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.

rp_there-was-an-old-lady-who-swallowed-a-bat-240x300.jpg

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.

where_is_babys_pumpkin-300x300

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!

 

Color Sorting Sensory Tub

Halloween Sensory Activity with color sortingUsually when we do a sensory tub I don’t have a clear goal for it but with this mini one I did. This was a simple sorting activity that while focused on color sorting also naturally led to counting and comparing amounts. You don’t need to put this into a sensory tub but by adding the split peas I added sensory  and surprise elements that my daughter loved. When it was all done everything fit into a ziploc and can be taken back out for less structured play from now on.

Gather your materials. You will need some black and orange paper, black and orange creepy crawlies ( we used various spiders, ants, frogs, snakes etc… ) some split peas, and a container. I just grabbed the cheapest split peas at the store and didn’t notice until days later that there was a flavor packing with it. Just discard that if you have one unless you can think of a crafty way of using ham flavoring. If you do I am curious to hear it! creepy crawly color sorting

Pour the split peas in the container and hide the bugs etc… in it. creepy crawly sensory play

Place the paper on either side. creepy crawly color sorting halloween activity for kids

Invite your kiddo to come investigate. I didn’t have to tell her what to do , it was all right there and she naturally placed them on the matching color. As she did I did ask ” What are you discovering?” which started a discussion about that there were way more orange creepy crawlies than black. creepy crawly sensory play for halloween

Then she counted.creepy crawly halloween counting

Much time was also spent on just exploring the split peas. How they sounded when dropped back into the container from various heights and how some stuck to her hand if she squeezed them in her fist for a moment or two. creepy crawly sensory color sorting

Simple activities like these are my go to for short structured lessons. They still leave many doors open to let my daughter explore but include tid bits of more pointed learning. The vast majority of what we do is open child directed play and we fit in little activities like this 2-3 times a week. Kids don’t need giant blocks of structured learning at this age but if they like it and you want to work it in try playful ideas like this.

Books About Creepy Crawlies

All of our book titles are linked to Amazon with 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 !

two bad ants

Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg is a very interesting story of two ants who decide not to return to the colony and hang out in a sugar bowl eating instead. Of course nothing is as it seems and they have quite an adventure trying to avoid all the dangers of a kitchen, realizing in the end that being a part of a colony isn’t so bad! This is a cute book for preschoolers who will love trying to guess what each new adventure the ants face really are- they include a toaster, hot coffee and an electrical outlet.

i love bugs

 

I Love Bugs!by Phileomon Sturges is a rare find. It is listed as fiction but I would consider it as non fiction, as it really is a great factual book about bugs for older toddlers/ young preschoolers. It is really hard to find simple, short books that include facts and this one is perfect. It doesn’t go into the life cycles of butterflies or how lightning bugs light up, but it does use descriptive words with bright and charming illustrations. Great for the under 3 crowd, and useful for older kids too!

 

 

 

Monster Math Tray – Learning After School

preschool math Math is probably my son’s favorite subject right now and I am running with it. This monster math activity took 2 minutes to set up and could be used over and over . No need to buy anything other than paper and googly eyes! I like making simple tray activities like this that I can have ready for him at the table in the playroom to do after school. They are educational and appealing but not so long that he gets overwhelmed after a long day of school. As you will see my toddler demanded she get in on the action too, luckily this was easy to adapt to her level as well. For a fun variation check out how you can use dice for even more monster math over at Inner Child Learning.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some bright paper, googly eyes, a pencil ( if you want to use the monsters more than once) , and scissors. I also had a small cup and cookie tray to keep everything contained.
  2. Start by folding your paper in half and cutting out the shape of a monster. Best part is that they can be detailed or a blob , not need for extraordinary artistic skills! halloween math
  3. Next write simple math equations on the monster. If your child isn’t up to equations yet just do numbers. You can also do shapes and have your child place the eyes on the shapes. I used markers for the photos but If you want to use this more than once you can use pencil, or laminate the monsters and use dry erase markers.Counting
  4. All ready – now add a math wizard! He loves this . I love that while doing math he is also working on fine motor skills that he needs for writing.
  5. After he did addition we flipped it over and did some subtraction. He loved it too!
  6. ” I do it TOO!!!” To make it toddler friendly I only used the largest eyes, and wrote simple numbers on the monsters. My daughter still needed a little help as I thought she would but she was ecstatic to be doing big girl math with her big brother. All I know is she begged to do math. Let’s keep that spirit going right?monster craft

Monster Books

halloween books for kids

 Check out our round up of monster books for some reading after your math!

Halloween Math Activities for Kids

halloween crafts for kids These Halloween math activities for kids are a great way to add some extra learning to your day or for a class Halloween party. Math is a challenge for so many kids but if we can make it fun now before the challenge is too great then we can lay a positive foundation down to build upon for years to come.

Count & Fill Frankensteins
Halloween Graphing
Spider Counting Game from Loving My Nest
Candy Corn Counting
Haunted House Math
Halloween Patterns
Marshmallow Counting and Ghost Craft

 

Haunted House Math Activity

Using holidays like Halloween as a theme for great learning activities is a sure fire hit in my house. My daughter who is 2 is always excited to do any project but my almost 6 year old is a lot more picky. This Halloween math activity was such a hit that when I asked my son to rate it 1-100 he gave it a 100 without hesitation! Better yet it’s pretty easy to make , adapt for various levels and frugal too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper , markers , white card stock ( or paper plates !), scissors, painter’s tape and something to attach the house to a wall. I used push pins but more painter’s tape would work too.
  2. Cut out simple ghost shapes  from the paper plates / card stock. Add faces and numbers. I did 1-10 but you can write whatever numbers your child is working on.
  3. Draw a haunted house on craft paper. Mine took 3 tries the first was so bad I should have taken a picture to make you all laugh. The other ones became coloring paper for my toddler.
  4. Write out simple equations , number words or even just numbers to match up. You will see further down that for a toddler like my daughter you don’t even need anything to match. Just play with the numbers on the ghosts.
  5. Add painter’s tape to the ghosts and on the haunted house where you will place the equations.
  6. Add the equations to the house, put the ghosts next to it ready to be put in the house and call your little mathematician.
  7. As soon as my son saw the activity he said it was too easy and it probably was.  I grabbed my iPhone and asked him if he wanted me to time him. His face lit up. I don’t suggest timing children who don’t want to be timed or who will feel negatively pressured . Matching the words with the numbers on the ghosts was an easy task for my son but he has a competitive spirit and timing him made it more fun because it made it challenging.
  8. He flew through it. Placing the ghosts on top of the matching words.
  9. Next I switched the words on the house to simple equations. These were not going to be as easy and I told him for this time we would not be timing it.  I think that if I’d done the harder task first he would have gotten frustrated when a few of the harder equations didn’t come to him immediately.
  10. After my son was done I removed all the tape and equations so the house was clear , and put the ghosts back on the wall. Then invited my daughter who is 2 to come and put the ghosts in the haunted house. It was perfect for her. She grabbed the ghosts and named the numbers she knew and asked me to confirm the numbers she didn’t. She was very specific about where they should be. I was thrilled that they both had fun with math at their own levels of learning!

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!

This post contains an affiliate link.