Classic Halloween Tales For Children
Which Titles Should I be Reading with my Child around Halloween?
First of all, it depends on the child and their preferred fiction but, if they are in the holiday spirit and enjoy scary stories, classics such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (1820) and The Witches by Roald Dahl (1983) are always fun and festive. In the gothic horror tradition, Irving’s story of Sleepy Hollow involves the protagonist, Ichabod Crane and the tale of the “Headless Horseman” in a small New York town.
Roald Dahl’s beloved The Witches is most well-known for the film adaptation starring Anjelica Huston (1990) but the book is also re-visited each year at Halloween by children and adults alike. The story revolves around a young English boy and his grandmother who, while on holiday, come across a society of women who seemingly hate children and are, in fact, a coven of witches! Although the subject matter is dark, it is also fantastical and playful while Quentin Blake’s illustrations make it increasingly fun and inviting.
Sometimes Reading Aloud Is Better When it comes to Spooky Stories rather Than Having Children Discover Subject Matter on their Own:
If a child is especially sensitive to certain creepy subject matter, reading aloud together is a wonderful idea. Books such as In A Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories (1984) and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981)—both by Alvin Schwartz—are collections of frightening stories and fables that have become tried and true favorites for fans but can be a little dicey as they are genuinely creepy. Although compiled for children, even some grown-ups find these stories macabre, so it’s a good idea to be able to skip around and discuss the subject matter before devouring an entire story before bedtime.
Which Books are Fun, Good for a Scare and Also Appropriate for Pre-Teens?
Some essential young adult literature has got to include the illustrious author Neil Gaiman. A favorite work of his is the 2001 novella Coraline that explores an “other world” filled with creepy opposites. Coraline is a fairytale that explores the life of a young girl and, with fantastical as well as eerie elements, is a satisfying read for pre-teens and a contemporary classic of young adult literature.
Goosebumps is a classic series of novels by R.L. Stine published by Scholastic. There are over 60 books in the original series (1992-1997) and have been heralded as funny as well as frightening entertainment for kids as well as pre-teens. Stine’s stories deal with everything from haunted fright masks, werewolves, vampires, ventriloquist dummies, swamps, and scarecrows so there’s no shortage of thrills and they’re perfect for voracious readers simply because there are so many Goosebumps books in print.
What If I’m Looking for Picture Books?
If you’re looking for fun images rather than simply a narrative, check out these beautifully illustrated children’s books. They tell an entertaining story and are filled with characters that are childhood favorites such as Clifford the big red dog, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang and the Berenstain Bears.
- The Berenstain Bears: Trick or Treat by Stan and Jan Berenstain (1989)
- What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss (hardcover published in 1997)
- Clifford’s Halloween by Norman Bridwell (1966)
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz (1967)
For more information regarding books mentioned in this blog along with other Halloween favorites, consult the websites listed below: