On Christmas Eve, many families gather together and read the classic "Night Before Christmas." I can't wait until Thatbaby is old enough for us to start a similar tradition with Halloween. You see, when I was in elementary school, I went through a phase where I was obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe. Dark, grim, mysterious. One of my babysitters fed into my obsession by getting me a complete anthology of his work. I have it to this day. And I imagine one day, my family will gather before a night of trick or treating to read a story from the collection.
I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to scary stories. My favorite are the old school psychological thrillers. The ones dealing with ghosts are my favorite. And while these days I'm more apt to grab something light and fluffy, many of these books hold a special place in my heart.
So here are my top 10 Halloweeny book!
For The Little Guys
These are the ones we're currently reading to Thatbaby.
Curious George Halloween - Thatbaby loves "GEORGE!" In fact, any monkey is George. This is a little collection of Halloween poems, which is good for the little guys because you can make it as short or long a read as you'd like. It's also fun for "find the" games since there's a lot to spot on each page.
Ollie's Halloween - Do you know the goslings? They're a super cute band of friends who live on a farm. In this story they all get dressed up and find treats and spooks. And share their treats with each other.
Room on the Broom - TMIL picked this up for Thatbaby this year and I LOVE IT! Such a great, non-scary story. The witch isn't a bad guy, she's nice! And there's always room for one more on her broom. Which ends up being very beneficial for her. It's a great lesson in being nice.
For the Slightly Older
These are my favorite from my childhood.
Bunnicula - Vampire bunny! I read this entire series. And my friend and I used to act out scenes. I think there was even a movie at some point in time?
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - I had this whole series also. They scared the pants off me. I remember reading these under my covers with a flashlight, and then being afraid to go to sleep. And to this day I start crying if you begin telling the "Vindow Viper" story. I don't know why it gives me such the creeps.
The Lottery - We read this one in school and I don't think I'll ever forget it. This is the kind of lottery you don't ever want to win.
For the Slightly Slightly Older
Edgar Allen Poe -I already talked about this one, but I love these dark stories. The Raven, The Telltale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum. Creepy!
Woman in White - Victorian ghost stories are some of my favorite. That period is phenomenal in literature anyway, but especially for the suspenseful stuff. I actually took a course in "Ghost Stories" when in college and that's where I was introduced to this classic.
Turn of the Screw - This is one of my favorite books of all times. I have multiple copies. If you haven't read it, you MUST. So creepy. You'll want every light on in the house.
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman is the master of the dark story. I just read this one earlier this year and I seriously could not go right to sleep when I finished certain chapters. Some of the characters are just so....nightmarish! But I guess for an entire civilization that lives below the streets, that makes sense.
The surefire solution for dark stories is daylight. The sun seems to ward off zombies, werewolves, and vampires. Which is why breakfast is so important. Because if you manage to make it to breakfast, you're good for at least another 12 hours. Which is why I never feel guilty about a big, hearty breakfast. After all, you need the energy to fight off the baddies. And it's no surprise I go for savory. Mexican breakfasts are some of my favorites - chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, migas - and they're all so easy to make at home.
Migas are like a Mexican omelet. Filled with veggies, eggs, and cheese. And making these proved that having your child help cook a meal can get them interested in eating it. Thatbaby told me he didn't want eggs. He tasted the tortillas and peppers and told me they were "yucky." But I had him whisk the eggs for me, and then pour them into the pan. As soon as they were ready to eat, he was at the table, shoveling them in his mouth and telling us how yummy they were.
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 corn tortillas
2 flour tortillas
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 heirloom tomato, diced
4 oz crumbled cotija cheese
1/4 cup half and half
- Heat canola oil over medium heat and fry the tortillas until crisp (about 30 seconds per side). Drain on paper towels.
- Add olive oil and butter to skillet and heat until butter is melted. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook until onions are transluscent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno and cook an additional minute.
- Add the tomatoes and cook an additional minute,
- Chop the crisp tortillas and add them to the skillet.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and half and half. Pour the mixture into the skillet, folding to cook.
- When egg is cooked through, stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.