About the Holiday
It’s never too early to get ready for Halloween! As the temperatures cool and the trees just begin to turn red, yellow, and orange, kids of all ages look forward to the thrills and chills of this favorite fall holiday. Whether your kids like spine-chillers, ghost stories, or stories that make them giggle, Halloween-themed books are a rib-tickling way to enjoy the season.
How to Haunt a House
Written by Carolyn Crimi | Illustrated by Edward Miller
All the little ghosties from far and near gathered at Madam Grey’s school “to learn her special ghost technique.’” Today, Madam Grey announced a surprise test: “‘Haunt three houses. / Do your best! / If you succeed, you’ll pass the test!” She took her little charges to the first house—a small home, where the ghosties had to “‘make this family shake and shout.’” First, “Groana slammed the toilet seat” while the boy was brushing his teeth. Then Moana ate their cereal, and Shrieky scared their parakeet. The family was so frightened that they fainted.
Madam Grey was impressed. She took them to the second house, where she wanted her students to spook the three big dogs that lived there. In no time they had the hounds hiding under the bed. On to house three! But when they got there, the ghosties had a fright. This was no ordinary house or ordinary family. This house was already haunted by Frankenstein monsters.
The ghosties did as they were told and glided in. As the family was getting ready for dinner. “Groana made a scary face. / Moana stomped around the place. / Shrieky rode a pillowcase.” But were the ghouls scared? Not a bit. They just sat down and enjoyed their food. Madam Grey suggested “. . . a new approach. / “Perhaps a slimy toad or roach?” The three ghosties brought in bats, cats, and rats, but the family just accepted them as pets with hugs and kisses and a pot of food.
The ghosties were afraid they would fail their test. Back in the classroom, they studied, and thought, and experimented. Maybe bigger bugs and cats or a super scary snake. But those just wouldn’t do. Then they came up with the perfect idea. Instead of scary, they went cute. This time when the ghosties came to haunt, the family hid and shrieked and “ran away into the night!” Madam Grey bestowed the ghosties’ graduation caps and said, “‘You brilliant ghosties passed with style. / Your perfect tricks have made me smile.’” She proclaimed them ready for Halloween and sent them out to haunt.
Carolyn Crimi puts an adorable twist on the definition of scary in her clever Halloween romp. Her jaunty rhymes are sure to get kids shrieking with laughter and wanting to join in on with their ghostie peers with moans, groans, stomping, singing, and other ghoulish tricks of their own. Crimi’s solution to how to haunt an already haunted house will prompt readers to do some creative thinking too.
Edward Miller’s action-packed illustrations will have kids giggling as the three ghosties play practical jokes on the unsuspecting families and are rewarded with shakes, shivers, and Madam Grey’s approval. When the ghosties hit on the perfect way to scare the Frankensteins, kids will love all the cuter-than-cute “spookiness.” Fun details and lots of Halloween favorites make for lingering looks.
Full of silly scary fun to get preschoolers and young readers excited for Halloween plus out-of-the-box thinking to keep the fun going throughout the year, How to Haunt a House is sure to be a favorite on any bookshelf.
Ages 4 – 7
Albert Whitman & Company, 2021 | ISBN 978-0807534267
Discover more about Carolyn Crimi and her books on her website.
You can view a portfolio of work by Edward Miller on Bēhance.
Get Ready for Halloween Activity
I Vant to Eat These Treats! Vampire Treats Box
Would you like your gift of homemade or store-bought cookies, candy, or other treats to have a little bite to it? Deliver them in this vampire box you can make yourself!
- Recycled pasta box (or any box with a cellophane window in it)
- Black Paint
- Silver Paint
- Black felt, 8 ½ x 11 sheet, or stiff paper
- Red felt, 8 ½ x 11 sheet, or stiff paper
- Googly eyes
- Black heavy stock paper
- White heavy stock paper or index card
- Fabric glue
- Craft glue or double stick tape
- Hot glue gun (optional)
- Paint brush
- Paint the entire box silver, leaving the window unpainted, let dry
- With the black paint create the pointy hairstyle, with the point descending about 1 inch from the top of the box and the curves ending about 1 ½ – 1 ¾ inches from the side of the box (see picture).
- Paint around the sides and back of the box in line with the ends of the curves
- From the black paper make eyebrows—these can be pointy or rounded
- From the index card make the nose and teeth
- I painted the nose dark silver by combining silver and a little black paint
- With the glue or double stick tape, attach the eyebrows and nose to the box
- With the glue or double stick tape, attach the teeth to the window, fitting them slightly up into the rim of the window.
- Attach the googly eyes
To make the cape
- Holding the black felt or stiff paper horizontally, cut a piece about 4/5 as tall as the box
- Holding the red felt or stiff paper horizontally, cut a piece so that there will be a ½-inch border of black along the top and sides
- With the fabric glue attach the red felt to the black felt, let dry. If using paper, use craft glue
- With the hot glue gun, fabric glue, craft glue, or double stick tape, attach the felt or paper to the back of the box.
- Fold the felt or paper around the sides of the box and attach along the bottom edge of each side with tape or glue
- Fold the top of the felt or paper back to make the collar
- Attach the bottom edge of the folded section to the box near the front with the tape or glue.
Fill with your favorite treat!
You can find How to Haunt a House at these booksellers
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million
To support your local independent bookstore, order from
Picture Book Review