By Katie Rosa
Halloween is one of the best times of the year. The pumpkin patch, hay rides, spooky decorations, the excitement shining in young children’s eyes as they await trick-or-treating—a holiday that celebrates gluttony and rotten teeth (what’s not to love about that?) and of course—the smell of pumpkin everything—candles, lattes, bread…
What about those older kids though? They may be too old to show their eager anticipation… too cool for candy and dress-up?
How can we help older kids get in the mood for the creepy? Give them some awesome books to read.
1) Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. This is a great read for older kids and if yours haven’t read this series yet, they are missing one of the best series ever. The first in the series however but makes for an especially great annual Halloween read. Light and fun, full of witches, wizards, magic, pumpkins, and especially candy, this book will get those kids in the mood for sure. They may even offer to take the little ones trick-or-treating for you…
2) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. This one is not for the faint of heart and boy did these stories get me going when I was a kid—heart palpitating, palms sweaty. Tell the kids to read these with a flashlight under a blanket. But, don’t be surprised if they start sleeping with a nightlight on for a while after.
3) Coraline. Author Neil Gaiman writes books that somehow blend scary and creepy with fun and exciting. Coraline is a little girl who just moved into a new apartment building. She discovers a door that leads into ‘the other world’. Once there she meets ‘the other mother’ and ‘the other father’—versions of her own parents except they have button eyes and long, knife-sharp fingernails. And that was enough to get my daughter’s eyes to grow three sizes and her fingernails to shrink three sizes. I also think she slept in my bed for a week.
4) The Graveyard Book. Another Neil Gaiman story, this one is set in a graveyard with a boy named Nobody Owens who is being raised by ghosts. It opens with a triple murder of ‘Bod’s’ family when he was just a baby. That part was the most intense, but the rest of the story is engaging, with ancient ghosts spouting historical facts and teaching a human boy ghostly tricks. Fun!
5) A Tale Dark and Grimm. A twist on the Grimm stories we knew and loved as children, Adam Gidwitz takes us on adventures through the darker side of fairy tales. With surprises along the way, but just enough of the familiar to keep us grounded, this is a fun, engaging read.
7) Goosebumps. Um, remember those? Dozens of eerie tales to get those older kids in the mood no matter what paranormal creature your kid may be into. Werewolves? Ghosts? Monsters? These books have ’em! And they’re short enough to make for a quick, easy read. You can thank me later when your older kid finally snuggles up to you, as he hasn’t in years, because these books are scaaaaryyyy!
Go on and get the marshmallows roasting. Invest in some light bulbs since your kids might regress to sleeping with every light in their bedroom on until Christmas…Thanksgiving at least. There are many more great Halloween reads for older kids. What are some of your favorites?
Katie Rosa is a writer, former probation officer, wife, and mother to two children, Jocelyn 8, and Liam 3. Jocelyn is her biggest fan and encourages her mother’s writing more than anyone else. You can find some of her work at her author website: http://www.katiegodwinrosa.com or you can follow her on Twitter at @judgemecrazy