This Halloween, gather your ghosts and goblins for a spooky story time featuring one of these spine-shivering tales. As a festive “trick,” try lowering the lights in your classroom to set the tone and then providing popcorn or apple slices for a healthy “treat.” Enjoy!
1. The Boo! Book
Written by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli. $17.99.
Have your students ever read a haunted book? Well, this handy, humorous guide explains what to do if you encounter one. (Hint: Don’t disturb the resident ghost!) With just the right amount of scary, young readers will get a kick out of imagining such literary hauntings. Best for grades K–2.
Activity to try: Invite students to make their own “haunted” books by creating these simple ghost pop-up cards.
2. Invisible Inkling: Dangerous Pumpkins
Written by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Harry Bliss.
If you missed the first volume of this new series from the author of “Toys Go Out,” this Halloween-themed tale will make you want to catch up on the adventures of fourth grader Hank, who aside from his invisible pet bandapat, reminds us of so many quiet boys we know. Best for grades 2–4.
Activity to try: Ask students to write about their own invisible (not imaginary, as this series points out) friends, past or present.
3. Splendors and Glooms
Written by Laura Amy Schlitz. $14.99.
While not specific to Halloween, this middle-grade thriller about two young apprentices to a puppeteer who are searching for a missing girl is full of spooky atmosphere, witches and Victorian intrigue. It’s sure to keep your students turning pages.
Activity to try: Encourage students to put on their own puppet retellings of the story.
4. The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins
Written by HP Newquist. $17.99.
Not for the faint of heart, this comprehensive tour of one of the most basic life substances will appeal to history and science buffs alike, covering both the composition and function of blood as well as its place in ancient rituals and ghost stories. Best for grades 6–8.
Activity to try: Challenge small groups to see which can make the most realistic-looking fake blood using ordinary ingredients such as dish soap, glue and food coloring.
5. Such Wicked Intent
Written by Kenneth Oppel. $16.99.
In this follow-up to “The Dark Endeavor,” Oppel continues the story of the apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, an imagined prequel to the Mary Shelley novel that may just interest your students in picking up some classic literature. Best for grades 9–12.
Activity to try: Have students compare versions of the Frankenstein story, from the original novel to the “Young Frankenstein” movie to Oppel’s series.
Question for you: What will your students be reading this Halloween?