Halloween picture books can be a great way to begin discussions of being afraid of things.  It can also help dispel fears that youngsters might have with the dark and in going to bed.  These great books are a perfect solution for many concerns parents might have for their children.  The following books are great for ages four through eight, unless otherwise indicated.

Gustavo, The Shy Ghost, by Flavia Z. Drago, is a sweet and funny story about how a cute little ghost overcomes being afraid in order to make friends.  He loves to play the violin but is afraid to be noticed.  As he attempts to make a friend, he blends into the background.  He becomes the shade lamp, a white balloon amongst a bunch of colorful ones and a bed sheet hanging on an outdoor clothesline.  When this doesn’t work, he comes up with a new idea.  Seeing his trials and achievements will surely bring giggles and smiles to all.  The illustrations reflect a child’s wonderful drawings and are bright, encouraging and made with mixed media.  The book jacket is a vibrant pink that pops out to all.  But be sure to peek at the actual cover hiding behind.

The Little Kitten, by Nicolas Killen, has a little girl, Ollie, dressed up as a cat and out to explore the beautiful fall weather with her striped cat, Pumpkin.  Outside are brilliant glowing collections of falling orange hues of leaves that glisten off the page of gray palette.  She finds a lost kitten underneath a pile of leaves and begins to play around the trees with both cats.  Pumpkin becomes tired and rests under a tree as Ollie and the kitten play deeper and deeper into the forest until Ollie becomes lost.  How she locates the kitten’s home and finds her own way home is a nice resolution.  There’s a surprise waiting at the end, along with small cutouts sprinkled throughout.

Scared of the Dark? It’s Really Scared of You, by Peter Vegas, and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud, takes the flip side of children’s fears by showing that the dark is actually afraid of the child.  The dark is only brave when the sun goes down.  That’s when it comes out of your underwear drawer and ventures outside where it can enjoy the stars in the darkness at night.  This story minimizes shadows and darkness helping youngsters go to sleep.  The illustrations were rendered in gray pencil and mixed media.  Be sure to check out the actual cover behind the book jacket.  This book is good for ages three through six.

Where’s Waldo!? Spooky Spotlight Search, by Martin Handford, is the newest edition celebrating Halloween in the same spirit of searching for Waldo in his distinctive striped clothes, but now with other nefarious characters.  This edition also features a glow-in-the-dark slider that reveals suspicious characters hidden in the dark pictures.  The searching activity pages include A Ghostly Galleon where you search for some skullduggery and A Creaky Dance Party where you’ll witness bones, coffins and chains creaking to the beat. There are also scenes hidden in the dark where you just might witness skeletons, haunted houses and sea monsters.  There are hours of fun waiting for all ages.

I Love My Fangs, by Kelly Leigh Miller, is actually a unique story about losing your teeth.  Young Dracula loves his two front pointy fangs.  He prides himself brushing and flossing them until a problem ensues. When he is about to open a small box of blood to drink by pushing his fangs down to puncture holes, one fang goes sideways.  When it falls out, he is beside himself.  He tries tying it back on and even tries securing it with bubble gum but with no luck.  When he goes to bed that night in his coffin, he clutches his fang tightly in his hand.  You might notice something in the window that will change everything for him and all young-sters losing teeth.  The pictures, made digitally, are bright and the text is large making this a fast and fun read and perfect for bedtime.

Bears and Boos, by Shirley Parenteau and with brightly painted acrylic by David Walker, begins with a box full of costumes. The next open page shows four baby bears and Big Brown Bear looking inside the box and declaring It’s Halloween! What will we be?  This rhyming tale takes you through the bears’ decisions of costumes and ending in a parade.  Each open page has just four lines and the rhythm captures a nice beat helping youngsters, ages two through four, enjoy hearing and ultimately memorizing the entire book.  This book will be begged to be read over and over.

Fly Guy & Fly Girl: Night Fright, by Tedd Arnold, is another delightful and humorously scary book in this highly popular early reader series.  Two children, Buzz and Liz, decide to go to the zoo with their tiny pets: Fly Guy and Fly Girl.  But the tiny fly friends come across some surprises that frighten only them.  This adventure will surely bring smiles to be read through many times.  There are three short chapters and as typical with Arnold’s page displays, the colors are bright, and the text is large and bold.  This book is perfect for ages five through seven.

Alien Tomato, by Kirsten Schroeder, and illustrated brightly and digitally by Mette Engell, has the vegetables in a curious state when a red orb suddenly lands in their garden.  The vegetables, which include a carrot, an asparagus and a cucumber, are adorable and are full of expression and exclaim that it surely must be an alien.  As they give this alien a name, Allie, and proclaim that they must make her feel at home here on earth, a cheeky gopher is on the sidelines of each picture gruffly stating it’s just a ball.  This hilarious story will surprise you at the end.  What a perfect read aloud that your youngster will want read to them again – many times!