I love gearing up for the Halloween season with some good Halloween books – everything from scary stories, how-to’s, recipes and other tales. I’m also all about saving money, so I often visit my local library to get my Halloween reading fix for free. My library has an awesome app that let’s me enter in my search term (which was Halloween), search the catalog and request to have the books I want sent to my local branch for pick up. It makes it a lot easier to peruse the Halloween collection at home and decide which ones I want!
I’m going to be completely honest, I am a bit of a slow reader so I’ve not finished all these books yet, but I want to share with you what I found in case you’re looking for some frightening new reads:
“Halloween: the History of America’s Darkest Holiday” by David J. Skal (2002)
This book takes a great narrative approach to the history, tales and lore behind Halloween and the traditions associated with it. I really am enjoying this one because of the way Skal writes this book. He paints pictures with his descriptions and doesn’t just tell the history of things, he tells the story.
“Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past” by Diane C. Arkins (2004)
I love vintage Halloween decor, ideas, recipes and learning about traditions from Halloween’s past – this book does the trick in all of those departments! Published in 2004, this book takes a look at traditions between the holiday’s “Golden Age” from 1875 – 1935. These lighthearted traditions are so fun and would be perfect for a throwback Halloween party. It includes everything from foods, party games, menus, decorating ideas and costumes from vintage articles and guides to help you plan the perfect Halloween gathering. I absolutely love the illustrations and images which provide a glimpse into this holiday’s past.
“Betty Crocker: Halloween Cookbook” (2012)
This book is fairly self-explanatory! And good news – it is FREE on Kindle Unlimited if you have a Kindle. This book is full of fun, whimsical and cute cooking ideas – however I feel like you need a steady hand and a lot of patience to make these recipes look as good as the photos do. It includes ideas for savory treats, entrees, and sweets – which is a great variety for any Halloween party! Some recipes that I want to try from this book include: S’mores Shake Shots, Crunchy Peanut Butter Mix, Taco Monster Mouths and Pizza Pot Pie!
“A Newberry Halloween” A dozen scary stories by Newberry Award-winning authors
These short stories are perfect to read to kids, or just for your own nostalgic delight! These stories cover everything from ghosts to witches and the book features shorts from authors E.L. Konigsburg, Beverly Cleary, Eleanor Estes and many more. This is also a great book if you don’t have a lot of time to read and want to get in a short story or two whenever you have the time to get in the Halloween spirit.
“Haunt Your House for Halloween: Decorating Tricks & Party Treats” by Cindy Fuller (1997)
This cute little book has some great ideas and inspiration for folk-art/primitive Halloween DIY decor. It includes template and step-by-step details on how to create your own unique, country-inspired decor for those looking for a lighthearted and more whimsical Halloween theme.
“Reader’s Digest: Tricks & Treats, the Ultimate Halloween Book” by Deborah Harding (1998)
This book has it all – pumpkin carving ideas, DIY costumes for children, Halloween treat recipes, and DIY yard signs, banners – even quilts! My favorite section of this book is all about how to make your own Halloween apparel. This includes how to deck out your denim jacket with jolly jack-o-lanterns, create a creepy crew neck pullover and my all time favorite – how to knit a Halloween chenille sweater vest (the model in the book is chatting on a giant cordless telephone and drinking a hot beverage to show off the vest’s unique versatility). The photos in the book are very reminiscent of 1998, which I get a kick out of.
“Dressed for Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerades” by Phyllis Galembo (2002)
As I mentioned, I love learning about Halloween traditions from the past and this book includes stories and large photos of creepy, cool and intriguing costumes and trends throughout the years. After going through this book, I’m convinced that any costume from the 1930s and 1940s is way creepier than any horror mask you can find in stores today.
I hope some of these book recommendations will get you in the Halloween spirit and provide you with some fun ideas to celebrate the season!