About the Holiday
Halloween is almost here! Enjoy the thrills and chills all month long with fun Halloween-themed books like this one. You may even want to keep them on the shelf to celebrate all YEAR long – just like the boy in today’s book!
Sammy’s Spooktacular Halloween
By Mike Petrik
On Halloween night all the kids looked forward to visiting the Loomis’s barn, where “the biggest, creepiest, jump-scariest haunted house in the neighborhood” took place. Everyone in the family helped out as witches, spirits, and vampires and in making lots of thunder, fog, and eerie sounds. Sammy, especially, wanted to make “sure to give the trick-or-treaters a fang-tastically fun time.”
On the morning after Halloween, the whole family gathered for pumpkin pancakes to relive the thrill of the night before. This year, Sammy could hardly concentrate on his pancakes because he already had so many ideas for the haunted house next year. Sammy’s older siblings, Luke and Molly, thought Sammy was too young to think of cool ideas, but his dad told Sammy to “give it a whirl.”
After a couple of weeks, Sammy began testing his ideas on the family. There were a few missteps – especially the jack-o’-lantern turkey and spiders and bats décor at Thanksgiving. And a Zombie Christmas really wasn’t what the rest of the family had in mind. As the winter wore on, Sammy perfected his scares. Molly’s sleepover was bone-chilling when Sammy made a skeleton skateboard through the living room.
Instead of a marshmallow egg Easter, Sammy conjured up a Happy Hallow-Easter egg hunt. But when the family’s Fourth of July barbecue was “rained out” by the sprinkler hiding in the tree, Sammy’s dad put his foot down. “‘Your ideas are wonderfully creepy,’ said Dad, ‘but Halloween has taken over everything.” He put the kibosh on all further haunting until everyone was onboard.
Sammy was feeling pretty down until Molly and Luke told him they thought his tricks were real treats and offered to help him create more. Under Sammy’s direction, they came up with amazing new hauntings. When the barn was finally decorated, “Mom and Dad were spellbound.” Dad said, “‘We admire how you’ve stuck with it all year long,’” and Mom added, “‘So we’re naming you Halloween Spirit this year.’”
On Halloween night, Sammy welcomed all the neighbors with a spooky “‘HAPPY HALLOWEEN!’” and a “‘beware what lurks in the dark. Muah ha ha!’” The trick-or-treaters were shivering as they passed a skateboarding skeleton, an electrified Frankenstein, roiling fog, bubbling cauldrons, and bats, spiders, and ghosts galore. For Sammy, it was the best Halloween ever—and he was already planning for next year.
Young Halloween lovers—i.e. all kids—will find Sammy’s Spooktacular Halloween frightfully funny and, no doubt, inspirational too. From the list of Sammy’s haunted house elements titled “Scares! Spooks!” on the front cover to the experimental tricks to the other holiday mash-ups, Sammy’s imaginative ideas will enthrall kids. Engineers-in-the-making will eagerly await each page turn as they mull over the possible ways to recreate Sammy’s devices. While Sammy learns that a bit of moderation in his year-long quest for the best Halloween ever may be in order, Mike Petrik’s inclusion of helpful siblings and supportive parents is heartening and will please readers—especially youngest family members.
Petrik’s pages are electrified with bold, vibrant colors and Sammy’s thrilling Halloween haunts that move, shiver, and shake. A house full of fog, ghosts that rappel into Dad’s cereal, a turkey carved like a jack-o’-lantern, and a crew of zombie snowmen are just some of the delights awaiting readers. Images of Luke and Molly assisting Sammy and Mom and Dad’s happy faces as they reward Sammy for his hard work will bring a smile. The final two-page spread of the family’s haunted barn is a showstopper that kids will want to explore.
A terrific book to inspire Halloween fun and sibling harmony, Sammy’s Spooktacular Halloween would be a super (natural) selection for home and school libraries.
Ages 3 – 7
Two Lions, 2018 | ISBN 978-1503901797
To learn more about Mike Petrik, his books, and his art, visit his website.
Read a New Book Month Activity
Spooky Haunted Graveyard
With a few items found in a backyard or park and a few from home, kids can make a spooky haunted graveyard to decorate their room or add to the family’s Halloween décor.
- Ten to twelve small to medium stones that have a triangular or rounded shape and can stand on their own (or close enough to be glued down)
- Shallow cardboard box or plastic container
- Small sticks or branches for the tree
- A small amount of dirt, small dry leaves, moss, etc.
- Poly fill for the fog (optional)
- White craft paint
- Small bit of clay
- Paint brush
- Black marker
- Hot glue gun or strong glue
To Make the Ghosts
- Paint 5 or 6 stones with the white paint, let dry
- Add eyes and mouth with the black marker
To Make the Tombstones
- Add RIP, names, and dates to 5 or 6 stones with the black marker
To Make the Tree
- Use one or two small branches or twigs to make the tree
- Stick them into the clay for stability
To Make the Graveyard
- Draw a fence inside and outside on the rim of the box (optional)
- Scatter the tombstones around the box and glue in place
- Scatter the ghosts near the tombstones and around the graveyard, and glue them in place
- Stick the small branches or twigs in the clay
To Make the Ground
- Scatter dirt, leaves, moss, around the tombstones and ghosts
- Add wispy bits of poly fill around the ghosts and tombstones and in the tree (optional)
Display your haunted graveyard!
You can find Sammy’s Spooktacular Halloween at these booksellers
Picture Book Review