Seasonal reading is so much fun, and this list of Halloween graphic novels for kids and teens will put everyone in the mood for carving jack-o-lanterns and eating candy corn.
It's fair to say that most of these books are not Halloween-specific. I chose them because they are stories about creatures we associate with the spooky season. There are witches, ghosts, skeletons, monsters of all varieties, and pumpkins! Although a few titles feature very creepy characters, most of the graphic novels aren't really very scary, so you won't have to worry about your kids needing to sleep with the lights on!
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The graphic novels and Halloween comics in this first section are great picks for newly independent readers. Kids will also enjoy the titles on our list of Halloween early chapter books.
Skeleanor the Decomposer by Emily Ettlinger
Like music? Love puns? This is the adorable and very un-scary Halloween graphic novel you need. Skeleanor longs to play music that others will enjoy. The trouble is that no matter what instrument she tries, everyone seems to run away when she plucks out a melody. The she meets Ms. Ratsimiziva, who runs a music group, and Skeleanor finally gains the confidence to play just the right tune.
I've always been struck by the way Halloween books often include social-emotional learning themes, which is why I put together a list of Halloween books about self-esteem. Skeleanor would feel right at home on it!
Fitz and Cleo (series) by Jonathan Stutzman, illustrated by Heather Fox
In this beginning graphic novel series the not-scary-at-all, paranormal adventures of siblings Fitz and Cleo are divided into very short chapters. Their supernatural shenanigans also involve the comic reactions of their rescued cat, Mister Boo.
A Super Scary Narwhalloween (series) by Ben Clanton
Clanton's popular Narwhal and Jelly graphic novel series includes this winning installment with a Halloween theme (and glow-in-the-dark cover!). Rest assured, despite the title, it's not actually "super scary." Like the rest of the series, Narwhal and Jelly's friendship takes center stage. Jelly is a bit nervous about the upcoming Halloween holiday, Narwhal is excited and their positive relationship dynamic is the reason everything turns out A-OK.
Olivia Wolf and the Night of the Giant Monsters (series) by José Fragoso
Olivia the werewolf lives in Monstrosity with her creature and human friends. However, gigantic monsters have invaded! The biggest issue is the giant pink baby lightguzzler who eats light. Fortunately, Olivia's brother seems to be the key to preventing never-ending night from taking over. The story includes some battles, but they are not very scary. Translated from Spanish.
Middle Grade (ages 8-12)
Most of these middle grade Halloween graphic novels are suitable for ages 8 to 12, but a couple I've indicated are great choices for ages 7 and up, others best for 10 and up. For reading aloud during the fall season, choose a book from our list of Halloween novels to read aloud, filled with totally not-scary as well as bone-chilling tales.
Garlic and the Vampire (series) by Bree Paulsen
How can you not want to read a story featuring anthropomorphized garlic? The adorable Garlic and her fellow vegetable friends work at the village market. They live under the kindly and motherly eye of Witch Agnes who enjoys watching them grow into independent members of a rather unique community. When they learn that a vampire lives in a nearby castle, it falls to the anxious Garlic to muster up the courage to confront him. Fortunately the vampire turns out not to be scary at all. Ages 7 and up.
Yorick and Bones by Jeremy Tankard and Hermione Tankard
I honestly loved William Shakespeare's "lost graphic novel," so much that the fact that the main character is a skeleton was all the excuse I needed to recommend it as a Halloween book. Yorick the skeleton wakes up and starts looking to make some friends. He enlists the help of Bones, a nearby dog. This clever, clever tale is written in iambic pentameter but the language is completely accessible and so, so, so much fun. Ages 7 and up.
Silverwing (series) by Kenneth Oppel, illustrated by Christopher Steininger
Does this graphic novel version of the 1997 novel have anything to do with Halloween? No. But it's about bats. Creatures of the night! And that is as Halloween as you can get in my book. Shade, a young bat, is separated from the other silverwing bats during the winter migration. His journey is fraught with peril. Along the way, he meets other creatures, both winged and grounded, all of which are brilliantly brought to life with Steininger's illustrations.
The Okay Witch (series) by Emma Steinkellner
On Halloween, Moth accidentally discovers that she comes from a long line of witches with a complicated history in her Massachusetts town. All of the witches, except for Moth's mother fled the prosecution of witches and left the human world and live in the parallel of Hecate. Moth's personal coming-of-age story intersects with her school play about town's past and her budding friendship with a descendant of one of the town's 17th century inhabitants. This is an excellent series for readers who enjoy books like Harry Potter.
Lilla the Accidental Witch by Eleanor Crewes
Lilla and her older sister, Dani, visit their aunt in Italy. While in Italy, the shy Lilla discovers she comes from a long line of witches and studies a magical book to learn how to use her powers. She encounters Stregamama, a malevolent ancient witch, and in order to avoid disaster, Lilla must look within herself and claim her identity. Also, there is an adorable cat! Ages 8 and up.
Hellaween by Moss Lawton
Gwen is a witch who lives in suburbia. This Halloween, armed with a new magic book, she is determined to prove her supernatural worth to friends who have crossed the boundary between the Hallowlands and the human suburbs. However, there's the little problem of Hiro, a human who wants to expose all things supernatural. One of Gwen's spells go awry and everyone must work together to beat back the threat. Note: at the end of the book, there is a single instance of a word that rhymes with "witch". Nothing your kids haven't heard before! Ages 8 and up.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by P. Craig Russell
I did enjoy the novel version more, but that's usually the case with me and books which get the graphic novel treatment. However, if you child just won't be reading anything but graphic novels, I recommend Russell's illustrated adaptation of Gaiman's classic tale about the boy Bod, who grows up with his paranormal caretakers. There are two volumes. Ages 9 and up.
Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll
Baba Yaga's Assistant is a reimagining of a traditional Slavic folk tale. Distraught at the fact that her father is remarrying, Masha decides to try out for an assistant gig with the local witch. She gets into the house on chicken legs but Baba Yaga puts here through a series of magical tests. Masha draws on her intelligence to outsmart the devious witch. Age 10 and up.
YA (Young Adult)
All of these Halloween-ish books have a light romance theme that pushes them into the YA category. I would only consider Hollow, a reworking of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, to be scary. Our list of Halloween audiobooks for families also has some great choices for teens!
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, illustrated by Wendy Xu
Teen witch, Nova Huang (she wears hearing aids), works at her grandmother's bookshop. After she rescues her werewolf friend, Tam, the two work together to take down the demon who was after him. This is an engaging YA graphic novel with both disability and queer representation that contains magic, adventure and a sweet romance. Ages 12 and up.
Hollow by Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White, illustrated by Berenice Nelle
Isabel Crane has just moved to Sleepy Hollow. Yep, the Sleepy Hollow of Washington Irving fame. While the town is getting ready for the Halloween madness, Izzy befriends Vicky Van Tassel, a descendant of the famed character in the local legend. Together with fellow classmate, Croc Byun, they discover that the legend of Sleepy Hollow may actually be real. Now, along with all the angst (and a little romance) that accompanies being a teenager they must thwart a Headless Horseman and his evil plans. Ages 12 and up.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
Here's another fun Halloween graphic novel for a YA audience that mixes holiday icons with teenage romance. High school seniors Deja and Josiah work together at the Succotash Hut pumpkin patch every autumn. This Halloween is their last season together and the two are going to make the most of it, including helping Josiah finally talk to his crush. Funny, cute and a little emo, too. Ages 14 and up