The List: Frightfully Fun Books for a Hair-Raising Halloween

Once upon a school night dreary, while I pondered, tired and teary,
Over many a plain but purposeful standards of common core—
While I studied, slowly sinking, suddenly there came a feeling,
As if I was truly forgetting, forgetting something I adore.
“’Tis some holiday,” I muttered.  Feeling it was nothing more—
Surely it was only this and nothing more?

Ah, distinctly I remember, “It is the end of October!”
Ah, distinctly I remember, “It is the end of October!”
And each separate teaching member reads a book spooky with lore,
Eagerly I made a list; —vainly I hope that it assists
All my friends who may have hissed—hissed as if this were a chore—
For these strange and spine-chilling books will the students never bore—
Their titles listed below for evermore.

 Lower ElementaryTorrey-Colorado

  • Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex
    In this playful parody of the children’s classic, the great green room has been replaced by a cold gray tomb.  Students will howl hysterically at all the monsters, Martians, and mummies rubbing tummies.
  • The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey
    Oscar is a wiener dog who is constantly mocked by all the other dogs.  One Halloween, Oscar is relentlessly ridiculed until something extraordinary happens.  It’s all puns and games until Oscar saves the day!  Students will gasp and giggle as Oscar transforms from wiener to winner!

Upper Elementary

  • Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic by Mark Tatulli
    Zombie heads exploding, goblins in toilets, a creature clawing its way out of a human stomach—these are a few of Desmond’s favorite things.  Desmond is a sixth grader with a sickly sense of humor.  Students will squeamishly squeal at Desmond’s pranks but will be stunned when he gets framed for terrifying tricks he did not commit!  Dun-dun-dunnnnnn!
  • Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery: Middle Graders by Deborah Howe, James Howe, Alan Daniel (Illustrator)
    After seeing a Dracula movie at a local theater, the Monroe family encounters a cute little bunny.  They name him Bunnicula and take him home.  But this is no ordinary bunny. Students will cackle and cringe as the family cat, Chester, and dog, Harold, try to save the Monroes from this fearsome fanged bunny!

 Middle Graders

  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    Locked doors, mysterious passageways, and an alternate world will haunt and hook students into reading this strange and spooky story about a girl named Coraline.
  • A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, Hugh D’Andrade (Illustrator)
    Hansel and Gretel leave their own story behind and venture into eight other Grimm’s tales.  Warlocks, witches, and dragons will have students horrifyingly hooked as they read these terrifying tales.

Macabre Music to Set the Mood
Crank these fun tunes as students enter the classroom!

  • “Dem Bones” Alvin and the Chipmunks version (Lower Elementary)
  • “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. (Upper Elementary)
  • “Thriller” by Michael Jackson (Middle Graders)

Fearful Finale (Middle Graders)

  • Orson Welle’s Radio Broadcast of “The War of the Worlds”
    Grab this classic on vinyl.  Find a record player.  Dim the lights.  Then, let Mr. Welles do the rest.  Playing the original 62-minute radio drama from 1938 is sure to spook your students and leave them spellbound.

Your Turn!

Do you have any great suggestions for fun and spooky reading around Halloween?  We welcome your ideas!