13 Spooky Picture Books

I love fall. I love the leaves changing color in our gorgeous mountains, pumpkin bread and hot cider, the crisp night air. I love decorating with pumpkins and cornstalks and the beautiful metal leaves that adorn my mantelpiece from now until it’s time to hang the Christmas stockings.

I have a nice collection of Christmas picture books, but for some reason I haven’t thought to collect good Halloween picture books — until this year. Here’s a sampling of the many titles found on the Halloween table at The King’s English Bookshop. I think I’ll start with at least one.

*Starred entry means local author or illustrator.


1. “Your Skeleton Is Showing: Rhymes of Blunder from Six Feet Under,” written by Kurt Cyrus and illustrated by Crab Scrambly.

This is my favorite new Halloween book discovery. The illustrations are stylized and playful, and the rhymes are really clever and really good — no awkward stretches to make a syllable or particular word work — so it’s easy to read aloud. For those who know poetry forms, it’s even more fun.

2. “The Hallowiener,” written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey.

Oscar the lovable dachshund is constantly teased by his peers until one Halloween when, dressed in a giant hot dog bun, he saves the day.

3. “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” written and illustrated by Tim Burton.

Fans of the movie will love this newly released edition of the original book celebrating the 20th anniversary of its publication. Though a bit text heavy for a picture book, Burton’s illustrations are worth every line.

4. “Zombelina,” by Kristyn Crow, illustrated by Molly Idle.

This book tells the story of a little zombie girl who loves to dance. Cheered on by a loving, ghoulish family and her teacher Madame Maladroit, she finds she can realize her dreams.*

5. “Little Monsters Cookbook,” recipes and photographs by Zac Williams.

This cookbook for kids, perfect for ages 6 and up, includes recipes for a fun Halloween party or dinner, from Wolfsbane Elixir to Creature Cupcakes.*

6. “Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody,” by Ludworst Bemonster, illustrated by Nathan Hale. 

A fun parody of the classic “Madeline” by Ludwig Bemelmans. Rick Walton and Nathan Hale have teamed up to create a new classic.*

7. “Ghost in the House,” written by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illustrated by Adam Record.

A ghost, mummy, monster, skeleton and witch all must leave the haunted house when they’re terrified by a young boy who shows up in his pajamas. The art and rhymes are just right for younger children.

8. “Where’s My Mummy?” by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by John Manders.

Little Baby Mummy wants one more game of hide-and-shriek with Big Mama Mummy. But when the sounds that go scritchy-scratchy in the night scare him, who will comfort him?

9. “Halloween Hustle,” written by Charlotte Gunnufson, illustrated by Kevan J. Atteberry.

Skeleton loves to dance and he’s on his way to a Halloween party. But can he stay in one piece until he gets there?

10. “Ollie’s Halloween,” written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea.

Part of the Gossie & Friends series, this sweet board book with its gentle art and message is a perfect book for a toddler.

11. “Crankenstein,” written by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Dan Santat.

Even though he looks like an ordinary little boy, when he’s faced with an early bedtime or a melting Popsicle, he turns into a grumpy, grumbly little monster. What the solution? The answer might just be found in an unexpected place.

12. “Click, Clack, Boo!” by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin.

Farmer Brown does not like Halloween. So he puts on his footy pajamas and climbs into bed. But his clever and mischievous barnyard animals have otherplans.

13. “Skeleton for Dinner,” by Magery Cuyler, illustrated by Will Terry.

A misunderstanding between what’s on the menu for dinner and who’s on the menu has this little skeleton on the run.*

This article first appeared in The Daily Herald on October 23, 2013.