Pumpkins, ghosts, and scares: 15 books students should read this Halloween

Trick-or-treating, homemade costumes, carved pumpkins—Halloween often marks the official transition to fall. While Halloween has roots that can be traced back to the nineteenth century, the holiday has grown to be one of the most popular holidays in the United States. In fact, it’s estimated that a quarter of all the candy sold annually in the United States is purchased for Halloween.

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Below, we’ve highlighted different Halloween-themed books broken down into different grade bands for pre-K–K, 1–2, 3–4, 5–6, and 7–9 students. In addition, all of the books listed have an Renaissance Accelerated Reader® quiz and are available as enhanced digital books on myON® by Renaissance. Take a look! And while looking through the books, encourage your students to discuss Halloween and what it means to them with their peers. Here are a few sample questions to get the conversation started:

  • What do you like most about Halloween?

  • What do you not like about Halloween?

  • Do you and your family celebrate Halloween? If so, how?

  • Are you wearing a costume? What are you going to be?

As students discuss, they’ll start thinking about what Halloween means to them, as well as how their traditions differ from their peers.

Pre-K–K

A Short History of Halloween

A Short History of Halloween
By Sally Lee | ATOS Book Level: 2.3

Simple text and photographs introduce young readers to Halloween.

Pick a Perfect Pumpkin

Pick a Perfect Pumpkin
By Patricia Toht | ATOS Book Level: 2.3

Readers can follow along with each step, from picking out the perfect pumpkin and taking it home to scooping out the insides and carving a scary face.

Boo, Katie Woo!

Boo, Katie Woo!
By Fran Manushkin | ATOS Book Level: 1.9

Katie is disappointed when she doesn’t scare anyone on Halloween.

1–2

Pet Costume Party: A Pet Club Story

Pet Costume Party: A Pet Club Story
By Gwendolyn Hooks | ATOS Book Level: 1.4

Andy is having a Halloween party for the Pet Club. However, he doesn’t know what kind of costume to make for his pet fish, Nibbles.

Scary Stories

Scary Stories
By Anita Ganeri | ATOS Book Level: 3.8

This book teaches young readers how to write scary stories.

Scooby-Doo! And the Truth Behind Ghosts

Scooby-Doo! And the Truth Behind Ghosts
By Terry Collins | ATOS Book Level: 3.2

The popular Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang teach kids all about ghosts.

3–4

Zeke Meeks vs. the Horrendous Halloween

Zeke Meeks vs. the Horrendous Halloween
By DL Green | ATOS Book Level: 3.3

Usually, Zeke loves Halloween, but this year things just seem to be going wrong. He is having trouble finding a good costume, the costume parade at school is a disaster, and he has to take his little sister trick-or-treating.

Monsters Can Mosey: Understanding Shades of Meaning

Monsters Can Mosey: Understanding Shades of Meaning
By Gillia M. Olson | ATOS Book Level: 2.8

Through the telling of an original story, this book introduces the concept of shades of word meanings.

The Legend of the Zombie

The Legend of the Zombie
By Thomas Kingsley Troupe | ATOS Book Level: 4.0

This book examines legends related to zombies, describes the methods people believe will kill zombies, and explains how zombies are supposed to act.

5–6

Vampires: The Truth Behind History's Creepiest Bloodsuckers

Vampires: The Truth Behind History’s Creepiest Bloodsuckers
By Alicia Z. Klepeis | ATOS Book Level: 6.0

This book describes the ancient history, medieval lore, and modern portrayals of vampires in popular culture.

Ghost Writer

Ghost Writer
By Michael Dahl | ATOS Book Level: 2.8

Simon Skull, an embittered writer, is creating strange blank books, which turn the readers into phantoms. The Librarian must reverse the spell and rescue his friends.

Uncovering Mummies: An Isabel Soto Archaeology Adventure

Uncovering Mummies: An Isabel Soto Archaeology Adventure
By Agnieszka Biskup | ATOS Book Level: 4.1

In graphic novel format, this book follows the adventures of Isabel Soto as she researches mummies from around the world.

7–8

Ghoulish Ghost Stories

Ghoulish Ghost Stories
By Joan Axelrod-Contrada | ATOS Book Level: 4.8

This book describes scary ghost stories, including “The Bell Witch” and “The Amityville Horror.”

Ghosts vs. Witches: Tussle of the Tricksters

Ghosts vs. Witches: Tussle of the Tricksters
By Michael O’Hearn | ATOS Book Level: 4.5

This book describes the features and abilities of ghosts and witches and how they may battle each other in a fight.

Werewolf Skin

Werewolf Skin
By Michael Dahl | ATOS Book Level: 2.9

Brothers Lucas and Travis and their father are on a hunting trip deep in the woods, and the cabin where they are staying boasts a wolf skin that supposedly came from a werewolf.

Looking for additional Halloween books?

Accelerated Reader BookFinder is a free online resource for teachers, librarians, parents, and students.

You can search in English or Spanish to find books by topic, title, author, fiction/nonfiction, subject, award-winners, and librarians’ picks. You can even choose from state book lists or special collections, and refine your picks by interest level and reading level. Plus, you can see which books are available in myON.

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