Wind is blowing
pumpkins glowing
orange and red
all around

Leaves are falling
Children calling
Must be

And how can we enjoy this season? Reading great books, of course!

Over the years I have built quite a collection of favorite Halloween books. Some are silly, some are spooky, and all are lots of fun! Here are a few at the top of my stack:

the-little-old-lady-who-was-not-afraid-of-anythingThe Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Grades P-2, Lexile AD710)

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams has been around for nearly 30 years. It remains one of the very best Halloween stories in primary classrooms.

As the little old lady is walking through the woods, she feels as though she is being followed. And she is! Behind her, she hears the Clomp! Clomp! Clomp! of shoes and the Clap! Clap! Clap! of gloves. But she is not afraid of anything! In the end, she bravely faces her fears and has an idea that everyone will love.


The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything is a cumulative text that repeats and builds with each refrain. It’s perfect for little ones to join in and read with you.

…One pair of pants go WIGGLE, WIGGLE,

One shirt go SHAKE, SHAKE,

Two gloves go CLAP, CLAP…

When we read this text, I like to build in shared reading, writing the repetitive lines on sentence strips so students can read along (and later reread independently in a center or station). We also bring out props in the form of popsicle stick characters, so that students can participate completely in the reading of the book.

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything is one of my all-time favorites. (And the kids love it too!)

you-read-to-me-ill-read-to-youYou Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together (Grades P-3, Level M)

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together is one of many books in this series of poems and short stories “for two voices.” All the books in this series are fabulous for the classroom, but this one adds a little extra spook. The Author’s Note describes this text ‘for readers of all stages and ages,’ and that is so true! Kindergarteners love the rhyming text and whimsically spooky illustrations, second graders love the color- coded text to develop their fluency while reading with a partner and fourth graders just love to read because… it’s FUN!

When I used this text with middle grade students, it was wonderful for practicing fluent and expressive reading as we prepared a poetry presentation for our kindergarten buddies. Practicing our poems was a favorite time of the day. We also created our own illustrations for the poems to project on the document camera as we read. (Needless to say, the other books in this series were in high demand for the weeks that followed).

In You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You, you can choose your level of scariness. There’s the skinny witch who is constantly squabbling with her broom.  There are also the Ogre and the Giant, who go back and forth trying to outdo one another.

But the very best pair is the Dragon and the Knight. The knight tries to convince the dragon that he should not be eaten. He’s too thin and dry; he has saved damsels in distress; his armor is rusting. The knight finally convinces the dragon to spare him by offering to teach him how to read:

Let’s sit together on this stool

And we’ll pretend it’s Dragon School.

                I’ll learn to read.

                    And when you’re through,

You’ll read to me. I’ll read to you.

creepy-carrotsCreepy Carrots (Grades P-2, Lexile AD 410)

My newest favorite is the Caldecott Honor Book, Creepy Carrots! In this spooky tale by Aaron Reynolds, Jasper Rabbit loves, loves, LOVES to eat his carrots.

He loves them so much that he begins to get a bit greedy, taking as many fat, crispy carrots as he likes. Until one day… the carrots start following him home. Nobody believes there are carrots lurking, so Jasper must take matters into his own hands.

“There’s no such thing as creepy carrots,” Mom said shaking her head.

On a Saturday morning, Jasper gets up early and heads over to Crackenhopper Field. He spends the entire day constructing a giant fence that completely surrounds the carrot patch. Problem solved!

Jasper is thrilled that he doesn’t have to worry about the tunktunktunk creeping up behind him. And the carrots are relieved… that their plan has worked.

This book makes for a great read aloud all on its own, but there are also lots of ways to connect to learning across the curriculum. One favorite at my school is a STEM challenge. Student teams are supplied with string, popsicle sticks and a carrot. Then, they are challenged to make a fence to completely surround the creepy carrot using as few sticks as possible. The results are recorded and compared on a graph.

In our kindergarten classrooms, students have also created retelling pieces like this one to accompany their carrot counting song:making-creepy-carrots-in-the-classroom
We’re looking forward to sharing this with our new kindergartners this month. And we hope you will too!

What are some of your favorite Halloween tales? How do you integrate and enjoy them across the curriculum?