Halloween-themed books to make your howl

It’s not the weather that keeps your eyes open these days.

It’s not the paper skeletons that appear in your neighbor’s windows or the pumpkins that grin from their stoops, either. No, what really makes you howl are all the new Halloween-themed books for everyone in the family.

Candy isn’t the only thing the smallest tricksters want. Kids ages 2 to 5 will love the story inside “A Tiger Called Tomás” by Charlotte Zolotow and Marta Alvarez Miguéns.

In it, Tomás was sure his trick-or-treat costume would surprise everybody but instead, they all knew exactly who he was. His friends called him by name. Even the lady down the block recognized Tomás. That made him sad, until his Mamá said words to make him smile.

Older kids (5 to 8 year olds) who are familiar with nursery rhymes will enjoy “Mother Ghost” by Rachel Kolar, illustrated by Roland Garrigue.

It’s a clever take-off on classic nursery rhymes, complete with accompanying spooky illustrations. Read it, and neither of you will ever see “Little Miss Muffet” the same way again.

For school ghouls, grab “Disney Villains: The Evilest of Them All,” a book full of “interviews” with The Evil Queen, Ursula, Captain Hook and others.

Here, your child can learn more about the nastiest, most despicable and meanest that the Magic Kingdom has to offer. This book has tons of illustrations, of course, as well as interactive windows to open in somewhat of a comic book format. It’s perfect for kids ages 8 to 12.

Readers ages 13 to adult are a whole lot braver, so they’ll want to have “Haunted: Malevolent Ghosts, Night Terrors, and Threatening Phantoms” by Brad Steiger with Sherry Hansen Steiger next to their bedside. Or maybe not — this book isn’t for the faint of heart or anyone who wants to sleep.

Here, you’ll find chapter after chapter of creepy things: psychic pets that keep their owners safe from spectres; poltergeists and how the age of their victims figures into their presence; buildings and homes that host ghosts the most; angels and demons; near-death experiences and how spirits really do want to talk to us; seers and psychics; and why you shouldn’t want to mess with any of the above. It’s an easy-to-read book, broken up in small bites so you can read for a few short minutes or until you’re good and scared, or you can easily browse it to find what terrifies you most. Word to the wise: this book is one of Brad Steiger’s last; he died earlier this year, so get this book now.

And finally, if you want Halloween to keep you in stitches, look for “Zombie Cross-Stitch” by Kristy Kizzee and Erika Kern. It’s a book with all kinds of crafty charts including a zombified Michael Jackson, zombie heads, Miss Zombie, baby zombie and more: colored thread, needles, an embroidery hoop, Aida cloth, and instructions to make a couple of lovely zombie portrait for your living dead-ing room wall.

So make yours a happy Halloween with books that’ll make you howl.

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