Neil Gaiman, author of the 2009 Newbery Medal winner The Graveyard Book, has a website called All Hallow’s Read where he proposes that we start a new tradition: “Give someone a scary book for Hallowe’en.” He gives lists of suggested scary books for preschoolers to adults, and there are links to more lists. For younger children who like to be just-a-little-bit-scared, he recommends “books they’ll like and can handle.” There’s even a copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” that you can print and fold into a mini-book to give out.
I’d like to suggest a variation: “Read a scary book with someone at Halloween” and I’m adding a few of my own favorites to Gaiman’s list. Unless specified otherwise, these are all appropriate for elementary students.
- The Teeny Tiny Woman by Paul Galdone (preschool)
- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams (preschool)
- Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting (preschool)
- In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting (preschool)
- EEK! Stories To Make You Shriek (K-3)
- Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by James Howe
- The Witches by Roald Dahl
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, audiobook version by Robert Van Nutt, read by Glenn Close
- The Half-A-Moon Inn by Paul Fleischman
- Wait Til Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
- The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn
- The Doll in the Garden: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
Trailer for The Graveyard Book (grades 5+), narrated by Neil Gaiman
How about you? Do you like scary stories? What are some of your favorites?