As October rolls in, so does the urge to drape cobwebs throughout your home and season everything with pumpkin spice. Once the atmosphere is complete, the best way to celebrate the new chill in the air is with a new book.

Take a look at these new releases and see if anything catches your eye.

“Boo Stew,” by Donna Washington & Jeffrey Ebbeler (Peachtree Publishing, 2021)

In this fractured fairy tale, Washington gives us a modern, creepy twist on “The Three Little Bears.”

Curly Locks is a little girl who adores cooking, but for some reason, nobody else in town wants to eat anything she makes. Not the batwing brownies, the toad-eye toffees or even the cat-hair cupcakes.

So when one of her dishes goes missing from her window sill, everyone knows it must have been stolen by one of the Scares. As the Scares start stealing more and more food from around the neighborhood, Curly Locks gets an idea. If they like her food, maybe she could find a way to convince the Scares to leave everybody alone.

The language in this picture book is colorful and expressive, making it an extra fun read-aloud for preschool and early elementary listeners. The illustrations from Ebbeler are detailed and delightful, making this book a treat at first sight.

For more sweetly creepy tales, try “Hardly Haunted,” by Jessie Sima and “Wolfboy,” by Andy Harkness.

“Amari and the Night Brothers,” by B.B. Alston (Balzer + Bray, 2021)

In this series starter we meet Amari Peters, a 13-year-old girl who is determined to figure out where her brother is and why nobody seems to care that he went missing.

Once she discovers a mysterious ticking briefcase hidden in her brother’s closet just for her, Amari starts to suspect that there’s much more to the story than she ever expected. It turns out that her brother also left her a nomination for tryouts at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs.

So not only is Amari’s brother missing, but now she has to deal with the fact that mermaids, yetis and other magical creatures are real. It will be hard work, but Amari knows she needs to make it through the tryouts in order to find her brother and maybe even save the world.

For more supernatural tales for kids and tweens, try “City of Ghosts,” by Victoria Schwab and “The Witch Boy,” by Molly Knox Ostertag.

“White Smoke,” by Tiffany D. Jackson (Katherine Tegen Books, 2021)

This super creepy twist on the classic haunted house story takes place in Cedarville, a city with a past so shrouded in mystery that Marigold knows right away something is not quite right.

Even their new house is strange, with doors that creak open on their own, weird sounds and smells that permeate the air and a basement they are not allowed to go in.

As things keep getting more and more creepy, Mari’s step-sister keeps talking about a friend no one else can see that wants Mari to leave the house and never come back. Just when Mari is convinced that her step-sister is possessed and the house is haunted, things take another turn for the strange and get more complicated than Mari could ever have imagined.

The question is, will she be able to get her family out of this alive?

For more bone-chilling tales for teens, try “Cinderella is Dead,” by Kalynn Bayron and “Through the Woods,” by Emily Carroll.

Don’t let the season pass without enjoying a delightfully creepy tale for all ages. Visit your local library or bookstore to find all these titles and more.

Happy haunting.

Keimig works in the youth services department at Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque. Email her at

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