As with so many things this year, Halloween will be a little different. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control have published safety guidelines, suggestions for alternative activities and warnings about what not to do this year. Haunted houses are not allowed in Illinois right now, for example.

Bolingbrook has also published a page of Halloween information for 2020, but definitely look at the state guidelines, too, because they have more pandemic safety information. If you plan to skip some of your annual traditions this year or adapt activities for increased safety, we want to help!

One of the top recommendations for celebrating Halloween by staying in is having a movie night. When you walk into our library, you will see our displays of books and movies for Halloween (shown below). You can also download or stream books, TV and movies from hoopla. They even set up a special curation of spooky stuff for kids! Kanopy doesn’t have as much, but it does have the picture book favorite Creepy Carrots.


Here are a few favorite movies that aren’t (currently) in our Halloween displays.


The movie is a bit different from both the original book and the graphic novel adaptation; all three are fun in their own way.

Goosebumps and Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Of course, we also have Goosebumps chapter books and audiobooks!

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Based on a series great for kids intrigued by fairies, monsters and the idea of magic all around them.

The House With a Clock In Its Walls

If you love the classic book this is based on, be sure to check out these treats for fans.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

This classic story about a good witch is a great choice for viewers who want something that isn’t spooky or scary. Be sure to check out the book that inspired it!

Hotel Transylvania (and its sequels)


One activity that my family enjoys is watching shows like Halloween Wars and Halloween Baking Championship. You can find plenty of advanced pumpkin carving books for adults in our displays. If you like the idea of making some spooky food (either competitively or cooperatively), read on!

Gruesome Grub
by Ken Carder

Enjoy a collection of Halloween party recipes and pumpkin patterns for kids. Kids will have fun making these dishes and carving pumpkins at Halloween. This title is available as an eBook through Axis360.

A Halloween Cookbook
by Sarah L. Schuette

Provides instructions and step-by-step photos for making a variety of simple snacks and drinks with a Halloween theme.

Halloween Sweets and Treats
by Ruth Owen

Older kids can try making these recipes using the oven or the stovetop.

The Secret Life of Food
by Clare Crespo; photographs by Eric Staudenmaier

Only a few foods in this book are spooky, but kids will enjoy browsing the quirky photos of food in disguise.

The Spooky 3D Cookbook

A unique three-dimensional cookbook includes 3D glasses for viewing the eye-popping photos that accompany recipes that are easy enough for kids to make with minimal adult help.

Wormy Apple Croissants And Other Halloween Recipes
by Brekka Hervey Larrew

Provides fun and unique recipes for a Halloween party, including nachos, cakes and cookies. Includes easy instructions and a helpful glossary with photos.


If you want to make crafts, costumes or decorations, the Halloween displays have lots of books to choose from. Some titles are available as eBooks from hoopla. The library also has some DVDs.

Halloween Crafts: Halloween Face Painting

This easy to follow, step-by-step instructional DVD will teach you how to paint faces like a professional. Each DVD also comes packed with ideas on creating the perfect costume and accessories, using everyday household items to complement your face painting.

Halloween Crafts: Making Halloween Party Decorations

This easy to follow, step-by-step instructional DVD will help you turn your home and yard into the best decorated and scariest one in the neighborhood. Includes a 15-minute loop of scary sights and sounds; includes 30 printable window silhouettes.

Making slime is a fun, hands-on activity for Halloween. Read our instructions from this summer’s Tuesday Ooze-Day slimes. You might also like to revisit the instructions from Make Magazine that we used to make mummy hands.


You might want to plan a party for the people who live in your house or just find some activities to do by yourself. Anyone who has lived in the Midwest knows Halloween weather can range from pleasant with a nip in the air to pouring rain with a chance of snow. Here are some party planning and activity books with both indoor and outdoor activities.

American Girl Parties
with photography by Nicole Hill Gerulat

Find “Spooky & Berry Delicious” party ideas, including recipes and do-it-yourself decorations.

The Book of Wizard Parties

This book offers nine different magic-oriented ideas for fantastic parties (and one is especially for Halloween).

Sleepover Party!
by Jamie Kyle McGillian

This book has ideas for indoor and outdoor activities (no slumber party required!), including a flashlight scavenger hunt in the dark (one alternative to trick-or-treating for collecting candy).

A Year of Slumber Parties
by Aubre Andrus; illustrated by Eva Byrne

Find ideas for a Pumpkin Palooza with sparkly pumpkins, recipes including a pumpkin pie smoothie, pumpkin painting ideas and games.

Backyard Adventure
by Amanda Thomsen

Find ideas from straw bale forts to giant bubbles from this Chicago-area garden blogger. This title is also available as an eBook from hoopla.

The Young Adventurer’s Guide to (Almost) Everything
by Ben and Penny Hewitt; illustrations by Luke Boushee

If you want to tell ghost stories around a campfire, this will tell you how to build a campfire—and more useful skills (and some that are just for fun).

Sticks and Stones
by Melissa Lennig

This book gives children and adults ideas for making things with sticks and stones, including an outdoor fire ring and some crafts you can do inside. This title is also available as an eBook from hoopla.

My Great Outdoors Book
by Josie Jeffery; illustrated by Alice Lickens

Provides suggestions for different outdoor activities, including bug hunting, counting stars and building a woodland hideout. This title is also available as an eBook from hoopla.

The Lost Book of Adventure
by Teddy Keen

The Lost Book of Adventure is purportedly a reproduction of the tattered notebooks of an “unknown adventurer.” This love letter to nature is filled with extraordinary adventures, expedition advice, survival methods and annotated sketches explaining things you must know to survive the wild.

Busting Boredom in the Great Outdoors
by Tyler Omoth

Provides suggestions for different outdoor activities, including making a bird feeder, creating drawings using sidewalk chalk and making a life-sized board game on the lawn. This title is also available as an eAudiobook from hoopla.

101 Outdoor Adventures to Have Before You Grow Up
by Stacy Tornio and Jack Tornio; illustrations by Charity Ekpo

Be an adventurous kid! Conquer a rock wall, go ziplining, create a geocache at your favorite nature hangout, camp without a tent. 101 Outdoor Adventures to Have Before You Grow Up offers up season-by-season activities, games and challenges to get kids in the outdoors and loving it.