Scary Stories for Kids at Halloween
Kids! Gather Round for Scary Stories and Ghostly Halloween Tales
How do you choose the best Halloween Stories for Kids? It's great fun to gather around a candle or the fireside on Halloween and read ghostly stories to children, but it isn't easy to choose the best ones.
This is my own personal list of the best books for Halloween. They're stories that I've loved reading to my son; scary enough for Halloween, but not so scary that your child will be terrified. Some are just on the Halloween theme. I've included DVD's and CD's so that the kids can listen to the tales retold over and over again - long after you get fed up with them.
My Son and I Both Love These Scary Stories - Great Halloween tales for children
Children Love To Be Read To .....
.... and reading stories should be fun for you too!
I'm a great believer in reading aloud to kids to get them hooked on books, but I'm also a selfish Mum, I want to enjoy reading too!
Mutual enjoyment for you and your child, whatever age, is not so difficult to achieve. All you have to do is choose books that you like, but that are really going to engage the kids as well.
Reading has got to be good fun all round. Fortunately there are so many excellent children's books out there that you are spoilt for choice, and it's choosing the very best that's the problem - so here's a list of spooky stories that my son and I have BOTH enjoyed reading.
What Was I Scared Of? - By Dr Seuss
Dr Seuss was one of my childhood favourites and the quirky stories, distinctive illustrations, rhythmical rhymes and funny words make him a hit with the kids, and his poem about the ghostly pale green pants must count as one of the very best for Halloween. Scary enough to send a chill down the spine, but with a wonderfully P C ending. No child will have nightmares about this one.
What a fantastic idea! Ghostly, glow-in-the-dark ink! Perfect for reading by candlelight or under the bed clothes. This is a classic Dr. Seuss short story taken from The Sneetches and Other Stories. The hero here is terrified by a ghostly , empty pair of pants. See how Dr Seuss both delivers a first class, spine-tingly tale AND teaches children not be scared of the unkown.
In A Dark, Dark Room - By Alvin Schwartz
The Dark Dark Room is one of those traditional stories passed from child to child. You don't need to repeat it verbatum, just get the idea and improvise. A great one for travelling or walks.
Children learn and improve their mental capacity be memorising and repeating, and this book makes that such fun, for them and for you!
The Hairy Toe - By Daniel Postgate
An anonymous, traditional tale from America and another firm favourite! . My mother was a teacher and used to 'terrify' her class with this one. She also used to recite it to me and my brother and sister - we all just loved it.
The Hairy Toe is a bit scary and my son didn't like it when he was very small. Perhaps better to keep it for the over 5's. Lots of room for you to try out your reading skills and make them jump at the end. Wicked.
Like a Dark Dark room this is a great one for learning off by heart, but if you can't manage it, you can get the same effect without reciting it verbatim.
Where The Wild Things Are - By Maurice Sendak
A true classic. The fact that there is little text in this book should not lull you into thinking that it is short on content. Oh no. Beautifully written and illustrated, with a text that will delight adults and children. There is real poetry in here. This book is not very frightening at all, despite being about monsters. The wonderfully non-scary monsters, were modelled on Sendak's aunts and uncles who 'loved him so much they could eat him'?
Where the Wild Things Are has now been made into a film. I've found that the films and books support each other as my son is happy to flick from one to the other.
Mummy, Daddy, Aunty and Uncle monsters, and the biggest little monster - Max himself. Charming, erudite and unforgettable
This House is Haunted - By Joanne Rocklin
This book is designed to help your child to learn how to read. This is a collection of not-too-scary stories told by a ghost. Charmingly told and wonderfully illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi.
Not a haunted house, or haunted wood but a haunted book. Which child could resist?
Boo! Made You Jump! (Charlie and Lola) - by Lauren Child
It's Halloween and Charlie is up to tricks making his little sister jump. Can Lola wreak revenge? She tries absolutely everything to scare Charlie, including dressing up like a creepy ghost, and telling a really scary story. Find out if Lola makes Charlie jump!
The Charlie and Lola stories are always winners for younger children. Delightful and not scary (hardly) at all.
Some Authors Just Write the Best Books
Wonderful fireside stories for kids
I've included books by three of my all-time favourites, Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl and Maurice Sendak.
Mommy?, by Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are is not well known but Sendak wrote quite a few good books that have been rather eclipsed by the popularity of Wild Things.
The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, is a superb poem to read aloud. As a child I learnt Carroll's nonsense poem by heart and forty years later can still recite great chunks so it really must be good. Kids adore the made-up words and the Jabberwocky remains a great monster, but choose the copy with the original illustrations by Tenniell, for they too are classics.
My third fave is Roald Dahl, a great story teller (although one or two of his books I have hated!). This book of ghost stories is just the trick for Halloween and makes perfect reading around the stove on a winter's night.
Caroline Stutson and James Flora are new authors for me, and they are going to be the classics of the future.
My Son and I Both Loved The Witches by Roald Dahl - I can't believe that I nearly missed this one out!
This book is about a boy whose parents are killed in a car crash - yes, Roald Dahl can be a bit hard-hitting - and so he is cared for by his Scandinavian grandmother who turns out to be a bit of a witch-killer. If you need to know how to identify a witch, you'll need to read this book.
Suitable for children aged about 9 - 12 (and Mums and Dads of all ages).
When we first came to France we read this one together and listened to a CD reading. It was wonderful even though it was in French and I could only understand about a third of it! Since then we've read it in English and listened to it again and again. A great investment; funny, playful, alarming and not too scary.
And for Older Children?
How about a bit of edgy magic and mystery from Alan Garner?
Recently I heard a play on the radio based in Alderley Edge in England that made references to a story by Alan Garner that I read when I was a child. Even the play made my spine tingle a little. And the book? The Weirdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley First published in 1960 Garner's knowledge of folklore and the Alderley area imbibe this fantasy novel with a strain of realism that has made it a real cult classic.
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, is the story of two children, Susan and Colin, who are sent to rural England to stay with Bess Mossock, their mother's childhood nurse close to Alderley Edge. A slight air of menace becomes much more threatening as this magical story progresses.
The sequel to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is The Moon of Gomrath.
Alan Garner has written several other books, many of which remain popular today.
Alan Garner, J K Rowling, L J Smith and Stephanie Meyere - Not all about Halloween by all spooky reads
But all magical and mystical! These are all great books for older children and will keep them busy for years! The box sets are just such great value and they are lovely to keep for life and even to pass on to the next generation. I gave my box set of the Narnia novels to my son who also loved them.
Special Edition Harry Potter Paperback Box Set
This will keep them reading for weeks if not years! What great value. I read a Harry Potter a year to my son until he became too old for bedtime stories. After that he had to read them himself.
The Twilight Saga White Collection
Vampires are so Halloween and they have certainly caught the imagination of the young.
Vampire Diaries Books 1 to 6 (4 Books) Collection Set Pack TV Tie Edition (The Awakening: AND The Struggle Bks. 1 & 2, The Fury: AND The Reunion v. 3 & 4, Shadow Souls Bk. 5, Nightfall Bk. 6, Vampire Diaries Collection)
I must say that I loved the television series of The Vampire Diaries but did find the books a bit beneath me - but only a bit. So while I wouldn't recommend them for adults, I think they're great for young teens.
Suitable for children aged 8 - 12 years, but I think older children and even adults can enjoy these books
Enjoy a Family Film at Halloween
Not-too-scary films of the book
I think films make great gifts for special occasions. We're all busy these days and children just love it when the whole family sits down together to watch a film that everyone enjoys. I organise Film Nights. We invite other children, arrange the seats in rows, the kids make posters and tickets, they usher the adults to their seats with torches, we get out the popcorn and we all have a lovely time!
Roald Dahl's The Witches is scary, funny, charming, gruesome and - above all - entertaining.
Kirikou and the Sorceress is a great film and I'm sure the adults will love it just as much as the children do. I first found this in book form in France, and I can't find a translation into English with the original illustrations, but if you find one, buy it! The pictures are breath-takingly beautiful and the story entrancing. Kirikou and the Wild Beast is just as good.
The gentle Charlie and Lola stories have grown on me over the years, but Thomas the Tank Engine kept both my son and I entralled from when he was a toddler. Great stories even for those who really don't give a toss about trains, (like me).
Finally, the film of The Wild Things. I found this as entrancing as the children did so can thoroughly recommend it. Not at all frightening; just delightful.
Let me know what you think.
Nicole Kidman Stars in The Golden Compass - By Philip Pullman
This is a truly luscious film! The actors, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Freddie Highmore, Ian McKellen and Dakota Blue Richards are superb, but Nicole Kidman is ideally beautiful, cool and wicked as the evil Mrs. Coulter.
The story takes is to a parallel world where people's souls are 'on the outside' and the cunning and cruel Mrs Coulter is involved in an experiment involving the kidnapping of children in order to sever the link between child and soul.
The graphics and images are breathtaking and the detail is rich enough to test the imagination of the most highly educated of adults, whilst enthralling any child.
Details Actors: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Freddie Highmore, Ian McKellen, Dakota Blue Richards. Director: Chris Weitz.. Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen. Language: English Subtitles: English, Spanish. Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only). Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested). DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008. Run Time: 113 minutes
Scary Stories for Halloween that Readers Have Loved - These are reader recommendations for Halloween stories for kids
Thank you all so much for leaving these Halloween story ideas. It's lovely to be introduced to new authors and new scary stories.
When The Frost is on the Punkin'Little Orphant Annie, both by James Whitcomb Riley.The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.The Monster at the End of This Book, a Sesame Street Book The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree Nancy Drew booksEncyclopedia Brown mysteries Halloween at the Zoo: A Pop-Up Trick-Or-Treat Experience by George White, Bruce Foster and Jason O'Malley (Thanks Mickie_G)
My Favourite Books to Read on Holidays and Celebrations Days - Christmas, Easter, Chocolate ...
I just love the idea of giving great books to children as gifts. A wonderful book is something to cherish for a lifetime. Why not give the gift of a book to a child for Easter or Christmas? Take a look at some that I've selected with a holiday celebration theme.
- Chocolate stories for kids at Easter
Why not give the kids a chocolatey gift for Easter that won't damage their teeth and that will last a life-time? A really good story book.
- Best Classic Childrens Books
If you're as old as me you'll probably know most of these books from your own childhood - and you'll love them and have fond memories of them. We must pass on these small pleasures to our children, so I've collected together some of the very best.
- Best Christmas Books for Kids
These books are the ones on the theme of Christmas that my son and I have enjoyed the most, all great books to give to children as Christmas gifts - gifts you'll enjoy too.
Just Writing This Brings Back So Many Childhood Memories
Halloweens gone by ..... (sigh)
I'm always keen to read another good book. At the moment my son, now grown up almost, and I are reading Alice in Wonderland and I'm enjoying it all over again.
I'd be delighted to hear from anyone with tried and tested books to read with children of about that age, and perhaps some for the next stage, 14/15 years - if my son still wants to read together then.
Have a wonderful Halloween!
More Halloween Fun by LesTroisChenes - Ghostly, spooky and ghoulishly good
- Horrible Holidays in Haunted York for Halloween
A personal guide through the streets of York, England's most haunted city.
- Amelie the Witch. A Story for Halloween from Limousin in South West France
Amelie is a witch, or should I say healer. This is a story about witches - warts and all. Enjoy.
- Limousin, land of Wolves and Witches
Limousin in South West France is a forgotten rural area delightfully behind the times and wonderful rich in folk tales and legends. There were wolves in this region as late as 1950s and the memory of them lives on in stories and tales. Read more abo
More good books for kids at Halloween
I'm always on the look-out for good books, especially now that my son is 13. I've just read Northern Lights (sometimes titled The Golden Compass) and The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman and loved them. Can't wait to read The Amber Spyglass, the third book in the trilogy His Dark Materials Trilogy (Northern Lights; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass).
The film version of the The Golden Compass is wonderful. Although it didn't seem to overly impress the critics, I though Niclole Kidman was perfect and the polar bears complete with armour, were astonishing.
© 2010 Barbara Walton