This year there has been a deluge of dark, demonic books for the ghoul next door. I cannot pick a favorite but here is a sampling of what you can read to your kids or give them to read on their own. Just remember, keep a flashlight close at hand!

51wctlw6ecl_sl500_aa300_How To Be A Zombie (Candlewick Press, $14.99, ages 12 and up) by Serena Valentino – A gruesomely good read for those of you “who crave brains.” Find out what the undead in your neighborhood are up to. There are tips to share, fantastic photos and artwork as well as info on Zombie fashion, terminology and so much more.

9780810939004_s3On a Windy Night (Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.95, ages 4-8) by Nancy Raines Day with illustrations by George Bates – “Clacklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours – if you look back.” I don’t know about you, but I’m outta here! It’s a windy Halloween night below the light of a full moon. Creepy creatures abound on the street and in hidden images throughout this imaginatively rendered book with pictures resembling wood cuts. A little boy is finishing up with his trick-0r-treating and unlike you or me, goes home through the dark woods and scares himself silly imaging all sorts of frightening sounds and spirits out to get him.

barronseduc_2125_67692250Octavius Grimwood’s Graveyard Guide (Barron’s Educational Series, $9.99, ages 8 and up) by Rod Green – “Prepare to be scared” is how this book touts itself and it’s absolutely right. Learn all about the supernatural, spooky and weird, but memorize Octavius’ secret spell first to keep you safe. Turn the pages at your own risk as youdtravel near and fear (oops, I meant far) exploring haunted houses, unmasking wicked witches and unfathoming phantoms.

9780439634304_xlgZen Ghosts (Scholastic Press, $17.99, all ages) by Jon J Muth is one of those timeless tales that will captivate the entire family. Stillwater, the wise and friendly Panda returns in a spine-tingling story set under a full Halloween moon. Inviting his young friends Addy, Karl and Michael to meet a special storyteller who’ll tell a ghost story, Stillwater (or the mysterious storyteller) introduces the children to some Zen Buddism concepts, imparting his unique Panda wisdom to the listeners and readers alike. The water-color artwork only adds to the atmospheric tale and takes us right onto the pages alongside the characters.

thmb-chills_coverChills and Thrills: The Ultimate Anthology of The Mystical, Magical, Eerie, & Uncanny (Welcome Books, $16.95, all ages) Edited by Lena Tabori & Natasha Tabori Fried and designed by Timothy Shaner is an indispensable guide to all things scary, superstitious and spine-tingling! Overflowing with curses, spells,tales of magic and fantasy, magic tricks and more, Chills and Thrills is a creepy compendium you’ll feel compelled to keep on your bedside or coffee table. Whether you seek a classic poem like Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven or a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, it’s included here.

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