Scary-good book ideas for students this Halloween

Trick-or-treating, costume parties, and carving pumpkins. Halloween is time to take in the best of fall and a great time to curl up with a good book. As winter nears and the days become shorter, the fall season is upon us.

At Renaissance, we have more than 2.8 billion real-world data points that show us exactly how students build skills and achieve mastery in core subjects. Analysis of these data points—what we call learning analytics—helps us continually refine and improve our solutions. It also helps inform us about what kids are reading and what’s popular nationwide. We took a look at what students are reading this fall related to Halloween and highlighted some of the most-popular selections below. Take a look!

1. Fly Guy and the Frankenfly
By Tedd Arnold

Part of the best-selling Fly Guy series, Fly Guy and the Frankenfly is the thirteenth book in the series. Buzz and Fly Guy spend a day together playing some spooky games and doing arts and crafts. However, when Buzz goes to bed, he has a nightmare that a Frankenfly is out to get him!

2. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
By Linda Williams

A timeless Halloween tale, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything tells the story of a little old lady who decides to take a walk in the woods one autumn night. Her walk takes a frightening turn when she hears some strange noises, giving her the scare of her life!

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
By J.K. Rowling

While all the books in the Harry Potter series are a nice addition to a reading list this time of the year (or anytime, for that matter), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets fits particularly well. While Harry, Hermione, and Ron attempt to figure out who opened the Chamber of Secrets, Headless Nick hosts a party for other Hogwarts ghosts on Halloween.

4. Eighth Grade Bites
By Heather Brewer

A fresh take on vampires, Eighth Grade Bites follows Vladimir Tod, a middle-school student who happens to be a vampire. On top of dealing with bullies, a tough principal, and girl trouble, Vladimir now has to worry about a vampire hunter after him! The first book of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, Eighth Grade Bites is an adventure for middle-school students!

5. The Bad Beginning
By Lemony Snicket

The first book of the ever-popular Series of Unfortunate Event books (and Netflix series), The Bad Beginning tells the story of three children who become orphans and are sent to live with Count Olaf. As if that isn’t bad enough, Count Olaf attempts to steal their inheritance.

Between the endless Butterfingers and many great books, there is a lot to love about Halloween. A good book can lead to a love for reading for years to come. Each book idea mentioned above leads to Renaissance Accelerated Reader Bookfinder®, where there are thousands of books searchable by category, grade, and more. Encourage students to browse the website, as they might find their next read! As for me, I’ll be nestled up with a good book and snacking on candy this Halloween.

How else are you celebrating Halloween with students? Are you incorporating Halloween into one of your school library themes? Are you letting students dress up? Will you be dressing up? Let us know what spooky festivities will be taking place in your school this fall in the comments below, post on our Facebook, or tweet us at @RenLearnUS!

Looking to spark reading growth in your classroom? See how Renaissance Accelerated Reader 360® can help students discover a love for reading and prepare them for college, career, and life success.


  1. Jason says:

    Every year I do a spooky or scary story display. Kids are always asking for these books, so it is an easy way to show them where to look! I just have to figure out how I will decorate the display.

  2. Liana Ferrer says:

    As a parochial school, we do not specifically celebrate Halloween . We focus more on fall and harvest. We have a Fall fun day which is like a field day with fall based activities.

  3. Mario Sanchez says:

    Although we don’t really focus on spooky costumes, we do let students to dress up with their favorite book character. From Harry Potter character to Clifford because they love them so much. We let students show off their costumes by parading them through the halls with their specific book in hand.

  4. Rita Platt says:

    Some good choices here! Have to add, Creepy Pair of Underwear. Best. Book. Ever!

  5. Andrea says:

    In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz is also another great book for upper elementary students.

  6. Laura says:

    I just introduced my advanced readers to the American Chillers Chapter books by Johnathan Rand. The kids are loving them! Some of my past students also come back to borrow these books if they do not finish them while in my class.

  7. Amber AuBain says:

    These are great suggestions! Our library is decorated and has Halloween themed books displayed for our kids.

  8. Brenda Curtis says:

    So many good books to read, any time of the year!

  9. Pam Lawrence says:

    Great selections! I will share this with others!

  10. Kim says:

    I teach 8th graders, and they love scary stories! These look like some really good options for them.

  11. Here at Kirksey Middle School we just took our kids to the pumpkin patch at the Mississippi Agricultural Museum.

  12. Virginia Travis says:

    We are having a class Halloween party and the kinders come to each room to trick or treat in their costumes.

  13. Lloyd Goldberg says:

    We research the origins of Halloween and give evidence for the current cultural practices.

  14. M Brown says:

    The Little Old Lady Who Was Not of Afraid of Anything is our school’s favorite Halloween story.

  15. Jody Steinhaus says:

    My students LOVE holiday-themed books. They especially enjoy Fly Guy. The also enjoy listening to the tape of The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. It’s fun to see their reaction and enthusiasm for books.

  16. Renee Graham says:

    Great ideas for great books. I love Patricia Pollaco’s The Graves Family.

  17. Carly says:

    I wish I could generate a printable copy to post in my class of all these (and previously shared) great book ideas.

  18. Ami K. Edwards says:

    Thanks for the update and information.

  19. Angela Domond says:

    I have the audio book of Ready Freddy Halloween Fraidy Cat. My students are going to listen to the story and do a vocabulary activity in class as well as take the AR quiz. We are also going to make a grave yard of “dead” words (over used words) such as good, bad, fun, happy, and sad. Also, because I teach in a Catholic school, we will be doing some Christian crafts as well for the season.

  20. Katie Wiltz says:

    My school is celebrating Halloween with our students by having our Fall Festival. Our Fall Festival is a day where we have games, food and fun.

  21. Thonisha Davis says:

    We’re not necessarily celebrating Halloween in the classrooms. The school is dressing up as a whole.

  22. Stephania Sherman says:

    Great choices!

  23. Debra de la Garza says:

    Our school ties in Red Ribbon Week to the celebration of Halloween. We have a door decorating contest, a book character pumpkin decorating contest and students participate in a Halloween parade dressed in their costumes.

  24. Christina says:

    We take all of our students bowling. Then we do STEM activities in the afternoon.

  25. Ami K. Edwards says:

    We’re having a pumpkin decorating contest in our library.

    • Rachel Bienvenue says:

      The Old Lady that Swallowed …. has several great books that are geared towards Halloween. They always enjoy those books.

  26. Mary Moetell says:

    I like to read the little old lady who was not afraid of anything…..and then have my students act it out.

  27. Cathy Kelley says:

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  28. Alecia Walkuski says:

    My sophomores and I are reading “The Pit and the Pendulum” to tie in with the spooky Halloween events.

  29. Janet Mullins says:

    Along with a halloween celebration, our school observes red ribbon “say no to drugs” week. Each day is starts with dressing as a theme and the teachers plan activities to go along with those themes throughout the week. The week ends with a celebration of both halloween and red ribbon. Works well for our school.

  30. Sandra says:

    Love the variety! Great for a wide range of readers. Thanks for the list!

  31. Christina Hope says:

    Our school also recognizes red ribbon “say no to drugs” week. There are many challenges and activities that are incorporated along with reading selections for the season/Halloween. What a great list for many different reading levels!

  32. s. bellomo says:

    Our little ones love There was an old lady who swallowed a bat and our older ones love Witch Hazel. 🙂

  33. Mary Meyer says:

    I decorate the library for Halloween, pull out Halloween themed books, and read Halloween books to the kids.

  34. Christina says:

    Our school has a fall festival to kick off the season. We also celebrate by having a Spook Parade for our pre-k, kindergarten and first grade.Great choices in the article!

  35. Melissa Berry says:

    Love all the ideas!!

  36. Virginia Wiedenfeld says:

    Awesome books!

  37. Jennifer says:

    This year my students and I will be completing the “Pumpkin Gospel,” which is an activity that relates a gospel story to the carving of a pumpkin! This is a perfect activity for our faith based school!! 🙂

  38. K. Brooks says:

    I really don’t go all out for this holiday since I am against it but I do display several text on related to the holiday for student to read and summarize.

  39. Katie Morgan says:

    Our school will be allowed to dress up. The PreK-2nd graders do a parade around the hall for the 3-8th graders.

  40. Trinette Frazier says:

    Nothing fancy at all. My middle school students are not really into the holiday aspect, just the candy. 🙂

  41. Vivian Bond says:

    I always enjoy reading Halloween stories to the children during the month of October. My favorite to share is The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg.

  42. I love all of the ideas. I am iusing some now.

  43. Jeannine Keane says:

    I read Halloween stories during our read aloud time. The students are allowed to come dressed in their costumes. The students then parade through the hallways to show off their costumes.