Kids' books for autumn and Halloween?
September 3, 2013 1:44 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite children's books about autumn and Halloween?

I'm looking for recommendations for books about autumn (broadly - the season itself, specific activities / traditions associated with it, or just books that are clearly set in fall) and Halloween.

The audience will be a 2.5 year old, but I'm interested in books that would be appropriate to read to slightly older kids as well.

Bonus points for worthy older or out-of-print titles that we're not likely to have come across already at our local library.
posted by ryanshepard to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I loved, loved, LOVED Frank Asch's book "Popcorn" when I was a kid. It's about a little bear who decides to throw a Halloween party and everything goes wrong and the whole house fills with popcorn, Real Genius style. (Actually, this book came out long before the movie. When I first saw Real Genius I was like "Hey! It's just like Popcorn!").

The back cover of the paperback version has a drawing of about 100 jack-o-lanterns. Most of them are the same, but a few have small differences. When I was a kid my dad would ask me to find the one with no candle in it (eye, nose and mouth holes were dark), the one with an upside-down nose, etc. That was fun, too.

My only quibble with the book is that the main character bear dresses up like an Indian for the party. Otherwise, it's funny and the pictures are great, and it's got a simple message for little kids and is goofy enough for older little kids. I love it.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:59 PM on September 3, 2013

Space Case! This is one of my formative books and your question just prompted me to order a copy for my 3 year old.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:05 PM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Little Yellow Leaf.
posted by mattbucher at 2:10 PM on September 3, 2013

In season or not, this was my kids favorite for years. Its great. Boris and Bella
posted by H. Roark at 2:13 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Scary Godmother is pretty great. Aimed at 4 and up, so more for "slightly older kids", depending on the 2.5 year old.
posted by jedicus at 2:25 PM on September 3, 2013

Grandpa's Ghost Stories terrified and delighted me when I was a kid (though older than 2.5). Terrific art by Jim Flora. I would get it for my son, but it's out of print and sells for about $200 nowadays.
posted by Kabanos at 2:30 PM on September 3, 2013

"The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything" suits both the autumnal and spooky themes. Great pictures and an easily-followed storyline.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:48 PM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Every Autumn Comes the Bear - beautifully illustrated, lovely to read.
posted by evilmomlady at 3:18 PM on September 3, 2013

When Autumn Comes - Robert Maass is a beautiful photo book about autumn. It follows Autumn from the start of school all the way to Thanksgiving and the beginning of winter. I read it to my daughter from the time she was two on. In her 20's, now, she still enjoys it.

For Halloween, Old Devil Wind by Bill Martin, Jr. Rattlebone Rock, by Sylvia Andrews, The Ghost's Dinner and The Ghost's Trip to Loch Ness by Jacques Duqennoy are all wonderful.
posted by clarkstonian at 3:30 PM on September 3, 2013

Bunnicula was a yearly favorite.
posted by The Whelk at 3:36 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Big Pumpkin
posted by doctord at 4:14 PM on September 3, 2013

The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin by Margaret Wise Brown (author of Goodnight, Moon and The Runaway Bunny) is one of our favorite Autumn/Halloween books. The language is great and the illustrations are gorgeous.
posted by nightwood at 4:14 PM on September 3, 2013

Oh - and The Littlest Pumpkin is another favorite.
posted by nightwood at 4:15 PM on September 3, 2013

Cranberry Halloween (and the rest of the Cranberryport series by Wende and Harry Devlin).
posted by CheeseLouise at 4:27 PM on September 3, 2013

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. Should be read to every child. It's bit dark but also filled with hope.
posted by elendil71 at 4:42 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Five Little Pumpkins. (There are lots of other book versions.) Be sure to do the hand gestures and expressive readings!
posted by lysimache at 5:15 PM on September 3, 2013

This isn't about Halloween, but it's about skeletons (so it would fit in with a Halloween theme) and I love it so much I just have to recommend it: Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.
posted by Redstart at 5:35 PM on September 3, 2013

When I was quite small, I loved Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor and It's Halloween by Jack Prelutsky (which you can buy new copies of, but that's the cover I had as a kid.)

And, as an adult and a big fan of Universal Horror films (though I think this would appeal to most anyone), I love Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex.
posted by darchildre at 6:20 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ox-Cart Man is very autumnal - takes place in the fall but encompasses the passing of the seasons and rhythms of life on a farm in 19th C New England. When I was regularly doing storytimes, I would often chose it for October.
posted by clerestory at 6:48 PM on September 3, 2013

For Halloween I love Vunce Upon a Time by J. Otto Seibold. it's a funny story about a vegetarian vampire who is afraid of humans. Great illustrations. There is also Count, Dagmar! - a board book about counting by the same author.

For Autumn you should check out Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. It's not specifically about Autumn but it has a cozy Autumn feel to it as well as colours that make you think of Fall.

Also for Fall/Autumn try Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear by N.M Bodecker.
posted by Lay Off The Books at 8:59 PM on September 3, 2013

My daughter loves oxcart man, but only recently, and she's four. At that age she loved trick or treat calico. We love only a witch can fly. Other hits include where's my mummy? And the Bernstein bears trick or treat, and duck and goose find a pumpkin.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:14 PM on September 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone - some excellent suggestions here, and many that are new to us. Please keep them coming!
posted by ryanshepard at 6:24 AM on September 4, 2013

Ghosts in the House! is a very unique and appealing book in terms of the way it is illustrated.
posted by Dansaman at 8:46 AM on September 4, 2013

I've been biting my tongue because it's several years older (my 4th grade teacher read it to us) but I can't help myself: The House With a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs is a wonderfully spooky yet cozy story. The book doesn't take place entirely in fall, but one pivotal part of the story takes place on Halloween night. I still read it just about every year when October rolls around.
posted by usonian at 5:53 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: usonian: Clock is an all-time favorite, and the book that got me really excited about reading on my own as a kid - I'd go so far as to say that John Bellairs is largely responsible for my still being a compulsive reader 30+ years later.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:03 PM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

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