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11 Books Sure to Spark Imagination this Halloween

by Casie Smith

For families who celebrate Halloween, this year may look a little different. But, we can still deliver on the parts of Halloween that truly matter to kids. One way to do that is to lean in to the magic of Halloween storytelling. Here are just a few of our favorite books to help spark kids’ imaginative play and feed their sense of wonder of this Halloween season.

Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Pumpkins are often a staple of Halloween traditions. We love this book about a stem-less pumpkin who patiently waits to be chosen from the shop and turned into a family’s jack-o-lantern for Halloween. Kids will root for the perfectly imperfect pumpkin and celebrate when it finally finds its home. Read this book as inspiration before carving your own jack-o-lantern or try out our Pumpkin Lantern DIY activity.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

One of our all-time favorites, this book melds the most magical of Halloween themes (witches, cats, magic wands, flying brooms, potions and a dragon!) with the compassionate message that there is always room for one more friend to join in the fun. Read this book as a family and then make your own Halloween brew

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Halloween often conjures images of the night and darkness, which can feel both exciting and scary to young kids. In this story, the dark is personified as a creature that helps a child overcome his fear and also recognize that without the darkness, we would not appreciate the light. Gather some flashlights before reading this book with your child; then enjoy playing with the magic of light, darkness and shadow. Or, create your own fall lanterns and celebrate the power of light, hope and community and join us for a Tinkergarten Lantern Walk

Ghosts in the House by Kozuno Kohara

In this creative twist to a spooky Halloween theme, a resourceful child finds a terrific solution to the problem of ghosts in her home. She catches them, washes them in the washing machine and then finds uses for them around the house. They become sofa covers, table cloths and even cozy bed sheets.  Read this book, take out some bed sheets and imagine together with your child what they could become! Need some ideas? Try our Not a Sheet DIY activity.

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara

The perfect spark for pumpkin play! In this story a teacher and his students wonder “How many seeds are in a pumpkin?” The end result is not what they predicted. Want to do some pumpkin experiments of your own as a family? Try out our Pumpkin Seed Exploration activity!   

Grow: A Family Guide to Growing Fruits and Vegetables by Ben Raskin

Exploring seeds, pumpkins and fall gourds is a terrific opening to nurture your child’s curiosity about how plants grow. This book gives kids a peek into the life cycle of the food we eat, including why some have seeds and others don’t and might even provide inspiration for some planting and harvesting of your own. 

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? by Wendell Minor

Each fall in festivals across the country, pumpkins are celebrated in competitions for the biggest pumpkins, in pumpkin tossing games and even in pumpkin boat races. This book introduces kids to the extremes of what a pumpkin can be and invites them to use their imaginations to envision just how big a pumpkin they could grow. Want to test the limits of your own Halloween pumpkin? Try out our Make Pumpkin Boats DIY activity!

Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli

In this sweet story, a pumpkin seed wants nothing more than to be a scary jack-o-lantern, but has some growing up to do first! The book provides a fun way for the youngest learners to see the life cycle of a pumpkin and kids will relate to the theme of feeling eager to grow up.

It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff

From the author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, this book is a heartwarming Halloween story for young learners that also supports learning about feelings. Mouse sets to work decorating seven pumpkins, each one showing a different emotion, only to discover that one of the pumpkins is missing! 

Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party by Erin Barker

Readers count their way through the ingredients and guests that make their way to Mr. Pumpkin’s spooky tea party. Read this book with your child and wonder together what creatures you would invite to your own pretend Halloween tea party.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This book list could not be complete without including our favorite book about monsters: the classic story of how Max sails to the land of the Wild Things, where he is crowned King and takes part in the wild rumpus. Continue the wild rumpus at home after reading this book by crowning your own Kings and Queens of the Wild Things.

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