Do you have a go-to list of fun Halloween read alouds for your first grade students? I’ve had favorite Halloween books that I used each year in my classroom, but I was always on the lookout for new recommendations. So, I thought I’d recommend 9 Halloween books that I think are fun and engaging. You can also use the books to teach and reinforce comprehension skills and strategies, as well as, use them for a themed unit of study.
Here are 9 Halloween books for first grade to use in the classroom during the month of October:
1. Room on the Broom
I have a list of my favorite Halloween 🎃 read alouds for first grade. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson is at the top of my list. It’s been a classroom favorite in my classroom in the past. It reads like a poem with its rhyming verse which helps the children learn the patterns of language. And because of the rhyme, it also makes it fun to read aloud!
It’s a story about a witch who flies on her broomstick with her cat on a windy day. She encounters a variety of animals as she travels. The animals help her find items as she loses them. In turn, she helps the animals by giving them a ride on her broom. The animals return the witch’s kindness when she encounters a big obstacle. It’s a lesson on how helping others can lead to returned kindnesses.
The story is perfect for teaching about sequence of events, which is an important skill for reading comprehension. The witch encountered which animals first, second, etc.? What were the order of objects that the witch lost? What important events happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story?
Lastly, the book lends itself to a discussion of the importance of helping others and how that can lead to others returning the kindness and needed help.
2. The Night Before Halloween
Children can relate to the excitement and anticipation of an upcoming special day or holiday. So, having a collection of Natasha Wing’s “The Night Before” books are just what you need for these occasions.
The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing is a book about Halloween characters – spiders, mummies, Count Dracula, etc., who get ready for Halloween the day before the holiday. And what they do on the day of Halloween, as children celebrate Halloween at school and trick or treat in the evening. The read aloud ends with an unexpected surprise for the children!
3. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
This is such a fun Halloween read aloud book for your first grade students! On a walk thru the forest, different objects follow and make repetitive noises as a little old lady walks thru the forest. She tells each one that she’s not afraid of any of them. They eventually follow her home and she comes up with a plan to solve the problem of what to do with them. The children love predicting what the little old lady will do when the objects show up at her house.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams is a book that’s helpful for practicing sequencing skills. You can engage your students in repeating the sounds of the things that the little old lady encounters to help them sequence the story. Some additional ideas:
🧡 Read Alouds Extension Ideas
- Have your first graders say aloud the phrases as you read.
- Read the book multiple times so students can act out different parts of the story.
- Turn it into a center activity for children to listen to a recording of the story as they act out each character.
- Predict what the little old lady’s plan will be for the objects that show up at her home. What is her plan for dealing with the things that have followed her home? Students can share, draw, and/or write their predictions.
4. How to Catch a Monster
The subject of monsters comes up each Halloween, so How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace is a great book to add to your Halloween read alouds. It’s a story about a boy who dresses up as a Ninja to catch a monster that is hiding in his closet. As the story progresses, the boy finds out that having a monster can actually be fun.
This book is perfect for making predictions, a strategy that helps with reading comprehension. How will the main character catch the monster? Children can think ahead and focus on clues to verify their predictions as the teacher reads the story.
5. Big Pumpkin
First of all, the illustrations in Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman are amazing! The story definitely comes alive with the vibrant colors and detailed watercolor images.
It’s a story about a witch who grows a pumpkin, so she can make pumpkin pie for Halloween. The pumpkin grows to such a big size that she can’t take the pumpkin off the vine. Several Halloween characters come to help, but she still can’t get the pumpkin out of the ground. Children anticipate if and how the witch will get the pumpkin off of the vine throughout the book.
It’s another book that’s perfect for teaching sequence of events. Who came to help the witch? Who came first, next, last? What was the order of events in the story? Review the events as you read to help students remember the order.
6. The Vanishing Pumpkin
I’ve used The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston for years. Tomie dePaola has been my favorite children’s book illustrator for a long time. Instead of the popular Halloween characters children commonly hear about, the book’s “spooky” characters are a ghoul, rapscallion, varmint, and a 900 year old wizard. (The characters intrigued my students.) Your first graders can make predictions and anticipate what has happened to the vanishing pumpkin.
I love how the book starts:
“There was a 700-year-old woman. There was an 800-year-old man. They were rocking by the fire when the sun came up.”The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston
Those sentences prompted lots of discussions about the age of the old man and old woman. This is one of those books that you will want to take out each Halloween to read aloud to your students. Then, add it to your basket of Halloween read aloud books for rereading.
7. Pumpkin Jack
This is a story of a boy who carves a pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern for Halloween. After Halloween is over, he throws the pumpkin away in the garden. Then, in the spring, the boy sees that the pumpkin seeds have sprouted. He watches as the pumpkins grow and become ripe in the fall, just in time for pumpkin carving time! Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell is perfect for a study of the life cycle of a pumpkin or field trip to a pumpkin patch.
8. Snowmen at Halloween
Your students will love to see what snowmen do at Halloween, especially if they’re familiar with the “Snowmen at Night” picture book series by Caralyn Buehner. Just like the title of the book, Snowmen at Halloween, it’s about what snowmen do on Halloween night. The rhyming verse and vivid illustrations make it an engaging read aloud for the classroom.
This is one of those books that you can add to your classroom library for students to get a close-up view of the illustrations. They’ll see so much more detail in the pictures to understand all the things that snowmen do on Halloween. You can also do some fun extension activities with this book:
🧡 Read Aloud Book Extension Activities
- Have your students design Halloween costumes for snowmen and then describe their snowmen.
- Your first graders can predict what they think snowmen do on Halloween.
- Children can work with a partner to compare and contrast how their Halloween at night is different and the same as the snowmen at night.
9. The Pumpkin Book
The Pumpkin Book is a nonfiction book by Gail Gibbons. I would read parts of this book in connection with what we were studying in class or for a pumpkin patch field trip. You can use it for a study of the life cycle of a pumpkin. One section in the book is about how to carve a pumpkin. It’s perfect for how to writing or a pumpkin carving demonstration in the classroom.
You might want to read this book at more than one sitting. Read and discuss the parts of the book that apply to your units of study. For example, we had a pumpkin mini unit during the months of October and November. So, we read the parts of the book that connected to our study.
Because our school had a garden with pumpkins growing in the fall, the book was helpful as we watched the pumpkins grow and ripen.
I think Gail Gibbons has a great way of explaining facts and information that students can understand. Therefore, I used many of her nonfiction books in the classroom.
Of course, you can read these books to your students for pure enjoyment. But, you can also extend activities for your students to respond to Halloween literature. For example, extend the reading during your literacy centers block of time. Another idea is to use extension activities as part of a choice board at a listening center.
🧡 Halloween Freebie
✅ Join the First Grade Schoolhouse resource library to get this free packet of Halloween response to literature printables. You can use them with any of these Halloween books.