Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Hallow-Reading!

Halloween is my Christmas. I wait all year for it. Nothing makes me happier than the sound of fake skeleton bones clicking in the breeze, light up ghosts hanging from porches, and little witches and ghouls grabbing for candy out of plastic pumpkins. 

Halloween 2013,
Red-headed Katniss
(the wig was itchy)
I gravitate towards the light-hearted parts of Halloween. Not the serial-killer-slasher-guts-blood-torture horror that seems to be popular with the theme-park turned gore-fest crowd. 

What gets me excited about Halloween are the subtle scares, the heartbroken and lonely ghosts, the misunderstood monsters. This, combined with my passion for reading, means I end up devouring a lot of middle grade and YA books around Halloween.

So for those of you who want to be spooked but not disgusted (at least, only occasionally), and who value plot over body count, here are my top 5 spook-tastic recommendations (in no particular order and pictures link to amazon).


The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

A group of friends are led by the spirit of Halloween to discover the spooky holidays true meaning and to save their friend. 

Confession: I have an irrational, unexplainable love for this book, and the movie made after it. To me, this is quintessential Halloween. I know I said these books were in no particular order, but I'm a dirty liar, in this particular case. If you only read one book to your children this October, Bradbury's tale is an unbeatable choice. 

“When you reach the stars, boy, yes, and live there forever, all the fears will go, and Death himself will die.” 


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

A young boy is raised by ghosts and starts to wonder what's beyond the graveyard. 

Spoiler alert: Danger. 

Need I go on?


Doll Bones by Holly Black

Is growing up as scary as a haunted China doll?

From experience, yes. 

Scare level on this one is low, creepy level medium-low. Great for kids who may not be ready for spookier tales but want to get in the Halloween spirit. 


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A lonely kid discovers an island full of strange and gifted children, emphasis on the strange. 

Fair warning: the pictures are pretty creepy. I can't look at them in the dark (and I'm an adult...kind of). 


The Witches by Roald Dahl

Child-hating witches try to turn them into mice using spell-laden soup.

My take: would've worked better with candy.

Sorry, the description is kind of lousy. I read this as a kid and never re-read it because it scared the bajingles out of me. I have a distinct memory of loving it though, so into the recommendation pile it goes. 

Bonus book (aka currently reading and haven't finished but enjoying):

Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller

A witch threatens to escape a grieving boy's nightmares and enter his real life. 

Truth: I'm only 75 pages into this one, as its my Halloween read this year, but so far it is creeptitilating.