Witching Hour: A Storytime for Halloween

For Outdoor Musical Storytime today I read three of my favorite non-scary Halloween books, and had a great time.

Here’s what we did:


Moonlight: The Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant and Melissa Sweet

Very sweet book describing the sights of Halloween through the eyes of a cat who loves them all. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and the book does a nice job of presenting Halloween as a fun and festive night instead of focusing on the elements that might scare younger kids (my storytime audience includes a lot of babies and toddlers, so this was perfect).

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

My coworker Angela and I read this one together (I read the part of Sam, which includes one of my favorite monologues of all time). Leonardo is a terrible monster, who can’t scare anyone. Frustrated, he searches for the most scaredy-cat kid in the entire world to scare, and roars and makes scary faces until the little boy (Sam) cries. But when he hears Sam’s story, he decides to become a wonderful friend instead.

Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara

This is my all-time favorite Halloween books for younger kids. A girl moves into a big old house that has one problem: it is haunted! Luckily the girl is a witch, who knows how to catch ghosts. One by one, she catches them, puts them in the washing machine, dries them on the line, and turns them into very friendly-looking curtains, tablecloths, and blankets. We had handed out movement scarves before we read this one, and I had the kids pretend the scarves were ghosts.

Rhymes & Songs:

On Halloween

I asked the kids for suggestions of Halloween things they might see in the house for each verse. We had pumpkins, monsters, cats, bats, tigers, and witches. I always end with “The kids at the door say, ‘Trick or Treat!'”

To the Tune of The Wheels on the Bus

[C]The ghosts in the house say, “Boo! Boo! Boo!”

[G7]“Boo! Boo! Boo! C] Boo! Boo! Boo!”

The ghosts in the house say “Boo! Boo! Boo!”

[G7]On Hallo- [C]ween!

Five Little Pumpkins

This was a repeat from last week, which was nice because the kids recognized it and found it easier to say the rhyme with me.

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, “Oh my! It’s getting late!
The second one said, “There are witches in the air!”
The third one said, “But WE don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!” (run in place)
The five one said, “This is Halloween fun!”
Then, “OOOH” went the wind, and OUT (clap!) went the light!
And the five little pumpkins rolled (roll your hands) out of sight.

We Are Scary Ghosts

We handed out movement scarves before we sang this song, so the kids could put them on their heads and pretend to be ghosts. I took suggestions from kids each time we sang it, so we were creepy cats, scary wolves, flying bats, and scary witches.

We are scary ghosts floating down the street,

Walking down the street,

Walking down the street.

We are scary ghosts walking down the street,

We’ll scare you…BOO! 

Candy Corn for Dinner

We sang this as our instrument play-along (after handing out the shakers). This was one of the first songs I ever wrote.

This song was also on an album we made a long time ago to distribute to storytime families at the Millbrae Library. Here’s a link to that version on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ashley-larsen-1/sets/musical-storytime-2016

C                                                                     G7                  
Mom and dad put me in charge of our dinner tonight.
C                                                                                G7
They said I could make anything as long as we ate right.
C                                                        G7                   C
I had to serve some vegetables, a salad, and a stew.
C                                                                        G7               C
I thought a while and cooked a bit, and here is my menu.

F                                                     C
We’re having candy corn for dinner
G7                             C
With a side of chocolate stew.
F                               C
A three jelly bean salad,
G7                                                C
And an ice cream sandwich too.

I don’t know why Mom and Dad say cooking is a chore,
‘Cause I had such a great time going to the grocery store.
My mom said we were out of milk, so I bought a big milkshake,
And since my dad likes cheese so much, I got him a cheesecake.

We’re having candy corn for dinner
With a side of chocolate stew.
A three jelly bean salad,
And an ice cream sandwich too.

Life is better when it’s sweet,

Like a big hot plate of Rice Krispie treat.

So if you have to cook tonight, I hope you’ll learn from me.
And make your family carrot cake, or cherries jubilee.
Even if they don’t approve, you can count it as a win.
You’ll have a yummy dinner, and you won’t be asked to cook again!

We’re having candy corn for dinner
With a side of chocolate stew.
A three jelly bean salad,
And an ice cream sandwich too.

Stay & Play: Paper Bag Monsters

This was an easy, versatile craft. The paper bags can be puppets, but also double as trick-or-treat bags. Basically, I just put out paper bags, googly eyes, glue sticks, markers, and an assortment of colored paper shapes. The kids always seem to enjoy projects that involve a mix of drawing and gluing, and it’s fun to see all of the different things they create.

What are your favorite Halloween books or songs? Please share them in the comments below.

Happy Halloween!