I love to have holiday-themed storytime classes for my kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students. The right combination of fiction and nonfiction books, along with a song and a fun activity builds enthusiasm and positive connections for my students. One of my favorites is Halloween Storytime! I’d like to share my favorite Halloween picture books to use in the primary grades in your elementary library or classroom.
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Nonfiction Halloween Picture Books
For Kindergarten, I recommend Halloween by Rebecca Pettiford, published by Bullfrog Books. This early reader is from Bullfrog’s Holidays series. Large, engaging photographs accompany simple, large text keep your youngest readers engaged as they learn about the holiday. I like this series to expose students to simple text features such as table of contents, headings, text boxes, labels, and glossary.
In first grade, we read Halloween by Rachel Grack, a Blastoff! Reader. Again, the engaging photographs, along with interested facts, keep students engaged and wanting to know more. The layout of these readers is clean and easy to follow. More text features to add to those we covered in kindergarten: captions, maps, charts, and index. All of the books in this Celebrating Holidays series include a project with step by step directions.
My choice for second grade is Halloween by Laura Marsh from National Geographic Kids. The text draws readers in at first with a conversational tone, developing curiosity. Lots of text boxes and labels, a great page of fun facts, and riddles in “Q & A” boxes make this a fun read for these older students. A fun “What in the World?” section takes a close up look at 6 Halloween object with hints contributes to the interactive nature of this terrific nonfiction book.
Fiction Halloween Picture Books
We had lots of fun reading Susan Hood’s Just Say Boo!, illustrated by Jed Henry. It’s a fun rhyming story of trick or treating on Halloween night that helps us remember that we’re pretending when we dress up. Kinders loved saying “Boo!” along with me on every other page. Little ones also love Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey. This is a great story for practicing inferring the feelings of Dragon in 3 different situations. Five Little Monkeys Trick or Treat by Eileen Christelow is a cute tale of mixed up identity. A fun recipe for eyeball cookies can be found on the back end papers. Be sure to do a 5 Little Monkeys chant with your group!
First Grade Books
Trick or Treat by Leo Landry, about a ghost who throws a Halloween party ends with a mysterious twist – will Oliver attend Jack’s birthday party? Kids love predicting! Tanya Lee Stone’s H is for Haunted House is a fun alphabet book. Give each student a letter and make your own class book for Halloween! Dav Pilkey’s classic, The Hallo-Wiener, is my personal favorite. Students love it when they recognize the cats under the spooky costume. This is a terrific story to lead into conversations and activities around kindness and friendship. The new Duck & Goose: Honk! Quack! Boo! by Tad Hills was a favorite in my first grade classes. Kids love to notice details in the illustrations to infer who the scary swamp monster really is!
Second Grade Books
My second graders loved the parody of Goodnight Moon in Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex. The illustrations and words make lots of connections with original book, which most students listened to as little ones! Bone Soup by Alyssa Capucilli and illustrated by Tom Knight is a fun take on the classic Stone Soup. We had a great time reading the adorable and clever How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green. It was great fun to sing along with Emily Arrow’s song, too!
Halloween Picture Book Activities
You can mix and match any of these books to make your own Halloween Story Time! Add in some fun songs and chants and your students will have a fun and memorable experience!
And, if you’d like a low prep way to set up your event, take a look at my Halloween Storytime Activity Kit. It includes props for student engagement, book review pages, a monster scavenger hunt, and more! Take a peek at the fun in the preview.
Click on the image above to download the Halloween Picture Book List!
Do you have some favorite Halloween picture books? Share your Halloween titles with us below!
Be the light!