere.

Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon





Award-winning storyteller Donna L. Washington has cooked up a delightfully spooky tale in this imaginative twist on the classic Goldilocks.


Curly Locks is a good-hearted girl, but she's an awful cook. All the townspeople of Toadsuck Swamp know to steer clear of her peculiar dishes--like batwing brownies and toad eye toffees. So it's quite a mystery when one of her dishes goes missing from her windowsill.


Next morning, chaos breaks out in town and word spreads how the Scares of Toadsuck Swamp are running wild and terrorizing the town at mealtime. They shriek Gitchey Boo, Gitchey Bon! Gitchey Goo, Gitchey Gone! and send folk running for their lives! But Curly Locks isn't frightened, and she has an inkling her unsavory cooking can help corral those Scares for good.


Exercising tremendous narrative skill, internationally known storyteller Donna L. Washington breathes a spirited new life into an old classic. Her clever, can-do protagonist and joyful language pair brilliantly with Jeffrey Ebbeler's fantasy-like illustrations. This enchanting read is a treat for any time of the year!

Purchase: Bookshop




New York Times bestselling author Tracey Baptiste and acclaimed illustrator Amber Ren take readers on a fun, creepy, storytime-ready romp through a forest filled with creatures from Caribbean folklore.


I'm looking for a jumbie, I'm going to find a scary one.

But Mama says jumbies exist only in stories. So Naya sets out on a nighttime adventure to find out for herself.

No such thing, say the friends she makes along the way.

But Naya is sure that jumbies are real. Some have big mouths. Or thick fur. Or glowing skin. Or sharp teeth. Kind of like her new friends....


Looking for a Jumbie is a gentle, bouncy, and creepily fun read-aloud inspired by traditional Caribbean tales.

Purchase: Bookshop





Follow los monstruos and los esqueletos to the Halloween party in this bilingual poem written by Marisa Montes, with illustrations by award-winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales


Under October's luna, full and bright, the monsters are throwing a ball in the Haunted Hall. Las brujas come on their broomsticks. Los muertos rise from their coffins to join in the fun. Los esqueletos rattle their bones as they dance through the door. And the scariest creatures of all aren't even there yet!


This lively bilingual Halloween poem introduces young readers to a spooky array of Spanish words that will open their ojos to the chilling delights of the season.


Los Gatos Black on Halloween is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year, the winner of the 2008 Pura Belpre Medal for Illustration and a Pura Belpre Honor Book for Narrative.


Award-winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales is the author of Caldecott Honor and Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Medal-winning Viva Frida, Pura Belpré (Illustration) Medal and Pura Belpré (Narrative) Honor book Los Gatos Black on Halloween, stunning bilingual bedtime story Little Night/Nochecita, Rudas: Niño's Horrendous Hermanitas, and other picture books for young readers. She also illustrated Thunder Boy Jr., written by Sherman Alexie.

Purchase: Bookshop




We are ninjas and ninjas are brave! Willa and her best friends love ninjas. They have matching ninja backpacks and ninja t-shirts, and at school they even form a ninja club. But Willa has a secret: she’s a werewolf! Worried that no one will understand, she hides the truth from her friends. Until Val has a sleepover for her birthday…and it’s on the night of the full moon.


Willa is overcome with nerves. When an accident reveals that her friends were hiding secrets too, she realizes maybe it’s not so important to be a normal ninja. After all, a paranormal ninja can do so many cool things!


Join three remarkable friends as they discover that ALL of us are weird in our own special ways. Lovable and lively illustrations accompany this charming story that explores facing your fears and fitting in, encouraging readers to celebrate their true selves.

Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon





Bonny Becker and Mark Fearing join forces for a deliciously spooky story -- with a twist ending that'll leave readers hungry for more.


When the Thirteen bus pulls up one dreary, stormy evening, something about it doesn't seem quite right. The driver grins down with a mouthful of long, white teeth, and there's barely any room to sit, but Michael McMichael is bringing his gran something very dear, so he gets on board despite his misgivings. But as they travel on and the rest of the passengers get off, Michael realizes there's nothing normal about this bus -- and the driver is getting creepier by the minute. Best-selling author Bonny Becker's cleverly rhyming text will chill and thrill readers alongside Mark Fearing's wonderfully funny illustrations, making this book perfect for Halloween story times -- and lovers of things that go bump in the night.

Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon




"Oh moon so full, round, and bright

We beg one favor of you tonight

For witches who tattle, witches who snitch,

Tie their tongues, zip their lips

No witch shall squeal or tell on friends.

This spell will be broken when the snitching ends "


Tattling is an all too familiar occurrence among children that can have harmful impacts on friends and relationships. This spellbinding story encourages children to examine the difference between snitching and telling, and the impact of their words on others.


Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more information about snitching versus telling and what adults can do to help.

Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon




The creators of Pick a Pine Tree are back with a joyful, energetic celebration of a Halloween tradition.

Pick a pumpkin from the patch. Tall and lean or short and fat. Vivid orange, ghostly white, or speckled green, might be just right.


Pairing a wonderfully rhythmic read-aloud text with expressive retro illustrations, author Patricia Toht and illustrator Jarvis capture all the excitement and familial feeling of a favorite holiday tradition. Readers will be happy to follow along with each step, from picking out the perfect specimen at the pumpkin patch (be sure to stop for cider and toffee apples) to carting it home, scooping out the insides, carving a scary face, and finally lighting a candle inside -- savoring the familiar ritual of transforming an ordinary pumpkin into a one-of-a-kind glowing jack-o'-lantern.

Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon




NY Times bestselling author Cory Doctorow and illustrator Matt Rockefeller present a sweetly scary picture book about a girl whose monster-catching activities delay her bedtime.


A monster slayer needs no bedtime!

Once her parents are off to bed, Poesy excitedly awaits the monsters that creep into her room. With the knowledge she's gained from her trusty Monster Book and a few of her favorite toys, Poesy easily fends off a werewolf, a vampire, and much more. But not even Poesy's bubblegum perfume can defeat her sleep-deprived parents!

Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon




Fans of Room on the Broom and How to Catch a Monster will love this creepy-cute tale about one pumpkin who must learn to embrace his differences when he realizes he's unlike the other pumpkins. Perfect for Halloween!


Christopher Pumpkin is not like all the other evil pumpkin spawn of the wicked old witch. Christopher prefers cupcakes and hugs to cobwebs and slugs, unlike the rest of the pumpkin brood.


But when the creepy clan starts planning the SCARIEST Halloween party ever, Christopher's cheerful ideas for décor and treats cause a bit of a stir. Can he find a way to scare everyone and stay true to himself?

Purchase: Bookshop or Amazon




Your turn! Which books would you add to this list? Let us know.




Video Read Aloud

Flavia Z. Drago reads GUSTAVO, THE SHY GHOST (Spanish)





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