Broomsticks, jack-o’-lanterns, haunted houses, tricks and treats, ghostly games, neighbourhood parties, skeletons, Frankenstein, candy corn… the list goes on. All things fun and fearsome come out at Halloween. There are children who countdown the days until that frightfully fantastic night when they get to dress up as anything imaginable, hang out with family and friends, and eat bucketloads of candy. The build-up adds to the excitement—carving pumpkins, decorating your home with scary spiders, tombstones and fake zombie arms, picking out your costume, baking apple pies, watching spooky movies and reading Halloween stories.
Today we’re sharing our favourite Ghost Stories for Halloween. These are sure to delight kids eager for the festivities to start and ease the fears of others that may be a little anxious about the hair-raising holiday. Books are good like that.
This helpful guide will show you how to create a lifelong (and beyond) friendship with a ghost. Step one: Be a person who is sweet, warm and kind and a ghost may find you. Step two: If you chance to meet a ghost, do not run away. Simply smile, wave and tell the ghost your name. Step three: To nourish your friendship, try cooking floating spaghetti and mudballs together or going for a walk in the woods to collect leaves, acorns and worms. Be sure not to let your ghost help with the laundry or use your ghost as a tissue. Booger removal is never easy. For more dos and don’ts, tips and activities, pick up How To Make Friends with a Ghost, by Rebecca Green, today and have a read. Keep it close by for review and for further reading, check out Superstitious and Nutritious: Wacky Snackies for your Ghost and From Gross to Boast: Grooming Tips for your Ghost. Lol!
How to Make Friends with a Ghost, by Rebecca Green
The humour in How To Make Friends with a Ghost is subtle, surprising, spectacular. The illustrations are amazing, astonishing, astounding! I’m an admirer of Rebecca Green’s work. She’s one of my favourite children’s book illustrators, and now one of my favourite children’s book authors. The foreshadowing moment at the very beginning of the story is a touch of perfection, as are the wonderful glimpses into the relationship and lives and afterlives of our two protagonists, girl and ghost.
Boo Who? by Ben Clanton
In this sweet story, we meet Boo, who is quite hard to spot at first. Being the happy soul that he is, Boo doesn’t take the narrator’s initial mistake to heart. Although he is a happy ghost, Boo is shy. Boo is new. And being new can be scary. The characters from Ben Clanton’s Rex Wrecks It!—Gizmo, Sprinkles, Wild and Rex—are playing bounce-ball outside. Boo has trouble fitting in. The ball floats right through him. He can’t play pick-up twigs or tag, and this makes Boo rather blue—rather transparent. “Would anyone even care if Boo just disappeared?” Sadly, our own children may experience the same anxiety Boo does. Boo Who? reassures that we all have a gift, a talent, and it teaches us to look out for the new kid, the shy kid, and that it’s best when we’re all having fun together. Including others and being kind is an important message for all ages deserving of the repetition we see in children’s literature.
Readers beware! Open this book at your own risk! The Scariest Book Ever is spine-chilling, terrifying, eerie scary—scratch that—The Scariest Book Ever is delightful and diverting. Ghosts, spooky woods, looming shadows, dark holes—these are supposed to be scary, right? From the start, we’re given a sense that this isn’t really going to be the scariest book ever.
The Scariest Book Ever, by Bob Shea
The Ghost we meet, who gives an account of the story as it unfolds before us, is frightened by a dark wood outside his home. Though it assures us that it can’t wait to see what’s in the dark wood, it doesn’t seem disappointed when an orange juice stain on its ghost white sheet and having nothing to wear stops it from heading out the door. Readers instead brave the unknown, returning to share what we’ve seen.
In this self-referential book, every secondary page is wordless. These are the pages when we’ve entered the dark wood, which is in fact not dark at all. Colours are bright. What we discover is charming. Ghost, however, is clearly fearful, but still acts bravely. This is reassuring and comforting for children who may be nervous about the many perceived scary things that we see this time of year. Shea highlights the fun, the joy and vibrancy of Halloween.
What happens to our beloved pets after they die? Well, Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brown have a tale to tell concerning the afterlife of a goldfish. “Goldfish Ghost was born on the surface of the water in a bowl on the dresser in a boy’s room.” Already we’re smiling, especially when we look around the illustrated bedroom and see other fishy stories we love—One Fish, Two Fish, A Fish Out of Water, and Swimmy. And your typical Teddy on the bed who seems very sad that Goldfish is now a ghost.
Goldfish Ghost, by Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brown
The story follows Goldfish Ghost as he sets off through the sea town in search of a friend. It’s very difficult for a ghost to find another friend. No one paid any attention and he didn’t feel at ease floating above the ocean with the other ghost sea creatures. On returning home, another goldfish swam his fishbowl. She appeared nice, but the moon was calling him, to the lighthouse and to the Ghost Lighthouse Keeper who lived there. Both needed a friend, and they “settled in together, looking out quietly at the world.”
Curious and quirky with sparkling wit. We thoroughly enjoyed Goldfish Ghost, and wanted him and the Lighthouse Keeper to have more friends, so, we made some. A Goldfish Ghost and friends puppet party. Spy any favourite book characters here?
Leo is a ghost who, for many years, lived by himself. He spent his days reading and drawing pictures in the dust. When a new family moves into his home, he’s very excited, but the family doesn’t like the extra company. Leo decides to be a roaming ghost for a while. Although the city is busy and bustling, Leo is quite alone. People walk right through him. No one notices him—except Jane. Jane appreciates all friends, real and imaginary, but Leo is a ghost. He’s worried that if he reveals this truth, he’ll scare Jane, and lose his new friend. Danger threatens, and Leo is there to help. A true friend always is. And that’s what Leo is. Advice from Miss Moon – friends come in many shapes and sizes. Well, they can cross through dimensions, too.
Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson
Barnett has given Leo the tender traits of a child. The boy is caring. His feelings get hurt. He longs for somewhere to belong, and to be accepted. Loves to play. Shows signs of fear, and sparks of bravery. Although translucent, he’s real. Jane is the epitome of a true friend. She holds no judgment and is very kind. The two have a blast playing together, whether they’re being Knights of the Round Table or enjoying a quiet midnight snack. Robinson’s illustrations are cleverly constructed. Blue tones and black. A mix of sheer and solid—the two realms coming together.
No Such Thing, by Ella Bailey
There are no such things as ghosts! Young Georgia is insistent on proving this true. When weird things happen, objects move from one place to another or even sometimes disappear, it’s not the work of something spooky. There’s always a reasonable explanation. Really, there is. Not convinced? Neither are we, especially since we can clearly see the real culprits hiding from Georgia in the illustrations.
Autumn colours (even though it is spring for us, we naturally associate these pumpkins, falling leaf tones with Halloween) contrasted against a cool complementary and subject matter makes this book a wonderful choice for a Halloween read. Kids enjoy spotting the sneaky ghosts on every page and that they stay hidden from Georgia throughout the story and at its close. The horizontal full-page illustrations, the whimsy and wit, and the seek and find element make this book a favourite in our house.
Detail from No Such Thing, by Ella Bailey
These ghost stories are fun choices for Halloween, but really they’re books for all year round. We hope that you too will share your favourite Halloween reads, those scary and those not so scary, with us below.
Have a spooktacular Halloween!!