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Spooky stories for Halloween

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann
Gus and his dog Ella are best friends. One night, as they sit together under a full moon, Ella gently warns him that she will not be around forever. “But no matter what happens, I’ll always be with you,” she promises. After Ella is gone, Gus is very sad. Yet, when Halloween comes, he still zips on his skeleton costume and trudges out into the night. Soon, though, he finds himself alone. In the graveyard. Under the moaning wind. And surrounded by real skeletons! What happens then — and how Ella keeps her promise to Gus — makes for a shivery tale of great friendship, as well as a delightful dash of doggy humor. (Preschool – Grade 2)

Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds; illustrated by Peter Brown
Jasper Rabbit loves carrots. And at Crackenhopper Field, he can chow down on them to his little tummy’s content. But one day, Jasper hears the “tunktunktunk” of a carrot following him home. Soon, he’s seeing carrots — eyes gleaming, teeth barred, and bristling with revenge — in the corners of his bathtub, the shadowy recesses of his bedroom, even coming up through the drains in the street! Will Jasper the carrot-eater be captured and, gulp, eaten by a carrot?! This clever and gorgeously illustrated picture book is sure to surprise you — and leave you chuckling, too. (Preschool – Grade 2)

Hubknuckles by Emily Herman, illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray
Every year on Halloween, the ghost Hubknuckles appears to Lee and her family, dancing just outside their window, sweeping between the trees, and causing delicious “tickles of fear” to creep upon the children. This year, though, Lee tells her siblings that Hubknuckles is not real — and in a rush of bravado, she declares that she will go outside to meet the ghost when he makes his annual performance. The tension builds as the events of Halloween night unfold, until the moment when Hubknuckles peeks in their window. Will Lee dare to go outside? And what will she find when she does?  (Kindergarten – Grade 3)

Ghosts! Ghostly Tales from Folklore by Alvin Schwartz; illustrated by Victoria Chess
This classic of creepy, crawly stories and poems remains one of the most enjoyable and shivery collections of Halloween lore for young children. Stalked through by supernatural cats, kindly ghosts, and vengeful schoolgirls come back from the dead, the simple tales and colorful, big-headed drawings are both enjoyably scary and funny. It ends with a useful chant for anyone still feeling a bit jumpy about meeting something non-human in the house at night:

If a ghost ever scares you,
just say,
“Crisscross, double-cross,
Ghost, get lost!”
And it will go away.

– Molly

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