Now the older boy goes to preschool and has actual friends, (some of whom I don't even know) we are throwing our first ever proper children's Halloween party! I'm beyond excited (partly about meeting these new friends!) but the boy was a little confused about exactly what we were planning.
Mummy, whose birthday is it?
Mummy, who gets presents at my party?
Will I be 4 at my halloween party Mummy?
But what do pumpkins DO though?
After talking for a few days about Halloween I turned to my favourite trick: Read a book about it!
So to get the boys in the mood and introduce the key concepts of Halloween (and to emphasise the fact that no one's getting any presents!!) we have been reading them these Hallloweeny books.
The Ghost Train
The Ghost Train isn't specifically about Halloween but is chock full of skeletons, monsters and ghosts who are all portrayed as super fun, friendly guys!
I have no interest in scaring 3 year olds so introducing these 'scary' characters in a lovely friendly way is right up my street. We also have "Funny Bones" in the same series, which is lovely too but Ghost Train has a wider array of ghoulies to talk about in the run up to Halloween.
The story-line is simple, 2 skeletons and a dog skeleton go on a train ride to the seaside and have a lovely day. The language is repetitive and rhythmic and as with Funny Bones there is a song. (It's the tune of the runaway train goes down the track... which took me an embarrassingly long time to work out!)
The Ghost Train is a sweet book for any time of year, but great for talking about ghosts, ghouls, monsters and skeletons with little ones around Halloween in a non threatening, unscary way.
Peppa's Pumpkin Party
There was little chance my boys would do anything other than adore this book. The slightest whiff of Peppa on anything and they go crazy for it. We have 4 or 5 Peppa books already which range from god-awful to pretty good, but this is my favourite so far, and my favourite of the Halloween books we've tried.
The storyline: Peppa has a Halloween Party. The End.
Why I love it: It's bright, colourful, simply written and, best of all, Peppa isn't a total brat in this story! She's just sweet and everyone is nice to each other for once! It shows exactly what a toddler Halloween party is like (decore, costumes, pumpkin lanterns etc) and has a great spread of Halloweeny costume ideas for my boys to choose from...
"No darling, you can't be a carrot. Choose one of the others"
There's also this freaky page which we skimmed over with the boys but my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed. (Yes we DO need to get out more... wanna babysit?)
I would definitely recommend this for new Halloweeners aged 1-3. It's everything Halloween should be for under 5's and is definitely helping to prepare my kids for what their little party will be like.
Meg and the Dragon
Meg and the Dragon is a frankly, bizarre little book which I personally didn't warm to but my children
inexplicably LOVE. I remember loving these books as a child but as a parent the artwork strikes me as someone's early experiments with Microsoft Paint. I also find them hard to 'read aloud', which I think is because they might be designed for young readers to read by themselves rather than to read aloud.
In Meg and the Dragon, Meg, Mog and the Owl are preparing for their Halloween party when their teapot breaks. They go on a little detour to China to find a new teapot from a pair of dragons and end up teaching a baby dragon to do loop-the-loops, then come home and have their party, which consists of apple bobbing, a cup of tea and everyone going home. I mean, just... what the?
Odd drawing style and lack of narrative aside, my children adore this book. When we first read it, we had to read it again 4 times. I did like the chance to chat about apple bobbing, but other than that, the Halloween theme was somewhat detracted from by the whole Chinese Dragons and teapot situation!
If you like Meg and Mog, you'll love this. I personally don't but my little bookworms certainly do!
If you fancy trying any of these for your own little Halloween newbies, they are easily available on Amazon: The Ghost Train, Peppa's Pumpkin Party, Meg and the Dragon
[I was sent these books for the purposes of this review but my opinions are all my own!]