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Halloween Books for Kids

5 books to get the kids excited for Oct. 31


October is all about Halloween, spooky stuff and the macabre moowuuha-haa-haah! of summer’s true descent into fall. Now, there’s been a HUGE proliferation of YA, teen, children’s and young-at-heart fiction of late in this vein. Genres overlap: straight-up horror is also quasi-fantasy/sci-fi/meta-steampunk terror, and monster materials encompass fey bloodsuckers and lycanthropes with Mormon undertones. Egad. A good bookseller can REALLY help here, especially with your very young children. Below are a few sterling titles, though: I’ll tweet more as well!

The Graveyard Book             

There’s nothing Neil Gaiman can’t do, and this gothic charm of a novel is a fine example. One of the better-crafted YA titles in recent years, with dark roots and unpleasant situations that will scare kids within the context of a ghostly, ghoulish framework. It’s an allegory that teaches: which is what ya want.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children               

First, don’t get Ransom Riggs’s work for your teen as an e-book: It’s a multimedial bonanza with photos, textural handwriting and craftily crafted story, so it demands a spot on your kid’s shelf (or your own). And yes, if you haven’t read The Night Circus, and liked this book, it’s time to pull the trigger on Erin Morgenstern’s work, too.


R.L. Stine cornered the market for years with this series, and still seems to be doing nicely. There are several dozen, and I doubt your children have missed them, especially around this time of year (they are naturals, along with Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events). If you want your child nose-deep in books for hours, then there are boxed sets galore (see above link)!

The Creepover Series

P.J. Night (ahem, identity unknown!) places a “creep-o-meter” on the back of each of these series books, so that young lady readers (or young gents, as well, I suppose) can find out how scary each is. Nice gimmick. Hmmm, maybe. Challenging, though, when you encounter the words “MEASURE YOUR FEAR” on a book’s back jacket. Hey, I’m in.


This just might be the most challenging book on this list. Madeleine Roux highlights (or rather, lowlights) her YA tale with photos of REAL asylums, ruins, haunted places, etc., including CT’s own Norwich State Hospital. Yep, so that means BIG spook factor. It’s recent, as well, so it’s state-of-the-art in terms of a crackling, word-of-mouth work you should check out, IMHO. Look for it for your younglings—if they haven’t got it already, that is.

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