Skeletons, Vampires and Pumpkins! Halloween Books.

In our last post we featured two books that I think are very scary but these books today are not , they a fun Halloween books to get excited ( like they need to get more excited!) about Halloween.

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.

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler is a silly book about a skelleton who can not get rid of the hiccups. He tries all the old tricks , which probably won’t be old to your kids… I spent a lot of time explaining them to my son while we read . The story is simple and parents will find it predictable but kids find it silly and fun, and that is what matters.

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?by Karen Katz. This lift and flap book is the newest addition to our Karen Katz collection. My son adores these books. I read this in the check out line 3 times and he was asking for more before I could get my groceries in the fridge. I like this book because it’s a cute and gentle introduction to Halloween and all the creatures that go along with it. Also there are fun textures to many of the illustrations which help keep little hands busy! This book has been passed down to my daughter who likes it just as much as her brother who I thought would be too old for this book but somehow whenever his sister climbs into my lap with it he demands to lift every seconf flap!

Mouse’s Halloween Party by Jeanne Modesitt is a really sweet book, and I am glad I grabbed it at the library yesterday. Mouse is planning a big Halloween party but when he gets to his friend Pig’s house his plans go awry. This is a great book for kids like my son who get very very upset when something unexpected happens. We spent a long time talking about every stage of this story and felt great when it was done. I may have to buy this book, or at least renew it a few times! The text isn’t short but the story is interesting enough to keep your child interested. I love the discussion that this book prompted and would encourage anyone to read this book!

Vunce Upon a Time by J. otto Siebold and Siobhan Vivian is a cute story about a vegetarian vampire who has a weakness for candy. After he runs out of candy he decides to try trick or treating, although he is apprehensive because he’s afaid of humans. My son loved the story, laughing at the vampire being afraid of humans, throwing a tantrum when his parents said he couldn’t go trick or treating and wanting to dress up as  a clove of garlic .  He ends up going ( with parental blessing) and ends up getting so much more than candy.

Not Too Gross – Eye Ball Painting

marble painting

No I am not suggesting your kids paint their eyeballs, but rather paint WITH eyeballs ( or balls that look like eyeballs). This is a simple and fast activity that is perfect for the goulish , gross out season upon us without being too icky for more squeamish kids. Be mindful of doing this with kids who are still putting things in their mouths, opt for bigger balls for them, if it can fit in their mouth get a new ball that can’t.

    1. Gather your materials. You will need some liquid paint in your kiddo’s favorite colors ( this is also a great color mixing activity if you want to throw a lesson in to it), some eyeball bouncy balls ( found in Halloween section of 3 big box stores I have been to), paper and a box or container.

    1. Pop the paper in.
    2. Pour in the paint

    1. Add the eye balls – we added a bunch at a time!
    2. Paint! Roll the eyeballs around in the box and watch them paint.
    3. We added more paper after the first one and rolled off the excess paint, I like this painting better!

  1. Let dry and hang up where your kids can show it off!

Two Scary Books

Twelve Terrible Things by Marty Kelley is horrifying to me, yet my son loves this book. He must have slipped it in our library bag because I have no recollection of choosing this book, and I didn’t pre read it when we got home. By then it was too late, my son was hooked on the dark humor this book delivers. The book offers up 12 terrible things, like a scary clown, a goldfish on it’s way down the toilet and monsters under the bed . The illustrations are all from the reader’s view point so the scary things are looking right at you! I am easily scared , I can’t watch horror film trailers without getting nightmares. I screamed twice reading this , my son just wanted “more more!” . I really don’t recommend this book for young kids although some older ones who like scary things will love it.

The Book That Eats People  by John Perry makes me laugh hysterically , so hard it was hard at times to read the words but it’s really really gruesome. This is not a book for kids that are squeamish, prone to imaginative nightmares or anxiety about death. That said if your child can handle a little funny horror, they will love this book. The story follows this human eating book as it wreaks havoc and gobbles people up! I beg parents to pre read this because it may be hilarious to me and my macabre little man but it may seriously frighten your child.

Frankenstein Halloween Craft

I get asked for craft ideas for older kids from time to time especially around holidays and special occasions like Halloween. When I picked up some sparkly sticky back foam I immediately knew I had to use it to make some kind of Frankenstein!   I decided on a magnet because it can be used at home in the kitchen ( yay, no tape or push pins in the wall) , in a locker at school or wherever else you choose. It’s a fast craft for older kids and would work great as a Halloween party activity too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some green and black sparkly sticky back foam, scissors, 2 wiggly eyes, glue and a magnet. I recycle the free magnets we get as promotions for things like furnace repair and pizza parlors.
  2. Start by cutting out a face shape in the green foam. Remember to make the top flat.
  3. Glue the magnet on the back and set aside to dry.
  4. While that is drying cut the black foam into a rectangle as wide as the top of the head. Make cuts on one side to make spiky hair.
  5. Cut a long strip ( almost as wide as the chin of the monster) out of the black, and several smaller strips.
  6. Cut two triangles out of the black as well , snip the top point off.
  7. Start peeling the backings off. Only peel off as much as will be touching the green foam. Start with the hair add it to the face ( the glue should be dry enough to turn the face over without the magnet falling off, if it does pop it back on and wait.
  8. Next add the long strip ( the mouth) and the small strips across it. 
  9. Add the ears ( well really they are bolts, but they are about where people’s ears are). Again only peel back the backing for the part that is touching the green foam.
  10. Glue on the eyes. Let dry completely.

Your little ghoul too young for this craft? Try our preschooler friendly Paper Roll Frankenstein instead.

Monster Books

Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler is a silly rhyming book about a monster who isn’t interested in scaring you, but rather cleaning up your messes. Readers follow along as the monster creeps through the house finding messes and tidying up. I personally loved it when the monster stepped on blocks, who reading this with kids hasn’t stepped on toys like Lego and screamed in pain?! I know I do, a lot so that part resonated with me . The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are done at funky angles and perspectives and adds a lot to the text. It’s not scary at all and a great monster choice for more fearful kids.

Molly’s Monsters by Teddy Slater is a counting book in monster’s clothes. The book is about a little girl named Molly who is just trying to sleep when her room is flooded with monsters. They come in progressively larger groups and my son liked  counting to make sure the text was correct. My favorite part was that the first monster to arrive and the last to leave , never does leave and instead snuggles into bed with Molly. I also like that to get these pesky visitors to leave she turns on the light and makes a scary face and scares them. Clever.

When a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor is funny, my son didn’t find it as funny as I did but he still laughed and didn’t seem scared any of it. The story is about a monster and all the life changing choices he faces every day like whether to eat a principal or run through a wall of a school. This book feels like a choose your own adventure book, it’s fun , repetitive and silly. There is quite a bit of talk about monsters eating people , though nothing too gory.

Rock Jack-O-Lanterns

halloween craft

Kids love to paint rocks. If the weather is nice take this craft outside and enjoy the sun before it’s gone for the winter. If you want to make them water proof you will need to spray the finished rock with clear varnish . I skipped the step because I personally dislike the smell of varnish enough not to bother, but you can find it at any hardware/ craft store.

  1. Gather your materials, you will need some large rocks, painters tape, orange paint, a jar, white glue and a paint brush.
  2. Tape off a cool face for each- press the painters tape down carefully so there are no bubbles. * Edited to add this is an adult job if you want it precise, tape is frustrating to cut and even I was having a hard time.  I offered one rock to my son but he declined. Have extras on hand if they want to do it themselves but you think they will be disapointed or frustrated if they don’t make one look like a jack-o-lantern.
  3. Mix you paint with white glue.  I am mixing them together to stop the washable paint from “dusting” off the rock. In the past washable kids paint has all but fallen off the rocks. If you are varnishing them skip this. The glue does not make it water proof, so don’t pop it in your garden.
  4. Start painting!
  5. Let dry for a few minutes and add another coat.
  6. Let dry and peel off the tape. I used a paring knife to carefully peel it off.

Halloween Books !

Mouse’s Halloween Party by Jeanne Modesitt is a really sweet book, and I am glad I grabbed it at the library yesterday. Mouse is planning a big Halloween party but when he gets to his friend Pig’s house his plans go awry. This is a great book for kids like my son who get very very upset when something unexpected happens. We spent a long time talking about every stage of this story and felt great when it was done. I may have to buy this book, or at least renew it a few times! The text isn’t short but the story is interesting enough to keep your child interested. I love the discussion that this book prompted and would encourage anyone to read this book!

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 decor , 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!

Moonlight: The Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant is a relaxing book about a little black cat named Moonlight and her Halloween night. I love the illustrations and how they seem to glow! Every page offers a new perspective and even though the story is set on a spooky night there is nothing to be afraid of.  The text itself is simple, calming  and there are only a couple of lines on each page, making it the perfect length for a bedtime story. Even if you aren’t a cat person, you will like this book.

Halloween Math Activities

This month will be filled with Fall and Halloween crafts and themed activities . I had to post this one now so that all of you Target shoppers can get to the dollar spot to buy these Halloween erasers before they are gobbled up. I love using themed mini erasers for learning activities especially as  math manipulatives.

Halloween Graphing


Using manipulatives is a great way to introduce children to graphing. Explain that graphs help us see the answers to questions  . Also take the time to make predictions before graphing , such as which row will have the most , which will have the least?Ask them why? I am always fascinated by the reasons why my son makes certain predictions.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large piece of white paper, a ruler, markers, some fun Halloween manipulatives, and a plastic jack-o-lantern container.  I think when you try to make everything themed kids get more excited and learn more.
  2. Start by making an easy graph. I used pictures and words to represent our manipulatives, my son is interested in the words but not yet ready to rely only on them.
  3. Grab the manipulatives you are using . I made sure to have 3 different amounts . Pop them in your jack-0-lantern.
  4. Invite your child(costume optional) to the table to start. My son dumped the erasers but taking them out one at a time is great too!
  5. Ask your child to make a prediction – which of the three designs do they think will have the most? Least? Why?
  6. Place them on the graph. 
  7. Keep going!
  8. Just by looking at them which has the most? Least?
  9. Count them to check.

Halloween Patterns


Patterning was one of my favorite preschool math activities to teach. I have found that if you sing song the pattern children have an easier time recognizing the pattern and start using that device themselves when encountered with a pattern they need to continue.

  1. Gather your materials. 2-3 different manipulatives like these Halloween themed erasers in a container, some sentence strips are optional but I like them because they give my son a frame for the pattern. When I simply place the erasers on the table it looks like I expect him to keep the pattern going to the edge of the table and the task seems much more daunting.
  2. Make some simple patterns .
  3. Provide a container and ask your child to keep the pattern going.
  4. If they need help try labeling the pattern out loud . For example saying ” Pumpkin, Bat, Pumpkin, Bat… what comes next?
  5. Keep going, if they are frustrated with the more difficult patterns scrap them and make multiple simpler ones. The goal is success and if it’s too challenging for them they will get frustrated and learning will be minimal.