Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Halloween Reads for Kids

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
If it wasn't for the boxes of Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Frankenberry cereals all shoved into my modest, college-sized cabinets right now, I would honestly have forgotten all about Halloween. 

Which is terrible, because back at home, Halloween is one of those big-deal holidays, one that necessitates a full-house makeover, complete with fake gravestones, black lace mantle drapings, and glittery candles that we aren't allowed to actually light, because they're just for decoration. And - of most importance to me - there's a stack of children's books about a mile high, piled on top of the living room coffee table. 

These books make up a collection that we've been building, piece by piece, every year since I was old enough to say, "Trick or Treat!" (We've got a similar stack for Easter and Christmas in turn... on last count, Christmas' pile had grown to over 53 titles!). I managed to sneak home for a haircut this past Saturday, and only got a night back at home, but you know that a good half hour was spent leafing through picture books that I'm a good fifteen years too old for.

So, for today's Top Ten Tuesday "freebie" post, I'm choosing to illuminate some of my favorite titles from that stack, as well as other spooky reads I enjoyed when I was younger.


1. and 2. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Frankenstein Takes the Cake, Adam Rex
From the author of Fat Vampire, these two collections of monster-inspired poetry turn the frightening funny on its green, flat-topped head, in a whole ghostly host of ways. My personal favorite series from the collection is a saga of The Phantom of the Opera getting various songs stuck in his head.

3. Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness, illustrated by Gris Grimly 
I am a huge, huge fan of Gris Grimly's creepy, twisted takes on children' illustrations, and I think reading this book's iteration of "The Black Cat" as a class in the 6th Grade is one of the reasons why.

4. Spider and the Fly, Mary Howitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi 
This poem is a classic, and it stands as a great work on its own... but when amplified by author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi, it really shines as a creeptastic children's book.


5. Boris and Bella, Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Gris Grimly
Once again, Gris Grimly takes the cake, but mostly because of how he enhances this whimsical romance between two oddball monster neighbors.

6. Cinderella Skeleton, by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by David Catrow
Because, naturally, this wouldn't be a "Savannah" list without the inclusion of a fairy tale retelling! Beautifully creepy illustrations and clever updates on an old classic make Cinderella Skeleton a perfect Halloween read for the princess in your life.

7. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell 
At this rate, I'm pretty sure these weathered, black and white illustrations are iconic. These books were always falling apart because of how many times they were checked out of our elementary school library... I'm sure many a nightmare came from perusals of this collection of urban myths, folk tales, and classic spooky stories.


8. Bunnicula, Deborah and James Howe
It is an absolute testament to the mental state of elementary schoolers, how insane my classmates and I got about the idea of a vampire bunny that sucked the juice out of vegetables. In case there are any non-believers out there, this bestseller spawned several sequels, and even a stage adaptation.

9. Coraline, Neil Gaiman
I don't think I have to sell anyone on this particular creepy read... even if you haven't read the modern kid's classic, you've probably seen the equally perturbing stop-motion film. It's phenomenal. And you'll never look at Lalaloopsy dolls the same way again.

10. random assorted ghost-hunting guides 
No, I'm not joking. My Dad is a firm believer, and some of my most fond middle school Halloween memories were of the family gathered around the television, watching SyFy's Live Ghost Hunters Halloween Special. I'm pretty sure there's a school assignment floating around somewhere, where I've listed my dream occupation as "parapsychologist"(which is only somewhat less of a lofty goal than "editor").

So, what are some of your favorite reads for the spooky season? Let me know, in the comments below! 


  1. Great topic! And I agree with Coraline. Jesus, that's mind boggling, really. Plus, Gris Grimly! I actually have to re-read everything in your list before I noticed him. (I laughed way too hard with Bunnicula.)

    MY TTT!

  2. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was my favorite!!! I loved it so much and it was SO creepy!

  3. I am way too scared of all of these and I am a grown up lady haha. These covers look so creepy as do these books but great pick for such a list! Thanks for sharing :)

    My TTT- http://rachelwritesthings.blogspot.com/2015/10/top-ten-scariest-book-covers.html

  4. Great list! Scary Stories was so terrifying!
    Check out my TTT and my Halloween Giveaway.

  5. What an awesome tradition! I've been collecting Christmas books but never thought to have a stack of Halloween books for the season! I'll have to start one for my daughter.
    I loved Scary Stories as a kid!
    Here's my Halloween TTT!

  6. This is about the level of scary I can handle :p Great list!

    My TTT

  7. I haven't read any of the books you've listed in your post this week. Quite a few of them sound really good, so I'll have to add them to me ever growing reading wishlist.

    Here's a link to my TTT post for the week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/10/top-ten-tuesday-10-literary-halloween.html