Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spooky stories for Halloween

I've been busy brainstorming, outlining and drafting some articles but thought I'd take a break to blog about Halloween.

My son loves drama, dancing, dress-up, pretend play and making up silly songs and stories - it's no surprise that he loves Halloween especially after watching Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie.

When he was younger, he'd hide or scamper away during the parts when the Gobloon came out but now, he wants to be a SCARY pumpkin for Halloween! Go figure.

As his preschool celebrates Halloween on a grand scale and talk of costumes, pumpkins, bats, ghosts and other scary stuff have been hot topics among the preschoolers, he was hot on the heels of Halloween-themed books at the library.

Here's what we found:

BOO! A Halloween Peek-a-Boo! Book by Lark Carrier
I'd chosen this book as a 2-in-1 deal as I thought the toddler could thumb through the pages on her own too.

With bold and vivid illustrations, this read-a-loud book had a lot of "Boo! Ooh! Meowoo! Hoo! Shoo!" etc in it that I felt quite tired stretching out the "oo" sound after one reading session!

The preschooler loved Boo! A Halloween Peek-a-boo! Bookbut the toddler couldn't be bothered. Since it isn't a board book, I couldn't leave the paper-tearing toddler alone with it. Definitely a book for the preschooler set.

Rattlebone Rock by Sylvia Andrews and Jennifer Plecas (1995)
Tombstones, spirits, skeletons, graveyards, ghosts, tombs, ghouls, a banshee, goblins and witches all come alive at a wild Halloween party in the town graveyard. The party is so happening that all the townsfolk rush out to see what all the rattling and rocking's about and join in the party too!

Lots of onomatopeia like "booma-boom", "clacka-clack", "rappa-tap" and "shousha-shap" for a fun read-aloud session. I threw in a banshee's wail and a witch's cackling laugh for good measure.
Rattlebone Rock is definitely the preschooler's favourite.

I think the little fella just shivered with glee listening to this scary story - he's been asking us to read the book again and again.

Initially, I was a bit wary of the graveyards, ghosts, skeletons and I know that the Chinese ladies in my family would go tsk, tsk, tsk (or "Choi! choi! choi!") with disapproval since the Chinese like to associate themselves as little as possible with the dead. Don't get this book if you're uncomfortable with "deathly" themes.

What about me? I couldn't resist getting into the Halloween mood too and picked up this famous book:

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Anyway, The Witches is about Roald's childhood (it's not autobiographical but it's pretty close) with his Norwegian grandmother who becomes his guardian when his parents are killed in a car accident. Not true but his father died when he was a child.

I am not familiar with Roald Dahl's children's books as I never knew him when I was a kid - too much Enid Blyton! However, after reading "Matilda", "Boy" and trying to finish "The BFG", I'm starting to like this imaginative writer although I don't really like how graphic he can get in his descriptions.

His grandmother starts to tell him stories as a distraction from the awful event i.e. that it's important for him to know how to spot a witch.

"The Witches" is fast becoming a great book to read but if you want something REALLY scary, check out Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. It's Dahl's imagination gone really wild.

Happy Hallooooooooooween!


  1. ha ha same with me. too much of enid blyton :)
    i tried to find kite runner in your blog but could not find the review :)

  2. Thanks for dropping by. I'll post the review on of the free moments I have, ok?