It’s my favorite season and one of the best holidays is approaching – so why not take a trip down memory lane with Halloween literature? Fair warning, I am a 90s baby through and through so most, if not all, of the following books will be 90s/00s books that were a hit while I was growing up.
When I think of Halloween books, I automatically think of the book “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories” by Alvin Schwartz. This book was released a bit before my time – 1984. How this is a children’s book is beside me because there are stories in there that definitely provoked my nightmares as a kid. I’m talking the wake-up-panting-and-sweating-type of nightmares. I mean look at the cover! From heads falling off to giant teeth, I pay tribute to that book for developing my affinity for horror films (and being a weird person, lol).
A not so scary book that I really enjoyed as a child was Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. Not only was this book published during the best year ever – 1992 – but it always made me want to go out to the pumpkin patch. This book brings all your favorite Halloween creatures together (but sorry to say no love story between a vampire and a werewolf in this one) to send a timeless message: there’s no “i” in team.
Marc Brown is one of my favorite authors of all time. If you were once confused as to what kind of animal Arthur is, you’re not alone. Is he a mouse? A rabbit? A monkey? A bear? No, those are his friends – Arthur is an aardvark. Yeah, I still don’t know what he is. Also, how do his glasses stay on his face? These are questions I now ask as an adult. Anyway, I absolutely loved reading all the Arthur books growing up. There is one for every occasion, including Halloween. In Arthur’s Halloween, Arthur’s younger sister, D.W., fearlessly goes into a haunted house and Arthur contemplates whether or not he should go in after her. Look at Marc Brown subtly throw in girl power in his books – love that guy.
Giant, clumsy, and red – no worries, I’m not going to talk about Ronald McDonald the Clown; I’m describing my favorite childhood dog, Clifford. If you have kids and aren’t reading Clifford books to them, are you even doing the whole parenting thing correctly? Clifford’s Halloween by Norman Bridwell (1966!!) was probably one of my favorite of the Clifford the Big Red Dog book series. In this book, Emily Elizabeth (might name my future baby that) and Clifford participate in all the Halloween festivities making you feel extreme FOMO. Norman did well with these books.
The Berenstain – or is it Berenstein? – Bears books are another timeless classic book series. Whether or not the Mandela Effect changed the spelling, these books are definitely fun to read. Ahem…I mean, were fun to read. Don’t judge me. I especially loved how mischievous the bears were. In The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat, Brother and Sister decide to give more tricks than treats, naturally. But in all seriousness, how do you remember Berenstain being spelled? Authors Jan and Stan would know what they named their own books, right? I mean the books are named after their last names.
I decided to save the best for last – these books were probably the books I remember reading the most. I loved the Goosebumps book series before it turned into a TV series – with just…stellar… acting, might I add. From the colorful and terrifying book covers to the frightening taglines, R.L Stine sure knew how to get into the mind of a teenager and bring all their worst nightmares to life. I’m not sure if new books have been released in the series, but I swear I read them all. My mom started questioning her parenting skills when I would read them back to back. But hey, I ended up alright. My favorites included The Haunted Mask (the TV episode wasn’t so bad for this one), Welcome to Camp Nightmare, Welcome to Dead House, and Say Cheese and Die! I eventually graduated Goosebumps and moved on to the Fear Street book series. Looking back, I can honestly say R.L. Stine helped shape my creativity. What was your favorite Goosebumps book?
All these books are giving me major nostalgia. Being a kid sure had its perks: trick or treating, reading Halloween books, crafts at school, watching Hocus Pocus…wait, I still watch Hocus Pocus just with a bottle of wine, of course. Cheers to never growing up!