I know that this is the Adults Blog and that I am a grown woman who pays taxes, but we can all agree that adults can (and should) read children’s books, right? Seriously, the best book I have read so far this year was a middle grade chapter book. If you’re limiting yourself to the adult section of the library, you are really missing out, because the best part of being a grown up is getting to read whatever you want. Much like the love of reading, the love for Halloween usually starts early and there are so many great Halloween-y books for kids, teens and tweens that reflect that. Sometimes these books are genuinely scary. Sometimes they are completely adorable. Oftentimes, they are both.
“The Dark” You may remember Lemony Snicket for writing a certain incredible series with an incredibly disappointing ending. He also writes books for grown ups under his almost comically ordinary real name. In “The Dark,” Mr. Snicket tells the story of Laszlo, who is afraid of The Dark. The Dark forces Laslzo to face his fears by leading him into the pitch black basement. The story quickly shifts from ominous to adorable when The Dark helps Laszlo find a night light.
“Gustavo, the Shy Ghost” This beautifully illustrated book (which is also available in Spanish) follows Gustavo, who has mastered many things when it comes to being a ghost. When it comes to making friends, though, he feels invisible. On the Day of the Dead, Gustavo decides to put himself out there by holding a violin concert in a cemetery and inviting everyone he knows.
“How to Make Friends With a Ghost” This book is full of helpful tips and tricks for the care and feeding of ghosts, including ghost-friendly snack recipes. If you befriend a ghost, you have a friend for life! Literally. They can’t die on you because they’re already dead.
“Ghoulia” Ghoulia, a lonely young zombie, longs to make friends her age, but her Auntie Departed won’t let her out of Crumbling Manor fear she’ll get made fun of. Ghoulia hatches a plan, though. On Halloween night, a zombie can walk around freely because everyone will assume it’s just a costume. Ghoulia seizes the opportunity and befriends a group of trick-or-treaters. Did I mention that Ghoulia has an albino pet greyhound named Tragedy?
“Nightbooks” In this modern mashup of “A Thousand and One Nights” and “Hansel and Gretel,” our fellow horror fan Alex must spin scary story after scary story to entertain a witch who has lured him into her house; otherwise, she will keep him trapped forever.
“The Halloween Moon” Esther Gold loves Halloween more than anything, but her parents insist that she is too old to go trick-or-treating. When she sneaks out to do so anyway, she finds herself at the center of a sinister plot in which a mysterious Halloween queen is intent on freezing time. Now, with the help of her seemingly hopelessly mundane neighbor, Esther and her friends have to overthrow the queen’s scheme.
“Pumpkin Heads” Moving away from spooky/horror stuff, this adorable graphic novel takes place in a pumpkin patch where Deja and Josiah have worked together for years. With it being senior year for both of them, they are unlikely to see each other again at the end of their last shift. With this in mind, Deja decides to ensure that she and Josiah make the most of it.
“Ghost Wood Songs” Summoning ghosts is impressive enough, but Shady Grove combines two talents by summoning them with a fiddle. This proves useful when her brother is accused of the murder of their stepdad and Shady must call on the dead to clear his name. Bonus points for a bisexual main character and southern gothic vibes.
“My Best Friend’s Exorcism” by Grady Hendrix is shelved in the adult section, but it really rides the line between adult and YA fiction. High school sophomore Abby sees that something is clearly wrong with her friend Gretchen. Naturally, when she works out that Gretchen is possessed, no one believes her. Abby is on her own, but she will stop at nothing to save her best friend. It’s a really beautiful story of friendship and loyalty, and Emily Woo Zeller does an excellent job narrating the audiobook.
Happy Reading and Happy Haunting, friends!