Monday, October 3, 2011

My Favorite Halloween Books

Halloween is my favorite day of the year.  My parents were very keen on the holiday, as was my aunt, who would send Halloween packages to our house that were the cause of eager excitement when they arrived.  My mom had Halloween records to play that were riffs on classic songs..."I've Been Working on my Costume"..., "When the Witches go Flying Along...", to which I still remember the lyrics.

But we'd always have a stack of Halloween books to read as well.  My favorites are here. You've heard me speak of #1 before. It's the most classic and won't really scare you but will get you in the spooky mood of the holiday.  The Haunted House and the Goblin are the two best ones for giving you slight chills up your spine.  Jack Prelutsky and Marilyn Hafner are geniuses for shaping my love of this day so much.

Another perennial favorite was Lonzo Anderson and Adrienne Adams' "The Halloween Party", the story of a boy named Faraday Folsom who, on the way to a Halloween party, wanders off into the night forest after a small troll. He's introduced into a world of trolls and witches and tiny elves.  It hits the perfect cold October-air sensation that you only get late in the month, where witches really do lurk in forests and ride their brooms high into the grey clouds that are lit by moonlight in a sapphire sky.

For its sweetness, I loved two other books: "How Spider Saved Halloween" by Robert Kraus, which tells the story of a spider who dresses up as a pumpkin after neighborhood tricksters smash the pumpkin at his friend's house, and "The Biggest Pumpkin Ever" by Steven Kroll, about two mice who unwittingly tend to the same pumpkin in the patch, making it...the biggest pumpkin ever.  

Two books bordered on creepy and TOO CREEPY for me, "In a Dark Dark Room and Other Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" by Alvin Schwartz and "Very Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark." 

The first is more for kids, and has become the favorite book my nephew, Gavin:
It's illustrations are cartoonlike but creepy:

The second book, also by Schwartz, is the stuff of nightmares. It's illustrated with nightmarish imagination by Steven Gammel. Great job for scaring the CRAP out of me, Mr. Gammel. 
See what I mean?
The last book I've recently found. The watercolor paintings are exquisite and the story is intriguing.  Look for repeating details, like the moths, throughout the book.  It's called "Zen Ghosts" and it is by Jon J. Muth.

It's the most wonderful time  of the year!

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