Everything suddenly feels scary these days.
For one, it gets dark outside earlier. Tree branches are almost bare, and they make a clack-clack-clack noise like a dancing skeleton. Plastic bags blowing in the wind look like little ghosts, and sometimes if you listen close, you can hear howling right outside your window.
Also this time of year, there are plenty of new Halloween books for your scary pleasure.
For the littlest (3- to 7-year-old) All Hallow’s Eve fan in your life, “There’s a Witch In Your Book” by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott (RCH Books) could be much fun.
It’s an interactive book that invites children to follow the prompts to make sure the cute little witch inside its pages won’t make a great big mess with her spells. But watch out. Because she’s crafty, she might turn your child into a host of funny creatures. It’s as much fun to read as it is to play. Get this book and gather goblin giggles, young and old.
Where else would a child find scary stuff? Read “Hardly Haunted” by Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster) and your 4- to 7-year-old will know.
It’s the story of a house that’s sad because nobody lives inside it. Houses were meant for people, right? And not for ghosts because the house “did not want to be haunted.” Or maybe she did because sounding empty and haunted sure was fun. Either way, children who like things that go bump in the night will like this book that goes bang in the night, too.
For the child who loves reading and words and something unusual, “The Ghoul’s Guide to Good Grammar” by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Mary Sullivan (Sleeping Bear Press) might be a great choice.
This language- and-grammar book masquerades as a Halloween treat with humor. Children will laugh at the scenarios inside this book while they also learn things their teachers hope they absorb.
And finally, remember those scary games you used to play when you were in high school? Well, they’re still around and in “Mary, Will I Die?” by Shawn Sarles (Scholastic), four teenagers play the Bloody Mary game.
When someone says “Bloody Mary” into a mirror, their true love is supposedly revealed, but in Calvin’s case, he sees Bloody Mary, and that’s not good. Fast forward five years and the friends-no-longer-friends have mostly forgotten that terrifying night.
But something that was let loose hasn’t forgotten them.
Beware: This is truly scary stuff, and you don’t want to hand this book to a 12- to 17-year-old who’s prone to nightmares.
There are many more books for big and little ghosts and goblins out on the shelves, so if these four don’t fit your exact idea of a “boo-tiful” read, look for some of your beloveds from your own trick-or-treat days or be sure to ask your favorite bookstore or librarian for help. They’ll know exactly what to put in your cold, cold hands because not having the best Halloween reading is too scary to imagine.