Halloween Books That Won’t Give Your Kids Nightmares

halloween books not scaryYou wouldn’t know it by meeting my son today but as a really little guy he was super sensitive to scary things. I wasn’t ever sure we’d make it to Disneyland because he was terrified of people in big costumes. Like most phases of childhood just as I started re-reading my child psychology texts from college looking for insight the phase worked itself out. Some children are simply more sensitive from day one, and some like my son go through phases where they are working things through. Either way they should be able to have great books about Halloween that won’t provoke nightmares. The list below are all books that neither of my children or any of my former students have found scary. I still think it’s well worth a quick browse before reading and you can always click the title link ( affiliate link that takes you to amazon) to see more opinions from other parents.

As stated all book lists include affiliate links.

halloween books that aren't scary

Clifford’s First Halloween (Clifford the Small Red Puppy) by Norman Birdwell is a Halloween book that my son adored it as a toddler, there were many days when I read it multiple times. . The story is about the big red dog’s very first Halloween as a puppy. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth find costumes, they trick or treat and try candy apples too. I think what my son related to was that like little Clifford, he was often too little for things, made messes all the time, and has bigger people step in and fix everything for him.  This book doesn’t jump at me as a must read but I can’t ignore how much my son loved this book, so I have included it in the list.

inside a house that is haunted

 

Inside a House That Is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli was the hands down favorite Halloween book for my 3 year old class in 2005. I must have read this 200 times and even after Christmas had come and gone it was still requested all the time. The story is a rebus read along, so it is repetitive and it builds upon itself. This is great for children who are eager to “read along” before they are able to read words. The repetitiveness allows them to anticipate what is next and feel included. Very cute even after reading it so many times.

Peek-a-Boooo!

Peek-a-Boooo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti is a perfect toddler Halloween book. The premise is simple, each page has a well known Halloween character including a witch, skeleton,  and Frankenstein all hiding behind their hands playing peek-a-boo with the readers. The characters hands are flaps and when you lift them they reveal the character’s face – which is always sweet and happy , never scary.  At the end of the book there are more flaps to lift to reveal trick or treaters and the same Halloween characters hiding in their haunted house. My son loves this book too and  I think it’s a great completely gentle way to read about Halloween with toddlers.

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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro was a huge hit! It’s a reworking of the classic song ” There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” only this one swallows a whole bunch of Halloween creatures, like a goblin, ghost and of course a bat.  She continues to swallow bigger and bigger things much to my son’s amazement! He was giggling through the whole book and the end when the old lay belches he laughed hysterically. It was predictable but I have to admit was a really fun , silly read.

maisy's halloween

Maisy’s Halloween by Lucy Cousins is a cute board book for toddlers that follows Maisy’s search for the right Halloween costume. There is something about this little mouse that children just love. My daughter will reach for a Maisy book over just about any other if given a choice. The story is also a cute introduction about the fun we have dressing up for Halloween.

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Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?by Karen Katz. Is a Halloween favorite at our house and has been for years. I don’t think the book has ever been really put away since buying it when my son was a toddler. Karen Katz’s lift the flap books are more than just cute , the flaps and different textures keep little hands busy and little bodies calm enough to sit for the whole book.

ghosts in the house

Ghosts in the House!  by Kazuno Kohara is on my must buy list! A little girl moves into house and soon finds out it is haunted. Luckily she is a witch and knows just what to do. The ghosts in the story seem mischievous but never scary and even when she washes them in the washing machine, they are still smiling! My son loved this book, the text was the perfect length for a 3 year old, short but still descriptive.  I loved the simple  black and orange colors and had to look at the copyright twice because I was certain this was written sometime in the 30s, nope 2008. The simplicity of the book and colors is balanced so well with the little details like the little girl’s constant companion , a white cat that puts on a black costume when the little witch pops on her hat. This detail had my son in stitches, “Cats don’t wear clothes , silly cat!” .  Absolutely a perfect Halloween book for children not yet ready to be scared for fun!

it's pumpkin day mouse

It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse! (If You Give…) by Laura Numeroff is a Halloween themed book about emotions. Mouse is busy painting his pumpkins and paints different faces representing different emotions on each. This is a great little book that gives parents a wonderful opener to talk about different emotions when things are calm. There is one scary pumpkin but I doubt it will frighten any readers.

Halloween Day

Halloween Day by Anne Rockwell is another winner . I love this author because kids love her books, and the ones that she has collaborated with her daughter on are probably my favorites. Her daughter Lizzy is the illustrator and she won my son over with her cool pictures of costumes and Halloween décor , especially the little boy in the firefighter costume. The story is about a classroom celebrating Halloween but what I love is that it shows why each child chose to dress up in their individual costumes.  Huge hit at our house, perfect for the 2-5 crowd and not scary at all!

10 trick or treaters

10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman is one of my favorite Halloween books and both my children love it. We read it leading up to and well after Halloween last year. The premise is simple, a group of trick or treaters are pegged off one by one as they are scared by some Halloween creature.  Readers count down from 10 – 0 and  enjoy the bright detailed illustrations as they do. I particularly like the cute costumes and the final page which has another countdown with candy – always fun to count candy right?

mouses first halloween

Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson is a sweet and really well done book. The story follows a little mouse who is easily afraid of the many things on Halloween night , but one by one discovers that things like falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns and trick or treaters aren’t so scary after all. I love the repetition in this book and the illustrations by Bucket Erdogan epitomize the fall spookiness that Halloween nights are filled with. Thumbs up from my son and I .

creepy sleepy monsters

Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters by Jane Yolen is a sweet monster book with minimal text and very rich illustrations by Kelly Murphy.  The story is really about the daily wind down and bedtime for two monsters. You and your child will absolutely relate to them on one page or another ( or all). These little monsters are just like our little monsters resisting bedtime, trying to avoid baths… well you know the daily struggle. My daughter was not into the book but my son liked it even though I’d gear it towards the 2-4 crowd. We chose our favorite monsters on each page and found interesting details like the recipe for tentacle soup on the page where the mom is making dinner . Cute, your child will relate to it and it’s not at all scary!

 

Easy Bat Craft

easy bat craft This Halloween craft was so much fun to make. It’s quick which is really our only option most days, is it just me or do you get exponentially busier the older your kids get?  We’ve been meaning to get all Halloween crafty but time has been super short. This easy bat craft is the perfect quick Halloween craft for busy families. Don’t miss out on the books about bats after the craft tutorial.

Gather your materials. You will need some black paper or card stock, some googly eyes ( if you have red ones all the better), scissors, clothes pins, a silver sharpie or crayon, a black crayon, and glue. easy bat craft for kids

Start by having your child color the clothespin with the black crayon. Easy Bat Craft by no time for flash cardsThis is tricky for little guys but encourage them to try because it’s great practice controlling a writing tool. My 4 year old thought that it might be easier to peel the whole crayon but it wasn’t. Still I never stop her from peeling crayons because it’s such a great fine motor activity.bat craft for kids

While they do that you can cut out some bat wings and a bat head.I folded my black paper and made cut out the wings free hand the head is just a circle with two pointy ears. Do not worry about perfection. Older kids could  draw the head and wings and cut them out problem.easy bat craft for kids

Time to decorate the wings! A silver sharpie is a coveted item at our house and she loves using it for crafts, I love how it looks against the black paper.easy halloween bat craft

Glue eyes on the head. She opted to hold each tiny eye and add glue to it.simple bat craft for Halloween Such a change from her brother who would drop huge globs of glue onto things calling them bombs. easy bat craft for preschool

Clip the wings on and then clip on the head. The extra glue from the eyes should glue the clothespin shut but if there was no extra glue you can add a little dab to the clothespin.clothespin bat craft for kids

Let dry and display!clothes pin bat crafts I love using kid made Halloween crafts for decor, not only is it fun to bring them out year after year but it let’s your children show off their creations. Easy bat craft for kids

 

Books about Bats

All book lists include affiliate links.

stella luna

Stellaluna by Janell Canon has long been a favorite when teaching about bats. I will warn you it’s a little long for fidgety toddlers but they will still enjoy it even if you skip a few pages. The story follows a little bat who loses her mother and is adopted into a family of birds. She never really feels like she belongs even though she likes her bird family. That’s not the end though, there is a surprise reunion and Stellaluna saves the day before the end of this book.

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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro was a huge hit! It’s a reworking of the classic song ” There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” only this one swallows a whole bunch of Halloween creatures, like a goblin, ghost, and of course a bat.  She continues to swallow bigger and bigger things much to my son’s amazement! He was giggling through the whole book and the end when the old lay belches he laughed hysterically. It was predictable but I have to admit was a really fun , silly read. { Reviewed originally in 2009 when my son was 3 } 

My First Batman Book

My First Batman Book: Touch and Feel by David Katz. This is a rare find. A board book , a touch and feel no less,  about Batman. Trust me it’s rare, I squealed when I found it at the library and could not believe what a treat it was to read with both my kids. It’s not secret my son ( the one in the improvised Batman mask above) is into superheroes, he is also into books and I want to encourage that. However some of the books are so violent and I don’t want to expose him to all that at 4.5 , he is just too young for my comfort zone. For beginning readers there are some great I Can Read books but for even younger children pickings are super slim. Luckily there is this book. It’s sturdy, it’s age appropriate and it even glows in the dark. { Originally reviewed in 2010 }

Quick Link Supply List

Here are links to the supplies ( or similar ones) I used in the post above.  Supply lists include affiliate links.

Black Paper
Clothespins
Googly Eyes
Scissors
Elmer’s Washable No-Run School Glue
Sharpie Metallic

 

Share Your Halloween Crafts and Fall Activities For Kids! { Link up here! }

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October is one of my very favorite months and it’s almost half over!  I am loving teaching preschool and loving the days when I don’t teach and get to focus, really focus on my 4 year old. This week we cooked together a lot and made every puzzle we could find in our house including two geography puzzles. If you ever wonder what day to day life is like for us check out our Instagram , it’s not super exciting but it is real. What we haven’t done much of are Halloween crafts. I have them on my to do list for this week though.

Until then please share your Halloween crafts, fall activities, and more.



Spider Web Walking Spelling Game

spider web balance game for preschool One of our most popular posts ever is our Spider Web Walking and the other night while looking through pictures my 4 year old asked me if she could try that game. She was tiny when we did it the first ( and 2nd) times. So we got our stuff together and made a huge spider web to balance on but since my daughter had been asking to learn how to spell all her imaginary friends’ names I decided to turn it into a spelling game. You have to stay balanced on the web without stepping in the letters while you gather all the letters needed to spell the name ( or word). We were just matching up letters but when my son had his turn after he got home from school he had no visual as a guide, he just found the letters he needed and spelled the name without a guide. Easy to adapt is a must with a 4 and almost 8 year old.

Gather your materials. You will need some letter magnets ( or letters written out on paper), painter’s tape, card stock, a marker, scissors. Something that came up in a facebook thread is that children should be using lowercase letters. This will depend on the curriculum you are using. Some districts follow Upper than lower, some follow lower then upper and I personally have always followed the child. I teach my children to recognize the letters in tandem as well as my students. Letters in both forms are everywhere and recognizing them both is great. By the time children are working with word families they know both upper and lowercase letters, and I had uppercase ones on hand so I grabbed them. I wasn’t worried my daughter was getting confused, however in a class I would probably have shelled out more money and get some lowercase magnets! web walking spelling game

Start by writing out the names or words on card stock ( I use sentence strips from the dollar store). Cut so they are one per piece of card stock. web walking spelling activity

Tape out your spider web and add letters making sure you have put out the letters needed for the word you have asked your child to spell.spider web game

Start walking on the web.web walking gross motor activity

Balance to the word or name and read it. web walking for halloween game

Then gather the letters placing them on the written out word. web walking is fun gross motor activity for preschoolWhen every letter is matched up you walk off the web and let someone else have a turn or switch up words. web walking spelling game for kids

It’s very very tricky to bend down and get all the letters without touching extra letters but your kids will love the challenge! spider web walking game for kidsWe covered 3 names before having to run to the bus stop to get my son who promptly announced ” I did that before, let me try!” They kept playing happily long enough for me to get dinner started and read a little before any arguments began. web walking for elementary spelling game

 

Quick Link Supply List
This list is of the supplies I used ( or very similar). This list contains affiliate links.
Magnetic Wooden Alphabet
Sentence Strips
FrogTape

 

Books About Spiders

All our book lists include affiliate links.

spider

The Very Busy Spider was a favorite of my son’s from the get go. We have the board book edition and what I love about it, is that the spider web in it is raised and offers a sensory element to reading the story. This is a story of hard work, persistence and also helps reinforce animal sounds. Perfect for toddlers !

diary of a spider

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin is a very clever book with some pretty funny bits of humor . Older preschoolers will love it. The overall theme is that spiders aren’t all nasty and that they have fears too. What a great lesson for kids that are at the age where they are not as eager to share their fears because they don’t want to look weak or unable to handle things themselves.

missspider

Miss Spider’s Abc Book by David Kirk has the most vivid and beautiful illustrations. The text is simple and flows well but the value is in the illustrations, they cover all sorts of bugs and are so bright that they will appeal to your child!

Easy Painting Activities For Toddlers

art ideas for toddlers I was digging through my own archives the other night as I was lesson planning for my preschool class and found a bunch of posts I’d forgotten about. I found exactly what I needed for my lesson plans and decided to share some of what I found with you as well. These easy painting activities for toddlers are all great for children who are just starting to explore with art. They are open ended, easy to do with one or 10 kids, and let children explore. For more art ideas for toddlers ( and big kids) make sure you are following us on Pinterest and Facebook! 

Do you have a favorite art activity to do with toddlers? Link it up or tell me about it in comments. My children aren’t toddlers anymore but I am always looking for new ideas for my classroom.

art activities for toddlers

Cork Printing
Fly Swatter Painting
Baby Block Painting
Painting with Bugs

toddler painting activities for daycare
Sponge Painting
Pumpkin Printing
Letter Cookie Cutter Printing
Bath Poof Painting

easy painting ideas for toddlers
Splat Painting
Toy Track Painting
Cookie Cutter Prints
Garden Vegetable Printing

toddler printing and painting ideas for preschool
Pot Scrubber Painting
Rubber Duckie Printing
Feather Painting
Painting With Water

painting ideas for young toddlers
Animal Track Paintings
Glass Sponge Painting 
Potato Masher Painting
Painting With Sound