SMART List #8: Halloween stories for spooking (or smiling)

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Halloween was my favorite holiday growing up. No doubt about it. Every year my sister and I created killer haunted houses in our basement (Blindfolds, grapes, red food colouring, cooked noodles and vaseline… that’s all you need people- I swear). All of our friends came over after school and my mom threw the best halloween party any kid could imagine. After make-up and costuming, we would pile into the station wagon, and before heading into the happening hamlet of Schomberg, Ontario, we hit up all of the old farmer’s wives on our concession for embarrassingly generous offerings of treats (when you only get 3 kids at your door each Halloween, there is no place for stingyness).

Now, I am a city chick. But we live on the COOLEST street in Toronto when Halloween rolls around. Each year, a few houses down from us, a Halloween musical is performed by neighborhood adults and kids on a front lawn (stage, props, lights… last year a huge tv screen so that people could see from down the street). The show runs 3 times on Halloween night, and everyone who is anyone comes over to our place to check it out and to drink beer and eat pizza, skittles and wunderbars on the front porch. Naturally, I am a firm believer in Halloween kitsch. This year, our newest friend is a sparkly Halloween spider night-light. Who could resist?

But books… yes books (that’s what matters here). Below is a list of fab Halloween picture books – some spooky, some funny – all will get you ready for the big night.

The Highwayman (Visions in Poetry) – Alfred Noyes and Murray Kimber

The Follower – Richard Thompson

Hallowiener – Dav Pilkey

Slinky Malinky – Lynley Dodd

The Widow’s Broom – Chris Van Allsburg

Boris and Bella – Carolyn Crimi

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich – Adam Rex

Go Away Big Green Monster – Ed Emberley

The Graves Family – Patricia Polacco

Leonardo the Terrible Monster Mo Willems

The House that Drac Built – Judy Sierra

Winnie the Witch – Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul

Wolves in the Walls – Neil Gaiman


2 thoughts on “SMART List #8: Halloween stories for spooking (or smiling)

  1. Deb Lund

    Boo! Lizzy,

    I loved your Halloween book list for kids, and wanted to introduce you to my monsters. They’re too new to make the lists…

    Meet Stinky Stubb, Dirty Dugg, Gorbert, and Melvina, the craftiest crew of monsters ever to build a house. With hard hats and heavy machinery, these feisty fellas dig, dump, hammer, nail, and – after a surprise lunch of Mama’s special monsteroni and cheese – they even squeeze in time for an afternoon snooze. With backhoes, bulldozers, and mud mounds galore, here is a book that young construction enthusiasts will want to dig into over and over again.

    I’m a children’s author, certificated music and classroom teacher and librarian, and mom to three Wild Things. My newly-released picture book, MONSTERS ON MACHINES, from Harcourt, has a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

    When other toddlers were playing in their sandboxes, I got to sit on my dad’s lap and “dig” with his backhoe. When other kids were coloring, I spent hours dreaming up and sketching homes. When other teens were working at jobs around town, I held the funnel under the tractor while we made septic tanks, and concrete tables and benches. I designed and helped build the house I now live in. These days, the biggest rig I operate is a van full of soccer kids, and I construct books instead of houses, but I remember what it’s like to be a kid who grew up around construction.

    My kids never minded waiting through road construction stops — there was so much to see! When I was an elementary librarian, the construction books never stayed on the shelves, but all that was available was nonfiction books, and kids love stories. That’s why I wrote this rollicking rhyming book — for all the construction kids like me. Robert Neubecker’s art in the book is amazing. I can’t wait for you to see delightful house. You can read the review and learn more about me and the book at

    I can’t wait for you to meet my mud-mounding, nail-pounding monsterous crew!

    Monster hugs,

    Deb Lund

  2. shelfelf Post author

    Dear Deb,

    Many Congrats on your recently released book. I cannot wait to read it. It sounds like loads of fun and is sure to be a hit with the little guys on all fronts.

    I will be sure to pop by your site and check it out!

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