Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Best Books about Halloween (Non-Fiction)

I recently heard someone say, "If you don't like what people are saying about you, change the conversation."  I know many people who object to Halloween on religious grounds.  My challenge is, If you don't like what Halloween stands for (real or perceived), change it.  I have always emphasized the good in the holiday and the season.  We go to pumpkin patches and farms.  We carve pumpkins.  We dress up and trick or treat.  As my children have gotten older, I have discussed with them some of the negatives associated with the holiday.  Their response to me:  “But to us it is just imagination and fun!”  Parents shape how their children see something which in turn impacts how the world views it. 
As I read about Halloween, I learned that its meaning and celebration has changed over the years.  Modern day celebrations in America are a combination of cultural, religious, and pagan traditions but the meaning to nearly everyone is a celebration of the harvest/fall, imagination, creativity, and community.  

Halloween (ages 4-10) by Brenda Haugen
Halloween (Holidays and Celebrations)This non-fiction, colorful book explains where the holiday comes from:  both the secular and the Christian (religious) influences on its development.  It is geared for younger children in illustrations and in text.  The vocabulary is simple with only a few sentences on a page.   This book is a valuable tool to learn about the traditions of Halloween and how they began. 
Celebrate Halloween with Pumpkins, Costumes, and Candy (ages 5 and up) by Deborah Heiligman               
Holidays Around The World: Celebrate Halloween: With Pumpkins, Costumes, and CandyUsing vivid photographs from around the country, the activities associated with Halloween and fall are illustrated and discussed.  Briefly, the origins from the Celtics and early Christian church are reviewed.  The majority of the text is on visiting pumpkin patches, carving pumpkins, decorating, costumes, parades, games, and trick or treating.  In the back of the book, there are some additional resources: directions for the snap-apple game, information on the day of the dead tradition, instructions for a spooky graveyard cake (which I am going to make with my kids), and books & websites for additional information. 

Halloween: A True Book (ages 6-12) by Dana Meachen Rau
Halloween (True Books : Holidays)This non-fiction book is written in a narrative style which makes it interesting and easy to follow to younger readers.  The content is comprehensive enough that older children will learn from it.  The ancient origins, Christian influences, early traditions, spooky symbols, and contemporary celebrations are covered.  Color photographs accompany the text.  It is broken up into small chapters.  As a result, it can be read in one sitting or in a few different ones.  It also includes information about the Mexican Day of the Dead festival and tips for Halloween safety. 

The Story of Halloween (ages 7-11) by Carol Greene
I like the way this book is broken up into small, 1-2 page sections on various Halloween sub-topics.  Similar information is present as in Halloween: A True Book, but there are some additional details and many more interesting pictures. 
*I highly recommend the "True Book" series for other topics as well.  I have read other ones in the series and found them great tools for reinforcing information I am teaching my children. 

There are lots of great Halloween recipes out there.  I recently came across the Making Memories blog which has some adorable mummy cookies.  Ain't She Crazy blog has some wonderful recipes and holiday themed ideas. 


  1. Thanks for the shout out! I would love these books. I am so fascinated with the evolution of holidays. I may have to check one out! (better late than never!)

  2. You are welcome! I agree--Better late than never! Right now you should have no problem finding them on the shelves in the library. I am still getting books about Halloween I reserved weeks ago! I have sometimes added one to a posted list, again...better late than never! :)


5 Fabulous African Fiction Picture Books

The Herd Boy Niki Daly, author and illustrator Malusi is a herd boy in a mountainous region of South Africa. He wakes up early each...