Halloween is sure to look a little different this year now that COVID-19 is a part of daily life and trick-or-treating is off the table for many. An unofficial poll of SHN staff and doctors revealed spooktacular alternatives to hitting the pavement and knocking on doors – from cryptic household candy hunts; to drive-by loot bag deliveries for fearsome friends; to outdoor, socially distanced, ghostly walking tours, there is no shortage of fun and eerie ways to make new Halloween memories and traditions.

But our favourite idea comes from our friends at the Toronto Public Library’s Bridlewood Branch. Keep reading to find out why their safe, public health-conscious, costume-friendly recommendations top our list!

Gather “Round
By Katherine McGreechan, Library Assistant, Bridlewood Branch – Toronto Public Library

There’s nothing quite like a scary story and Halloween is the perfect time to share one!

Toronto Public Library (TPL) is a great place to find spooky stories, at any time of year. You can go to our website, tpl.ca, to search for eBooks on OverDrive or visit your local branch for books and other materials.

If you have little ones, you can join me virtually for a “Not-So-Spooky” Storytime on Friday, October 30 at 4 pm. This 30-minute Ready for Reading Halloween program will include songs, stories and rhymes as we go exploring in a haunted house.

I think listening to a spooky story is just as fun as reading one, so here are a few suggestions for eAudiobooks that you can borrow and download from the library’s website:

  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams (Ages 3-7)
    This cumulative story has lots of repetition and many opportunities for the listener to add their own sound effects to this not too scary folktale.
  • Halloween Tree by Susan McElroy Montanari (Ages 3-6)
    The tale of a twisted, spooky pine tree whose dislike of people and decorations might make him better suited for a different holiday.
  • *Precious and the Boo Hag by Pat McKissick (Ages 6-8)
    The story of a little girl who has an encounter with an old witchy woman when she is left home alone with a stomachache.
  • The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (Ages 8-12)
    The first in a series about a girl from Trinidad who must find the courage to stop the kind of evil spirits parents warn their children about.
  • Haunted Canada 8: More Chilling True Tales by Joel A. Sutherland (Ages 9-12)
    For older kids, another book in the series of “hauntingly true” Canadian stories about ghosts, spirits, and other apparitions.

As a family, you can also make-up and tell your own terrifying tales. Gather together in a dimly lit room and share stories around a pretend campfire. Or take turns with everyone adding a word or sentence until you’ve created your own spooky or not-so-spooky Halloween tale. BOO!

 (Please note: all of the titles listed are also available as books and eBooks from TPL, *except for Precious and the Boo Hag, which is only available to borrow as a book or eAudiobook.)