Halloween Howls


With Halloween just 2 weeks away, I know many of you are busy gathering the final pieces for your kids’ costumes and are using all of your will power, trying not too eat all of the Halloween candy you bought so you actually have something left for the trick-or-treaters (or maybe that is just me…). In case you are looking for costume ideasHalloween movies for kids or decoration ideas, I’ve got you covered.  And for those of you looking for great books to get your family in the holiday spirit, please check out Susan Fry’s latest segment below:

There’s no event that reveals the differences between boys and girls quite as much as Halloween. For someone with my politically-correct education, it’s been quite a shock.

Girls may have role models like Brandi Chastain, Maria Shriver, and Christiane Amanpour, but when they go for the costumes, what do they pick? Princesses, princesses, princesses.

Boys, on the other hand, try to be as gross, violent, and scary as parents will allow. Fake blood on a sword? A horse-skull General Grievous mask? A plastic Kalashnikov? No, no, and NO!

On Halloween night, I might see a few rebel dinosaurettes, or a couple of adorably diehard Thomas tank engines. But sadly, the view from the trick-or-treat bag is mostly pink crinolines and black ninja pajamas. If Halloween is a chance to live out our deepest desires or fears, I’m certainly experiencing MY biggest fears about the gender gap.

That’s why it’s difficult to find a Halloween book. A book that makes one child cackle with glee will make another scream. Here are a few that stay true to the spirit of Halloween, with ghosts, ghouls, witches, and skeletons galore, but with enough humor to keep the nightmares away.

Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. A scary-looking witch finds herself carrying a cat, a dog, a bird, and a frog on her broom. When the witch is threatened by a dragon, the animals come to her rescue. The story is told in accessible rhymes that are fun to read out loud. The dragon is a little scary, but the ending is heartwarming without being sickly sweet, especially when the witch magicks up a broom big enough for all her new friends.

Spooky Joke Book, compiled by Helen Burnford. What does a monster eat when he’s just been to the dentist? The dentist. What do ghosts wear in the rain? Boo-ts! The jokes in this book are easy and tame enough for most 4 year olds, and funny enough that even parents will laugh. The black-and-white cartoons, however, have an Edward Gorey-like creepiness.

Skeleton Hiccups, by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by S.D. Schindler. A skeleton tries unsuccessfully to get rid of his hiccups. But when his friend Ghost shows him a mirror, Skeleton’s own reflection scares the hiccups away. The humor comes from watching the skeleton do “normal” things, such as drinking water that trickles through his ribs. While the skeleton looks eerie, he has a nice friendship with the goofy-looking ghost.

Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody, by Michael Rex. You and your kids will laugh at this parody of Goodnight Moon. You might even be inspired to drag out that old favorite to compare the pages. Some of the illustrations are a little scary, so it’s probably better for older kids – as well as “little mummies rubbing their tummies,” there are skulls and slimy creatures aplenty. I especially like the way the little werewolf boy sleeps soundly after banishing the goon to his proper monster place – underneath the bed.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

Comments are closed.

Stella McCartney
30% off Chronicle Books Cookbooks
Shop all Girls Bedding at Serena & Lily.
Land Of Nod: 20% off Wall Art:
Advertise on Sweet Peas & Stilettos