Spooky Stories


This Halloween, let RIF help you find the right scary or silly literary treat for everyone on our kid friendly list of award-winning children’s books and our list of classic literary treasures and poems for your teens. They’ll be sure to put the “boo” back in books!

Award-Winning Children’s Books:

Haunted casas, las brujas on broomsticks and carved calabazas. Los Gatos Black has everything you need to brush up on your Halloween Spanish vocabulary. We even found a narrated video for your whole family to read along to this Pura Belpré award-winning children’s book.
This bead illustrated children’s book is a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year and is a great count-down read for Halloween. You may even learn some rhymes along the way.
This hilarious spoof on the counting classic Over in the Meadow includes two escaped convicts who get the creeps from a haunted house. What will they do? Find out in this IRA-CBC Children’s Book Choice Award read that’s funny any time of the year.
This intergenerational series is heartwarming and this story in particular is a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year. Gus wants an awesome Halloween costume but his mom won’t let him get a store bought costume. Find out what Gus and Grandpa come up with together!
Is your child afraid of the dark? This IRA-CBC Children’s Book Choice awarded story is meant to be read aloud and with Ted Rand’s stellar illustrations, the ghost-eye thee comes to life. Don’t let it reach out and grab you!
Looking for the right amount of sweet and scary for your kids this Halloween, look no further than Ghosts in the House! This American Library Association Notable Children’s Book and is about a clever little girl who has a real knack for taking care of ghosts in her haunted house.
Looking for a scary, funny and imaginative story? This New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year is a Roald Dahl classic about a seven-year-old boy who meets some real witches. Find out what makes a real witch and how this young boy tries to expose them with the help of his friends and a magical grandmother.

Favorites and Classic Poems for Teens:  

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving has scared many a child. That’s why we’ve put it on our teens list. Perhaps they won’t be so scared to turn the page.
What would you do if you feel asleep for 20 years only to wake up to find a changed world? Rip Van Winkle, also by Irving, illustrates a cautionary tale with beautiful illustrations and a captivating imagination.
“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the Highwayman came riding—riding—riding— The Highwayman came riding up to the old Inn door.” I still remember this eerie poem I was required to memorize in grade school, but now in after thought it stays with me as a quintessential piece of poetry for Halloween. Read The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes, learn about onomatopoeias and you won’t regret it.
The Pied Piper of Hamelin, by Robert Browning, sure knows how to take care of a few pests but what other things can he get rid of? The answer may scare you.
A Vagabond Song, by Bliss Carman describes autumn as a woman in this classic poem.
Theme in Yellow, by Carl Sandburg is yet another beautiful poetic ode to autumn.
Autumn, by Emily Dickinson, illustrates the changes of autumn much like that of a woman changing her wardrobe.
Mr. Spooky himself, Edgar Allen Poe, has some perfect pieces your kids can discover anew like The Tell-Tale Heart, or anything else by E.A. Poe—great time to read The Raven.

We hope you and your little readers have a very happy Halloween!

For more reading ideas, check out some of our reading activities like ghost stories and book and character costumes.


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