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5 Recent Recommended Halloween Read Alouds


‘Tis the season for slightly creepy picture book read alouds. Here are five recent picks that have gone over well in my K-4 school library.


Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown.

The last time this author/illustrator pair made a book together – Creepy Carrots – it won a Caldecott honor. This sequel doesn’t disappoint – a bit creepy, a lot funny, and a worthy successor.


The Scariest Book Ever by Bob Shea

Where do you do after The Happiest Book Ever? If you’re Bob Shea, you go scary. Although, since it’s Bob Shea, it still ends up being hilarious. It’s the first book I’ve seen that features both:

  1. Real talk about the creepiness of the word “moist”.
  2. A naked ghost.


I Want to Be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien

Not just metafiction – s p o o k y metafiction. Little monster wants to be in a scary story, but everything seems just too scary for the little guy. Until he turns the tables on the narrator (and the reader). Librarian Julie Jurgens recently told me she has kids read the little monster parts – a stroke of story time genius that I endorse.


Boo Who? by Ben Clanton

I’ve been reading this with the youngest students I see. A story about being the new kid, when the new kid is a ghost.


The Little Shop of Monsters by R.L. Stine, illustrated by Marc Brown

For some reason, I didn’t want to give this one a chance when it first came out, but now I’m a believer. The format is basically, “let’s meet a bunch of different monsters”, but it works so well. There are some genuinely gross and funny moments. And kids love it.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Hi Travis, this is awesome!

  2. Nicole Barnes says

    These all look so fun! I will have to put them in my back pocket for next year! :) My students LOVE A Creepy Pair of Underwear!! A great follow up to Creepy Carrots!

  3. I have read A Creepy Pair of Underwear at so many story times this year that I think I can quote it. Funny stuff.