Countdown to Halloween with books! This Halloween Advent Calendar idea is fun for kids and families, easy to put together, and great for a budget.
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One of my great loves in life is reading– books of all kinds. I also love Halloween. Not the scary, ghoulish, gory kind, but the fun costumes, trick or treating, sugar cookies, and pumpkins-on-the-porch kind. To celebrate both of these, I created a Halloween Book Countdown—a really fun way to count down the thirty-one days to Halloween, starting with October 1st. We started this years ago, and love it!
Celebrating Halloween is so fun, and can be done the whole month long. Some of our favorite traditions are during the Halloween season–making festive treats like Halloween Pretzel Mummies and “Booing” our neighbors. One of our favorites is counting down to Halloween day with a books, just like our Christmas Book Advent.
It’s fun and easy. You don’t need to buy 31 Halloween books–we check ours out from the library, making it a very inexpensive (basically free) way to celebrate this spooky season with your kids and family.
A Halloween Book Countdown means cozy nights snuggled up together, a good book, and just maybe a cup of hot chocolate. Perfection.
Table of contents
- Halloween books–from your own library, new books, library books
- White cardstock for printing tags
- Wrapping paper
- Basket, bin, or crate–big enough for 31 books. (Check the dollar store!)
How it works
Gather thirty-one Halloween books, and then either wrap them up and number them, or place them in a cute basket or crate. Every day beginning October 1st, we choose one of the books to read. How my kids love this long-loved tradition, and it’s the perfect way to help celebrate the fun part of Halloween.
Make a list of some of your favorite Halloween books, along with a few others you want to try, then head to the library. I’m working on collecting our own set, but until then, the library is the perfect resource. It usually has all the titles I’m looking for, plus others that are new to us, which I love.
Tip: It’s a good idea to head to your library right around the first of the month, to make sure you have a good selection. Checkout dates vary from library to library (we’ve had two, three, and four weeks), but most of them offer renewals, so you could have the books for the entire month. If they don’t offer renewals on holiday books, you can always go a couple of times that month to stock up. It’s totally worth it!!
You can use a tub, crate, basket, or even a space on your bookshelf to keep your books. This method is nice if you want your kids to be able to choose their own book each night. I also like wrapping them up in paper and placing a number on them, for more of a surprise. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy to be fun–using a basket you already have is perfect too!
My first bin that I used years ago looked like this…just a simple black plastic tote that I think was from the Dollar Store! With a bit of ribbon on the handles, and a vinyl label, it was ready to go.
Download countdown numbers
Click on the button to download the spooky number tags.
How to print
Download tags above, then print on to white card stock. Cut them out and adhere each one to a wrapped Halloween book.
Yes. For the first few years I used almost all library books, since we didn’t own many. I try to collect one or two a year, and then over the years I’ve had to check out fewer books. When we lived in a town with a smaller library, I’d drive to one that had a larger selection. But I’ve never had trouble finding books to borrow.
No, not at all. If you want to get the books and place them in a basket in the corner of your family room and read one per night without the wrapping, that totally works. There have been years that we did it that way, and my kids were happy. They really love just sitting down each night and reading together, and the ongoing tradition.
A bunch of my favorites are listed below!
31 favorite Halloween books
Here is a list of 31 Halloween books that we love for our Halloween Book Countdown! (Most of these books are targeted for ages 3-8.) For older children, tweens, and teens, reading a spooky chapter book each night works really well too. But actually my kids still love the picture books, even as they’ve gotten older!
The book featured in the pictures? One of our most favorites!! B is for Boo!
- Too Many Pumpkins
- Pumpkin Soup
- The Biggest Pumpkin Ever
- Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden
- How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
- Pumpkin Pumpkin
- In the Haunted House
- Room on the Broom
- The Night Before Halloween
- Ten Timid Ghosts
- The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat
- Big Pumpkin
- The Vanishing Pumpkin
- Humbug Witch
- Bugs That Go Bump in the Night
- Five Little Pumpkins
- Scary, Scary Halloween
- Mrs. McMurphy’s Pumpkin
- It’s Halloween
- The 13 Nights of Halloween
- Miss Fiona’s Stupendous Pumpkin Pies
- Happy Halloween, Ladybug Girl!
- At the Old Haunted House
- Halloween Night
- Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve (Magic Tree House, No. 30)
- Halloween is Coming
- Pumpkin Hill
More Halloween ideas
Now that you’ve made it this far, we are pretty much best friends! 🖤 If you make this project, or have a question, I’d love you to leave me a comment below. Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
*Originally posted 2011.