My Scary Halloween
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As Autumn approaches, I retire to the library in the darkened east wing of my haunted mansion, light a crackling fire, and grab a bewitching book from my ever-growing collection. Below is a loathsome list of my favorite Halloween books – some scholarly (in case you want to learn more about the horrific history of Halloween), some entertaining (for a trip down memory lane), and some crafty (for those of you who are good with a knife). For even more sinister fun, visited the Haunted Library for other books that offer scary inspiration or get in that bewitching mood.


Halloween Merrymaking

by Diane C. Arkins
(Pelican, 2004)
A retro blast picture book filled with inspiring images of yesteryear.

Halloween Romantic Art and Customs of Yesteryear

by Diane C. Arkins
(Pelican, 2007)
Second in a series of retro images, poems and history.

Dressed for Thrills
by Phyllis Galembo
(Abrams, 2002)
A whimsical look at many vintage children's costumes.

Vintage Halloween Collectibles
by Mark Ledenbach
(Krause, 2007)
A price guide and picture book of memorabilia.

A Halloween Reader

by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne
(Pelican, 2004)
Read old poems and stories of Halloween's past.

Halloween in America

by Stuart Schneider
(Schiffer, 2010)
This book collects photos of toys, trinkets, postcards, and costumes of a bygone era.

The Book of Hallowe'en
by Ruth Edna Kelley
(Lulu, 1919)
An old-world book covering the early history of Halloween.

Games for Hallowe'en

by Mary F. Blaine
(Lulu, 1912)
Packed with ideas and activities for a Victorian Halloween.

Haunted Air

by Ossian Brown
(Random House, 2011)
Breathtaking vintage photography captures the macabre feeling of childhood wonder.

Halloween: Vintage Holiday Graphics

by Jim Heimann
(Taschen, 2005)
A small book of nothing but vintage images – full color & glossy!

Pictorial America: Halloween

by James Lantos
(Applewood, 2012)
Pictures & postcards exploring the origins of Halloween.



Extreme Pumpkins

by Tom Nardone
(Penguin Books, 2007)
This is NOT your mother's jack-o-lantern book! Featuring some crazy, unique designs.

Extreme Pumpkins II

by Tom Nardone
(Penguin Books, 2008)
Another serving of inappropriate and offensive pumpkins. Yay!

Extreme Pumpkin Carving

by Vic Hood, Jack A. Williams
(Fox Chapel, 2004)
A unique look at exquisite "art" carving.

Ray Villafane's Pumpkins
(Gibbs Smith, 2012)
Master carver and Food Network contestant shows you some of the tricks and his amazing creations.

Pie in the Sky
by Bon Kotowski
(Cedar Tree, 2008)
Learn about the fascinating history of punkin chunkin'.

Great Pumpkins

by Peter Cole
(Chronicle, 2003)
Beautifully designed, high gloss book of hip pumpkins.

The Perfect Pumpkin

by Gail Damerow
(Storey Books, 1997)
A complete reference for growing and using pumpkins.

by Cindy Ott
(Univ WA Press, 2012)
An academic history of our favorite gourd.

Pumpkin, A Super Food for all 12 Months of the Year

by DeeDee Stovel
(Storey, 2005)
All the pumpkin recipes you could ever want.

Pumpkin Chic

by Editors of Country Living Magazine
(Hearst, 2005)
This IS your mother's pumpkin book.

How To Carve Pumpkins for Great Results

by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell
(Southwater, 2006)
20 designs shown in 100 step-by-step photos.


Halloween: The Best of Martha Stewart Living

by Martha Stewart
(Clarkson Potter, 2001)
One of the definitive books of Halloween crafts, recipes, and decor.

Halloween Handbook

by Martha Stewart
(Martha Stewart, 2010)
150 ideas will fill your holiday with Bad Things. A must have!

Enhanced Eerie Elegance

by Britta Peterson (2011)
The webmistress of the dark is back with a picture filled volume of decorating and entertaining ideas.

Eerie Elegance

by Britta Peterson (2010)
Britta obviously knows how to throw a good party and this book is a testament to having fun at Halloween.

Ghoulish Goodies

by Sharon Bowers
(Storey, 2009)
Stylish recipe book with polished photography throughout.

Happy Halloween

by Editors of Country Living
(Hearst, 2009)
Country Living collects it's best Halloween ideas.

Halloween with Matthew Mead

(Oxmoor House, 2012)
The lifestyle guru is back with a gorgeous photobook full of holiday inspiration.

Halloween How-To

by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne
(Pelican Books, 2002)
The one-stop resource that covers all aspects of celebration.

Folk Art Halloween

by Bethany Lowe
(Lark Books, 2008)
Part kitsch, part vintage and all country, this book is for at the experienced crafter.

A Zombie Ate My Cupcake

by Lily Vanilli
(Cico, 2010)
English baker gives cupcakes the gothic makeover. Brilliant!

The Original Duct Tape Halloween Book

by Jim & Tim
(Workman, 2003)
Dumb fun with "clever" ideas for transforming duct tape into costumes.

Zombie Cupcakes

by Zilly Rosen
(Andrews, 2011)
Extreme cupcakes in a range of difficulty levels with some really cool and icky ideas.

Halloween Tricks and Treats

by Matthew Mead
(Time Inc, 2008)
Fun and colorful Martha-like protégé with a definite country flair and a family-friendly approach.

True Blood: Eats, Drinks and Bites from Bon Temps
by Gianna Sobol, et al
(Chronicle, 2012)
Hardcover ode to the vampire show and ultimate Southern cookbook in one!

Glitterville's Handmade Halloween

by Stephen Brown
(Andrews McMeel, 2012)
Whimsical craft book with a nod to vintage inspired crafts.

Making a Monstrous Halloween

by Chris Kullstroem
(McFarland, 2009)
Every imaginable aspect of how to celebrate Halloween is covered. Must-have!

Halloween Handbook: 447 Costumes

by B. Clark & A. Dodd
(Workman, 2004)
More of an "idea" book than a "how-to" book, will help answer the ultimate Halloween question

How to Make Masks

by Jonni Good
(Wet Cat Books, 2012)
Learn step-by-step techniques for creating paper mache masks.

Pennsylvania Dutch Halloween Scherenschnitten

by Peter Fritsch
(Pelican, 2011)
Scissor cutting and poetry art book of a little known group worth exploring.

A Ghastly Good Halloween

by Gooseberry Patch
(Oxmoor House, 2012)
Lots of country charm in this family-friendly recipe and project "bookazine."

Twisted Cakes

by Debbie Goard
(Harper, 2012)
If you are looking for inspiration for your next horror cake, this is it. Seriously gruesome fun!

Extreme Face Painting

by Brian & Nick Wolfe
(Impact, 2010)
Get fiendish tutorials from the twin brothers to make a very (super) natural appearance.

Artful Halloween

by Susan Wasinger
(Lark Crafts, 2012)
A mixed bag of elegant crafts for the serious crafter and stitcher.

Halloween Treats

by Donata Maggipinto
(Chronicle, 1998)
A fun, but not altogether original collection of themed recipes and party tips.

Gooseberry Patch Halloween

by Jill Williams Grover
(Oxmoor House, 2010)
Homespun wisdom and recipes from the purveyors of down-home living.

Hungry Halloween

by Beth Jackson Klosterboer (2010)
Inspired, charming and even gross (in a good way) recipe book by a chocolatier and event planner. Very fun!

Betty Crocker Halloween

(Wiley, 2012)
Kid-friendly fare is the focus with lots of ready-made grocery products as ingredients.

Halloween Treats

by Annie Rigg
(Peter & Small, 2012)
Charming yet slight book of greatest hits recipes recommended for UK audiences.

Matthew Mead's
Monster Halloween

by Matthew Mead
(Time Inc, 2009)
More of Mead's family friendly fare for a ghoulish holiday.

How to Win the Halloween Costume Contest!
by Per Kapper
(Dansk Biblioteks Center, 2011)
A step-by-step guide to easy fabrication and makeup tutorials with 500 illustrations.

Elegantly Frugal Costumes
by Shirley Dearing
(Meriwether, 1992)
Learn to create low-budget period costumes from existing materials and where to splurge on details.

Hocus Pocus

by Dawn Anderson
(Martingale, 2003)
Features crafts from those digest-sized magazines on grocery check-out stands.

Halloween Spooktacular
by Matthew Mead
(Oxmoor, 2013)
Silly, spooky, classy, vintage, charming, funny, ghastly, grotesque there is something for every taste, for every kid and even for adults.

Spooky & Bright
By Country Living
(Hearst, 2013)
This digest-size hardcover (and inexplicably spiral bound) book is more about "ideas" than specific "how-to's" but the pictures are great (but small).

Handmade Halloween

by Editors of Country Living
(Hearst, 1999)
Countrified ideas of many kids costumes and even a few recipes & decor tips.

Halloween: A Grown-up's Guide To Creative Costumes...

by Joanne O'Sullivan
(Lark, 2003)
Simple costumes, great pictures and few ideas for theme parties.

Scary Scenes for Halloween

by Jill Williams Grover
(Sterling, 1999)
More kid-friendly ideas from those magazines at the grocery check-out stands.

Click or Treat

by Rich Gray
(McFarland, 2004)
Reference books for the internet are instantly dated, but there is still plenty of good links to find here.

Halloween Crafts
by Cico Books
(Cico, 2013)
This collection of 35 projects from a talented group of UK "project makers" is dandy fun from the other side of the pond.

Halloween Tricks, Treats, Fun & Sweets
by Morgana De Ville
(Lorenz, 2013)
The UK is definitely getting into the spirit and this cute little book with many recipes.

Haunted Library
The question Halloween enthusiasts get asked often is WHY do we like Halloween so much? It's not an easy question to answer, but these authors wrote the book on Halloween, and are leading authorities on the subject. Here's what the experts had to say.

Lesley Bannatyne
Halloween Author

“I love Halloween because it's the only holiday we have left where we open our doors to strangers. Halloween draws a big circle around all of us–kids, alternative culture, dark music, yard decorators, crafters, artists–and gives us one night a year where creativity and chaos trump regular day-to-day
life. There's incredible freedom in that.”

Chris Kullstroem
Author of Monster Parties
and Games, and Making
a Monstrous Halloween

“Halloween is when the world transforms into the darkest underworld of our imaginations: filled with monsters and nightmares that we love to enter, embrace or run from screaming."

David J. Skal
Author of Death Makes a Holiday, and The Monster Show

“Halloween is the quintessential American holiday. We grow up with the expectation that we can be anything we want in life, and Halloween is the one night of the year that actually makes good on the promise."

Lisa Morton

“What I love most about Halloween is how it empowers people to be creative, whether making a costume (and as a kid I _loved_ making my own costumes), living out the fantasy of being someone else, decorating their house, or giving people a playful scare with a haunted house.”

Britta Peterson
Webmistress of the Dark

"Halloween is the most creative holiday. Not only are creative costumes a must, but so many varieties of decor can work for Halloween themes...and even better when you have fun making your own!"

How To Haunt Your House

by Shawn & Lynne Mitchell
(Rabbit Hole, 2009)
Rich, full color photos of fantastic projects. Highly recommended.

How To Haunt Your House, Book 2

by Shawn & Lynne Mitchell
(Rabbit Hole, 2010)
More inspired projects with amazing photos. Another winner!

How To Haunt Your House, Book 3

by Shawn & Lynne Mitchell
(Rabbit Hole, 2011)
The third must-have volume of tips and inspiration with full color throughout.

Halloween Propmaker's Handbook

by Kenneth Pitek
(McFarland, 2006)
Exhaustive how-to of special effects for the advanced house haunter.

Extreme Halloween

by Tom Nardone
(Perigee Trade, 2009)
From pumpkins to yard decorating - the extreme way.


Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night

by Nicholas Rogers (Oxford University, 2002)
A scholarly overview tracing the muddled European origins to American manifestation.

Halloween Nation

by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne
(Pelican, 2011)
A modern exploration of why and how people celebrate Halloween and the icons surrounding this dark holiday. A must have!

Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History

by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne
(Pelican, 1990)
Picks up in America, and focuses on regional traditions, songs, and stories.

Trick or Treat?

by Lisa Morton
(Reaktion Books, 2012)
A leading authority on Halloween takes a trek through history and finds the holidays cultural roots. A very beautifully published hardcover book.

The Halloween Encyclopedia

by Lisa Morton
(McFarland, 2003)
An A-to-Z tome of anything having to do with Halloween. Very thorough.

Death Makes a Holiday

by David J. Skal
(Bloomsbury, 2002)
Insightful essays examine the traditions, movies and stories that make up the modern holiday.

Halloween and Other Festivals of Death and Life

by Jack Santino, Ed.
(Tennessee, 2003)
13 scholarly essays covering the concept, celebration and history.

Witches: History of Persecution
by Nigel Cawthorne (Chartwell Books, 2006)
Historical overview of many witch hunts and trials pervading England and colonial America.

A Halloween Anthology

by Lisa Morton
(McFarland, 2008)
Articles, poems, short stories, folk tales provide a historical look at the holiday.

Halloween: Customs, Recipes & Spells
by Silver RavenWolf (Llewellyn, 1999)
Written by a Wiccan witch, has some unusual insight on rituals and symbols, as well as spells!


The Days of the Dead

by John Greenleigh and Rosalind Rosoff Beimler
(Pomegranate, 1998)
Photographic essay captures the art, people and customs of Mexico.

Day of the Dead Crafts

by Arquette, Zocchi & Vigil
(Cantata, 2008)
Step-by-step instructions for crafting altars, skeletons, masks and much more.

Day of the Dead

by Antoni Cadafalch
(Korero, 2011)
Collection of contemporary art where the Mexican holiday collides with American aesthetics.

Day of the Dead: A Pictorial Archive

by Jean Moss
(Dover, 2010)
120 pages of authentic, classic illustrations, complete with a CD-ROM with matching jpegs!

Day of the Dead

by Gina Hyams
(Chronicle, 2001)
An artfully designed book complete with mini-altar and figurine.

Day of the Dead

by Kitty Williams and Stevie Mack
(Gibbs Smith, 2011)
This is a gloriously colorful coffee table book with plenty of photos and even recipes.

Dia de los Muertos

by Maria Teresa Pomar, et al.
(MAMFW, 1995)
Out of print photo book from the collection at The Modern museum in Fort Worth.

he Dead Diaz Family

by P.J. Bracegirdle
(Dial, 2012)
This colorful children's book is filled with beautiful illustrations and a story of acceptance.

Paper Crafts for Day of the Dead

by Randael McGee
(Enslow, 2012)
Elementary age kids can have fun while learning about the Mexican holiday.

The Festival of Bones

by Luis San Vicente
(Cinco Puntos, 1999)
Very slight but artfully drawn bilingual children's book with a special section for adults.