The Ultimate Halloween Book List

Book Hauls | October 14, 2020

20+ Best Halloween Books for Kids

What part of Halloween do your kids like best? The chance to scare or be scared? The bags full of candy after a successful night of trick-or-treating? No matter what side of the spooky holiday they’re looking forward to, there is plenty to read as they eagerly await Halloween night.

Here are a few of our favorite scary (and not-so-scary) books:

 

Treats—for kids who are in it for the laughs (and the candy):

1. Stick Dog Craves Candy by Tom Watson

Scare Rating: 1

Stick Dog and the gang are on their usual hunt for food, but there is something unusual going on. Little humans are dressed up as creepy witches and spooky ghosts, all carrying big orange buckets!

Their search leads them to something unexpected and delicious and sweet—candy! Once they get a taste, they will stop at nothing to get more. The gang will have to avoid terrifying witches and even escape a creepy haunted house! Will Stick Dog’s smarts, courage, and patience be enough to lead his buddies to the best treats ever?

 

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2. Hamstersaurus Rex by Tom O’Donnell

Scare Rating: 1

When a mysterious growling hamster appears at the back of his class, Sam knows just what to call him: Hamstersaurus Rex. Sam tries to protect Hammie from an overzealous Hamster Monitor, and from the meanest bully in the history of Horace Hotwater Middle School. The bully isn’t afraid of some weird little class pet. But maybe he should be. Hamstersaurus Rex is no ordinary hamster.

  • Also check out Books #2-4. Now available!

 

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3. Laugh-Out-Loud Spooky Jokes for Kids by Rob Elliott

Scare Rating: 1

Rob Elliott’s irresistible comedic genius returns to make your little ghosts and goblins laugh with nonstop puns, jokes, and other absurdities about everything that goes bump in the night. This refreshing classic is a perfect fit for the entire family to enjoy together!

 

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4. My Weird School Special: It’s Halloween, I’m Turning Green! by Dan Gutman

Scare Rating: 2

It’s Halloween, and you know what that means! Candy! Costumes! More candy! What would happen if a kid ate a million hundred pounds of chocolate in one night? One thing’s for sure—when A.J. and his friends from Ella Mentry School go trick-or-treating, it will be a Halloween to remember.

 

 

 

 

5. Henry & Eva and the Castle on the Cliff by Andrea Portes

Scare Rating: 2

Prominent Environmentalist and Oceanographer Die in Boating Accident

This is the headline that changes Henry and Eva’s lives. Their parents, environmentalist William Billings and his oceanographer wife Margo, disappear mysteriously at sea.

But for Henry and Eva, things are about to go from bad to worse. Their jerk-face uncle (nicknamed Claude the Clod) and his awful girlfriend (Terri the Terrible) have moved into their big house on the cliff to “take care of them,” but Eva has her doubts about their intentions.

And when some spooky visitors appear with a message, they realize that their parents’ deaths might not have been as cut and dry as everyone thinks.

It’s up to Henry and Eva to discover the truth—but can they do it before the Clod catches them?

  • Also check out Book #2: Henry & Eva and the Famous People Ghosts. Now available!

 

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6. Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain by Zac Gorman

Scare Rating: 2

In the absurd land of Nth, Thisby Thestoop can be found within the forlorn walls of Castle Grimstone, down the precarious steps of the Black Mountain dungeon, up to her nose in griffon toenails, gnoll spittle, and troll meat (to give to them, not made of them).

When the prince and princess arrive for a Royal Inspection, the much too good-looking Princess Iphigenia winds up lost in the tunnels of the dungeon—without her guards, her staff, or her younger twin brother—and it’s up to Thisby to guide the princess safely past the hoards of minotaurs, wyverns, ghouls, and who-knows-what-else that would love nothing more than to nosh the royal highness for dinner.

  • Also check out Book #2: Thisby Thestoop and the Wretched Scrattle. Now available!

 

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7. Monsters Unleashed by John Kloepfer

Scare Rating: 3

Freddie Liddle has a big problem: Monsters. Giant, fire-breathing, electric-shocking, bone-crunching monsters are attacking his town. Even worse, it’s Freddie’s fault. After drawing monsters based on the meanest bullies in his class, Freddie used his school’s 3D printer to make models of them. But the last thing he expected was that the monsters would come to life and keep growing, and GROWING, and GROWING.

There’s just one way to stop these oversize beasts: recruit the bullies, since only they know how the monsters think. But teaming up with his worst enemies is Freddie’s worst nightmare. Can Freddie make friends with his bullies and save his town, or will the monsters have the final ROAR?

  • Also check out Book #2: Monsters Unleashed: Bugging Out. Now available!

 

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8. The Supernormal Sleuthing Service: The Lost Legacy by Gwenda Bond & Christopher Rowe

Scare Rating: 3

Stephen’s dad has moved their two-person family across the country to New York City, where he is taking over as head chef in an exclusive hotel. A hotel that has the most elite of clientele: monsters (though they prefer to be called supernormals). Surprise! And an even bigger surprise? Stephen is part supernormal himself.

When a magical family heirloom is stolen and Stephen is framed, he must work with two new friends to navigate this whole new world and clear his name. After all, consequences can be dire in the world of monsters.

  • Also check out Book #2: The Supernormal Sleuthing Service: The Sphinx’s Secret. Now available!

 

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9. Monsterstreet: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf by J.H. Reynolds

Scare Rating: 3

Max Bloodnight can’t decide what’s more terrifying about his weekend in Wolf County—the fact that he has to stay with grandparents he’s never met before or being stuck on a farm without cell service. If only that was all he had to fear.

Determined to solve the mystery of his father’s death, which occurred years before at the claws of a legendary werewolf, Max must hunt to uncover the truth before the full moon rises . . . and the werewolf strikes again.

  • Also check out Books #2-4. Now available!

 

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10. Estranged by Ethan M. Aldridge

Scare Rating: 4

Edmund and the Childe were swapped at birth. Now Edmund lives in secret as a changeling in the World Above, his fae powers hidden from his unsuspecting parents and his older sister, Alexis. The Childe lives among the fae in the World Below, where being a human makes him a curiosity at the royal palace.

But when the cruel sorceress Hawthorne seizes the throne, the Childe and Edmund must unite on a dangerous quest to save both worlds—even if they’re not sure which world they belong to.

  • Also check out Book #2: Estranged: The Changeling King. Now available!

 

11. Goldeline by Jimmy Cajoleas

Scare Rating: 4

In the wild, free woods of the Hinterlands, where magic is as real as stories are, Goldeline travels from camp to camp with Gruff and his bandits, getting by on the things they steal from carriages that pass through the woods.

But someone is after Goldeline. The same man who wants to cleanse the Hinterlands of anyone who’s different—and who convinced the overzealous Townies that her mother was a witch—suspects that Goldeline might be a witch, too.

Now Goldeline must summon all the courage and magic she got from her momma to escape her pursuers, save her friends, and maybe even find a place to call home.

  • Also check out The Rambling by Jimmy Cajoleas. Now available!

 

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12. Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp

Scare Rating: 4

Ivy Pocket is a walking disaster, at every turn enraging and appalling the aristocrats she works for. But our protagonist doesn’t see herself that way at all. In fact, she’s convinced that she’s rather wonderful, perfectly charming, and extremely talented. When Ivy finds herself abandoned and penniless in Paris, she has no idea how she will get back to England. Fate intervenes when Ivy is called to the sickbed of a dying duchess and is charged with delivering a spectacular (and possibly cursed) diamond necklace to Matilda Butterfield on her twelfth birthday. From that moment on, Ivy Pocket is propelled towards her remarkable destiny in a surprising adventure full of intrigue, villains, mayhem, and misunderstandings.

  • Also check out Books #2-3. Now available!

 

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Tricks—for kids who are in it for the scare:

 

13. School of the Dead by Avi

Scare Rating: 6

For most of Tony Gilbert’s life, he has thought of his uncle as “Weird Uncle Charlie.” That is, until Uncle Charlie moves in with Tony and his family. Uncle Charlie is still odd, of course—talking about spirits and other supernatural stuff—but he and Tony become fast friends, and Tony ends up having a lot of fun with Uncle Charlie.

When Uncle Charlie dies suddenly, Tony is devastated. Then he starts seeing Uncle Charlie everywhere! It doesn’t help that Tony switched schools—it was Uncle Charlie’s dying wish that Tony attend the Penda School, where Uncle Charlie himself went as a kid. The Penda School is eerie enough without his uncle’s ghost making it worse. On top of that, rumors have been circulating about a student who went missing shortly before Tony arrived. Could that somehow be related to Uncle Charlie’s ghost?

 

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14. Shadow School #1: Archimany by J.A. White

Scare Rating: 6

Cordelia Liu knew Shadow School was going to be different. Still, she didn’t expect the school grounds to be filled with ghosts.

Cordelia soon realizes she’s not the only one who can see the ghosts; her new friend Benji can too. Together with super-smart Agnes, the trio are determined to find out why the ghosts are there, and whether there’s a way to set them free.

But the school was created with more sinister intentions, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the ghosts remain trapped forever.

  • Also check out Book #2: Shadow School: Dehaunting. Now available!

 

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15. Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge

Scare Rating: 6

Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills while pursuing local bayou banshees and Johnny revenants.

With her animal familiar sure to make itself known any day now, the only thing left to do is prove to the council she has heart. Then she will finally be declared a true haunt huntress, worthy of following in the footsteps of her long line of female ancestors.

But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots.

 

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16. Watch Hollow by Gregory Funaro

Scare Rating: 7

Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch Hollow stands the once-grand Blackford House, whose halls hold a magical secret: a giant cuckoo clock that does much more than tell time. But when the clock’s gears cease to turn, an evil presence lurking among the trees begins to come out of the shadows.

When Lucy and Oliver Tinker arrive in Watch Hollow, they have no idea that anything is wrong. A mysterious stranger has made their father an offer that’s too good for him to refuse. All Mr. Tinker needs to do is fix the clock at Blackford House and fistfuls of gold coins are his to keep.

It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that there is more to Blackford House than meets the eye. And before they can entirely understand the strange world they’ve stumbled into, Lucy and Oliver must join forces with a host of magical clock animals to defeat the Garr—a vicious monster that not only wants Blackford House for itself, but also seeks to destroy everything the Tinkers hold dear.

  • Also check out Book #2: Watch Hollow: The Alchemist’s Shadow. Now available!

 

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17. A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballarini

Scare Rating: 7

When middle schooler Kelly Ferguson’s Halloween plans switch from party-going to babysitting, she thinks the scariest part of her night will be the death of her social life. But then Baby Jacob gets kidnapped by the Boogeyman’s minions and Kelly learns there’s a whole lot more to childcare than free snacks and Netflix. Like chasing shadow monsters, drop-kicking Toadies, and mastering monster-fighting moves like the Naptime Headlock and Playground Punch.

Now, with the help of an ancient handbook and a secret society of butt-kicking babysitters, Kelly sets out to destroy the Boogeyman before he brings Jacob’s nightmares to life. But when the monsters’ trail leads to her school’s big Halloween bash, Kelly will have to prove she can save the world—without totally embarrassing herself in front of her friends.

  • Also check out Books #2-3. Now available!

 

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18. City of Islands by Kali Wallace

Scare Rating: 7

In a foggy archipelago called the City of Islands, twelve-year-old Mara has always been fascinated by the magic that drifts on the air as songs. But as a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides, Mara must earn her keep by searching for magical treasures deep in the murky ocean.

Then Mara finds the skeletons of strange hybrid creatures that haven’t existed in the city for centuries—all humming with a powerful spell-song. Convinced her discovery will earn her the opportunity to study magic, Mara shares them with the Lady. But instead of a reward, the Lady gives Mara a new challenge: to sneak into the island fortress, the Winter Blade.

Now Mara must dive deeper than ever before to survive her mission. The chilling truths that Mara uncovers along the way, about her past as well as about the secrets of her beloved city, are more dangerous—and magical—than she ever imagined.

 

19. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Scare Rating: 7

Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he’s the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians’ time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.

Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?

 

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20. Camp Murderface by Saundra Mitchell and Josh Berk

Scare Rating: 7

The year: 1983. The place: Ohio. The camp: Scary as heck.

Camp Sweetwater is finally reopening, three decades after it mysteriously shut down. Campers Corryn Quinn and Tez Jones have each had more than enough of their regular lives—they’re so ready to take their summer at Sweetwater by storm.

But before they can so much as toast one marshmallow, strange happenings start…happening. Can they survive the summer? Or will Camp Sweetwater shut down for good this time—with them inside?

 

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21. Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

Scare Rating: 8

Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely.

The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?

  • Also check out Book #2: Spirit Hunters: The Island of Monsters. Now available!

 

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22. Nightbooks by J.A. White

Scare Rating: 8

Alex’s original hair-raising tales are the only thing keeping the witch Natacha happy, but soon he’ll run out of pages to read from and be trapped forever. He’s loved scary stories his whole life, and he knows most don’t have a happily ever after. Now that Alex is trapped in a true terrifying tale, he’s desperate for a different ending—and a way out of this twisted place.

 

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23. Scream and Scream Again! by R.L. Stine

Scare Rating: 9

Read it if you dare! With twenty never-before-published scary stories from some of the most popular authors today—including Chris Grabenstein, Wendy Corsi Staub, Heather Graham, Peter Lerangis, R.L. Stine, Bruce Hale, Emmy Laybourne, Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Morton, Ray Daniel, Beth Fantaskey, Phil Mathews, Carter Wilson, Doug Levin, Jeff Soloway, Joseph S. Walker, Alison McMahan, Daniel Palmer, Tonya Hurley, and Stephen Ross—it’s sure to leave readers screaming for more.

 

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24. The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White

Scare Rating: 9

When Kara Westfall was five years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic…except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr’s Realm. But mostly it’s called the Thickety.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.

And that is just the beginning of the story.

  • Also check out Books #2-4. Now available!

 

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25. The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Scare Rating: 9

I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.

 

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26. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Scare Rating: 10

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a timeless collection of chillingly scary tales and legends, in which folklorist Alvin Schwartz offers up some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time.

  • Also check out Books #2-3. Now available!

 

 

 

 

27. Don’t Turn Out the Lights by Jonathan Maberry

Scare Rating: 10

Flesh-hungry ogres? Brains full of spiders? Haunted houses you can’t escape? This collection of 35 terrifying stories from the Horror Writers Association has it all, including ghastly illustrations from Iris Compiet that will absolutely chill readers to the bone.

So turn off your lamps, click on your flashlights, and prepare—if you dare—to be utterly spooked!

 

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