Ghoulish books for students this Halloween

By Krista Culbertson, Editor

It’s that time of year again – where we don our pointed witches’ hats for Halloween, and crack open the most thrilling and scary reads of the year!

The Content department have chosen some of their favourite spooky reads for Halloween: the ones that made our skin crawl, made us laugh, or maybe even made us check under our beds!

You can use the Bookfinder website to help you search for more Halloween-related books quizzed for Accelerated Reader.

Ghosts with a side of laughs: books for Lower Years readers

Many readers may be too young for the very scary stories, but there are plenty of books that are Lower Years friendly that have the right atmosphere.

The picture book The Pookah Party tells the story of a pookah that lives all alone. Tired of being by himself, he decides to throw a party with all his creature friends! Shona Shirley Macdonald’s picture book offers an introduction to some Irish mythical creatures. The dream-like illustrations are sure to make a young child’s imagination go wild.

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are two former-thieves that have stolen the hearts of readers in their picture books. But in The Spooky School, the two baking hounds make the leap to beginner chapter books. There are three short stories (including one about a ghost!) that are perfect for children beginning to read on their own.


The new Amelia Fang series from Laura Ellen Anderson is sure to delight any child who loves beautiful illustrations and puns. Young witch Amelia loves her pet pumpkin, Squashy. But when he is taken by a snooty prince, Amelia and her friends must find a way to rescue him! There’s adventure, beautiful pictures, and lots of hilarious moments.

The quiz writer said that she “adored the illustrations” and adventurous plotline, but mostly was in love with the adorable Squashy!

Werewolves, ghosts and stories of terror: highlights for Middle Years readers

The Middle Years interest level has hundreds of choices for spooky reading. There is a lot to choose from, including the ever-popular Goosebumps series and Neil Gaiman’s chilling classics. But there are many new stories to discover.

For the non-fiction lovers, the four-book Paranormal Handbook series covers different topics of the unknown from mysterious beasts to UFO sightings.

“Children are often fascinated by the paranormal, and this reference guide is great for those inquisitive minds!” said a non-fiction quiz writer. “Readers can learn about alleged haunted places, spooky goings-on that people have reported witnessing, and how psychologists explain ‘poltergeist activity’.”

For struggling readers, Barrington Stoke offers many books of shorter lengths that are engaging.

Both Tales from Weird Street and its new follow-up Back on Weird Street contain short stories that have both chills and thrills! And is there anything that says “Halloween” more than pumpkins? In Jason and the Pumpkin of Doom, there are many unusual goings-on when a bully learns his lesson.

For middle-years readers looking for a new series to read, Curse of the Werewolf Boy is the first in the Maudlin Towers series from Chris Priestley. This original story tells the tale of two friends during a new term at school. When strange things begin to happen, they must work together to solve the school’s mysteries.

Halloween reads full of mystery and gore: Upper Years reads

Each book on Accelerated Reader can challenge students in different ways. These picks for Upper Years readers will challenge both the brains and the stomachs!

Simon Cheshire’s Flesh and Blood follows Sam as he moves to a new town. All seems well, but Sam soon realises that some people in the town are harbouring dark secrets.

“This story had a great mystery,” said the quiz writer. “But just a word of warning: don’t read this book while eating!”

Flesh and Blood is from the popular Red Eye series. Many of the series has been quizzed, with book levels ranging from 4.8 to 5.9.

Senior Editor Sarah said, “The Red Eye series has something to satisfy even the most hard-core of horror fans: ghosts, witches, spooky forests, psychosis-inducing medication and (my personal favourite) murderous dolls. Classic themes mix with refreshingly original plotlines – and the scares are genuine!”

Your Turn to Die by Sue Wallman is perfect for a student looking for a spine-tingling thriller. A group of teens work together to solve a decades-old mystery, but they soon find themselves facing dangers of their own.

And it wouldn’t be Halloween without the king himself. Many classics from horror master Stephen King have been quizzed on AR, including Pet Sematary.

When the Creed family move to Maine, they learn of a cemetery by their house where children bury their pets. When Church the family cat dies, Louis Creed discovers the wood behind their new home has some extremely sinister properties.


King explores how grief can cause people to act without rationale, and readers anticipate, through a slow and eerie build up, the true horror which finally unfolds in the latter part of the story. As the Creeds’ neighbour says; “sometimes, dead is better”.

“Many consider this King’s scariest work, making it a perfect Halloween read,” said Editorial Assistant Kerry, “but it’s definitely one for older readers ONLY!”


We always love seeing what schools and libraries are up to, so let us know how you’re celebrating Halloween this year on social media at Twitter or Facebook. You can find the books featured in this blog, and all AR quizzed books, on ARBookfind. And don’t forget, we always like to receive your suggestions for quizzing!

Happy Halloween!

Krista Culbertson

Posted on 12 October 2018 at 11:40 am
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