Maybe you like curling up with The Shining every year on All Hallow’s Eve or perhaps you venture out to Sleepy Hollow after rereading Irving’s classic spooky tale. But what about the kids? If your little ones are too young for some of horror’s greatest legends, we’ve got the solution. Here, we’ve paired some of your grown-up favorites with books that the littlest of ghouls and ghosts can enjoy (from first-time readers to middle schoolers). These not-quite-creepy reads will have them rushing home from trick-or-treating! Welll… not really. Nothing is better than free candy, but these books come pretty close.
Frankenstein’s creepy creation is sure to go straight over the heads of little ones, though when it comes to the animation of the inanimate, they might like this tale of carrots that come to life to haunt one greedy rabbit: Creepy Carrots.
If you enjoy The Haunting of Hill House, your kids may like Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors. Both are filled with bumps in the night and an eerie house that needs investigating, though Bow-Wow makes for a more adorable protagonist.
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics thrill adult readers with a world of dark fantasy and familiar characters such as Death and Destiny. Kids wanting a slightly darker take on well-loved characters will enjoy Gaiman’s version of Hansel & Gretel—complete with eerie illustrations from Lorenzo Mattotti.
Adults may love the chills they get when diving into Stephen King’s novella The Langoliers, and actor Jason Segel’s middle grade debut Nightmares! provides a fantastic entry-point for kids wanting a spooky adventure where portals open to new and frightening worlds.
The mysterious ghost in Susan Hill’s novella The Woman in Black might be too frightening for middle schoolers. Instead, treat them to chills from The Swallow, the spooky tale of two friends on the hunt for a ghost.