If you are celebrating Halloween this year, scare up some excitement with these kid-friendly Halloween books that will thrill and delight kids of all ages. Take a trip to your school or community library to gather a few popular Halloween books. You'll find some not-too-scary picture books, tales about runaway pumpkins, big pumpkins, too many pumpkins, bats, scarecrows, and of all things, and a story about a friendly witch who shares her broom with others.
Here are 5 Thrilling Books to Read Aloud:
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. With the rhythm and repetition that children love, this book tells a story about a witch who, through her encounter with a ghost, vampire, bat, and mummy, discovers both the value of cooperating and the joy of sharing. The beautiful paintings make this story come alive for children of all ages.
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White. This is a cute story about Rebecca who has hated pumpkins ever since she was a girl when pumpkins were often the only food her family had. One day an enormous pumpkin falls off a truck and crashed in her yard. Rebecca shovels dirt over the pieces and then forgets about them. But those slimy pumpkin smithereens sprout up in autumn, and Rebecca Estelle finds a new patch of pumpkins in her garden.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson is an excellent book to share with children. This is a not so typical Halloween story is about a witch and a group of animals with good manners who help each other. It's fun to read aloud because of its rhythm and rhyme. Kids love the repetition and the eye-catching illustrations.
Otis and the Scarecrow by Loren Long is the story about where Otis the tractor lives. The farmer has introduced someone new on the farm---a scarecrow to shoo away the pesky crows. But when Otis and the animals greet the scarecrow with friendly smiles, the scarecrow’s frown never leaves his face. So everyone leaves him alone. A book that shows how the subtle acts of compassion and standing up for others makes everyone feel valued.
The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis is a story about two brothers and their little sister, who spy the biggest pumpkin they've ever seen. First, Buck and Billy try to roll the pumpkin down the hill to show everyone, but it's too big! Before long, it's bumping and thumping and rolling down the hillside out of control. This is a perfect story to read aloud in the classroom.
The Runaway Pumpkin is one of my favorite Halloween books to read to the class. During Halloween week, I read a new Halloween-themed book each day. For that week during centers, I set up fun literacy activities related to each book. What a fun way to celebrate and learn about Halloween while also focusing on language arts skills!
Let's take a closer look at the Runaway Pumpkin Unit that includes several activities related to the story.
- Character Traits (Granny, and Little Lil)
- The Setting
- The Plot
- The Plot Thickens (sequencing activity)
- The Problem, Solution, and Theme
- Find all the Action Verbs
- Pumpkin Adjectives
- Comprehension Questions
- Spotlight on Vocabulary
- Runaway Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt
- Pumpkin Poem (compare and contrast the story to the poem)
- Write your own Personal Narrative Runaway Pumpkin Story
- Writing Rubric
- Life Cycle of a Pumpkin Activity
- Quiz and Answer Key
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
For this activity, you will need several copies of the Runaway Pumpkin book. You could go to the local library or ask other teachers in your building to borrow their copy. Divide the class into groups of 2 to 3 students. Give each student a copy of the book and the "Runaway Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt" activity page. Instruct students to read through the book in order to answer the questions. Ater they have finished, bring the class back together as a whole group to check and correct their answers.
The Life Cycle of a Pumpkin
This unit includes several hands-on activities that students will love. This story leads well into the learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin.
Comprehension and Literacy Activities
Is your class learning about character traits, setting, author's purpose, or theme? This unit has many of them. Look through the unit and pick out the skills that you want to focus on with this captivating book. Then prepare each activity or center as described below. Many of these activities work well for reading groups and centers activities after reading the book.
There are two types of Character Traits: Inside and Outside. Outside traits are ones you can see. Inside traits are part of a person's or character's personality. On the front board, draw a picture of a bat. Underneath the bat, draw a T-Chart labeled Character Traits: Inside and Outside. On a piece of paper, have students create their own T-Chart. Ask students to describe Lilly Lil. Add the traits the correct category and have the students do the same on their page. For additional or independent practice, have students do the same thing for Granny Baxter.
Comparing Poetry to Fiction
Students will enjoy reading this rhyming poem about the life cycle of a pumpkin called From a Tiny Seed. This leads to an activity to compare the poem to the Runaway Pumpkin. Both forms of literature are about the same topic.
Shine a Spotlight on Vocabulary
Every story has some terms that are meant to expand a reader's vocabulary. In this story there are several new words that students might not be familiar with such as foresaw, disaster or cautious. This is a great opportunity to talk about being cautious when they are Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night.
Here are some questions to start the discussion:
- What does it mean to be "cautious"?
- Name a time when you should be cautious?
- Why should you be cautious about Halloween?
- When you hear the word "disaster" what comes to mind?
Extension Activities: Write a Personal Narrative
Learning writing is one of the most important skills for kids to learn. Writing personal narratives are a perfect way to encourage your students to write. "Personal" refers to a story from one's life or experiences. Creative writing allows kids to express their feelings and beliefs about a given topic. Giving students writing prompts can make the writing process a little bit easier for them. A rubric is included to make the grading process a breeze!