A Not So Jolly Holiday With Mary

Halloween and I have a complicated relationship. Our troubles began when I was six and dressed up as my favorite hero: Mary Poppins. I set out with my brothers, clutching my umbrella and magical bag, with visions of Mr. Goodbars dancing in my head. It would be a jolly holiday, indeed. My brothers were older and faster, and wearing practical shoes—turns out Mary Janes aren't the best trick-or-treating footwear, so I struggled to keep up all night. Finally, seeing them already knocking at the next door, I decided to throw caution to the wind and cut across the yard. With my eyes on nothing but the candy ahead, I failed to notice the chicken wire protecting their flowers, and well...Mary Poppins took flight, much to the unabashed joy of my brothers. Pulling my six-year-old self together, I stumbled to the door, ripped tights, torn bag, big tears welling up in my little eyes, only to be harangued by the meanest lady I'd ever met for daring to run through her yard. So severe was her wrath that it even silenced my heckling brothers. For a minute, anyway.

I bounced right back the next year as Miss America. Clearly, I still hadn't learned the whole practical shoes lesson. But Halloween had lost some of its luster, and as I grew older I became even less of a fan of dressing up. Then followed a few blissful years of not having to participate in the whole shebang, only to be thrown head first into the world of kids and costumes and school parties. Eek.

Halloween is not without its redeeming qualities: pumpkins, roasted pumpkin seeds, and most especially pumpkin spice donuts, crisp night air, trick-or-treaters at my door, costumes—as long as I don't have to make or wear them—and, of course, spooky reads. And the candy. Definitely the candy.


(best read-aloud books to get a classroom cheering)

"Wiener Dog, Wiener Dog!" the other dogs mercilessly tease Oscar. His mother doesn't help matters by calling him her "little Vienna Sausage" and coming up with the worst Halloween costume ever. But when Oscar has the chance for the last laugh, he chooses kindness, and that makes all the difference.


This brave little old lady has her fearlessness put to the test.

You'll never be sorry when you make room for more friends—on your broom or in your heart.


"Everyone we know is giving out candy?! I can wear that."


A story of a boy, raised by ghosts, living in a graveyard. Your kids will love it.

What's scarier than Miss Trunchbull?

Make a deal with your kids: read the book, see the movie. Jack Black is great incentive.

Sophie and the BFG (big friendly giant) set out to save the world's children from the other not-so-friendly giants.


Don't read this at night. Alone. You've been warned.

Posted by Rachel