Enhanced Spookiness! Top 10 iPad Book Apps for Halloween

| October 15, 2011 | 1 Comment

It’s time for another Top 10 list and this time I’m doing something a little different. In honor of the upcoming holiday, I’ve selected some of my favorite book apps for iPad that are tailor made for Halloween reading. Unlike previous lists, most of these apps have not been fully reviewed on our site, so I’ve included a brief description and my overall star rating.

I’ve also included a special mention for a few books that I’d like to recommend even though they didn’t quite make it into the top 10. After that I’ve chosen a few Halloween themed apps outside the book category – an extra treat … no tricks here! Click on any app for iTunes link. All titles are iOS Universal or iPad apps.

1. Violet and the Candy Thief – 5 Stars

Violet and the Candy Thief

Violet Returns for Halloween

In this new adventure about a little girl who has an alter-ego she calls “Phantom Girl”, readers have a new mystery to solve. Who is eating all the candy? Children will love exploring this interactive gem of a book. It features very light animation paired with great storytelling and a charming main character. There’s lots to play with in this sort-of scary & super-fun read!



2. KidsMag – Halloween Edition – 4.75 Stars

KidsMag Halloween Edition

KidsMag - Packed with Fun Activities!

This app contains a short but cute storybook about two kids (Teo & Bianca) who explore their basement to find costume materials – with scary and funny results. Beyond the story, you’ll find an exceptional assortment of extras. It has puzzles, spot-the-dot, coloring pages, sequencing/matching activities and much more than I can even list. 5-Star extras in this & every edition of “KidsMag”!


3. What was I Scared of? – Dr. Seuss – 4.5 Stars

What was I scared of? - Dr. Seuss

Spooky Classic from Dr. Seuss

This is a great year-round ‘scary’ story to share with children of all ages. It has the classic appeal of Dr. Seuss, including whimsical illustrations, a great narrated story plus light interactivity – all based on the OM platform from Oceanhouse Media. An empty pair of pants terrifies the main character but brings a lesson about both fear and tolerance.



4. Scruffy Kitty – 4.5 Stars

Scruffy Kitty iPad Book App

Check out the new content just for Halloween ...

One of our Digital-Storytime favorites, this title has changes in the content just for Halloween, including decorations on the house, ghosts & jack-o-lanterns. About a stray cat that finds a new home – very heartwarming, funny and lots of interactivity for young fingers. See our full review for more information. 



5. Lula’s Brew – 4.25 Stars

Lula's Brew for iPad

Limited enhancements but great storytelling!


This is a great story based on a print title. More like an iBook (the only enhancement is narration by the author). With delightful rhyming text, this title tells the story of a little witch that wants to cook delicious foods instead of foul brews. Reviewed earlier this year, this heartwarming tale features simple but elegant storytelling and gorgeous illustrations. This is a fun read year-round!




6. Berenstain Bears Go on a Ghost Walk – 4.25 Stars

The Berenstain Bears and the Ghost Walk

The cubs help Papa with a Haunted House

The beloved family of bears helps out with a ‘Ghost Walk’ (basically a ‘Haunted House’) that is being held at the cubs school as a fundraiser. You’ll find lots of wholesome fun in this cute and slightly scary title. Papa bear needs Mama to reign in his enthusiasm at times, but in the end he is the one who has nightmares! Lightly interactive and nicely narrated with OM book format.



7. The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin – 4.25 Stars

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin

Sometimes being different is a good thing!

This story is great for year-round storytelling, emphasizing the message that being different can be a good thing. It’s about a square pumpkin that is sad at first because he can’t roll like the round pumpkins in the patch. But then a storm comes and being square has its advantages. After the storm, Spookley is celebrated instead of ridiculed for his difference.



8. Boo! – PicPocket Books – 4 Stars

Boo! - PicPocket Books

Great poem-like storytelling by Gina Ricci

In this short, poem-like story we find gorgeous illustrations and a lyrical tale that celebrates all the traditional elements of Halloween. It has a simple interface with light animation & interactivity (mostly scary sound effects and sparkles around the moon). Also features lovely background music and text that highlights as read. A beautiful digital presentation.



9. Mickey’s Spooky Night Puzzle Book – 4 Stars

Mickey's Spooky Night Puzzle Book

All the Disney friends show up for Halloween!


This is a cute, short title from Disney Digital Books, featuring puzzles and hidden ghosts alongside a cute story. Mickey is looking for his pirate costume in the attic with some spooky results. Mickey’s other Disney friends join him by the end of this tale.



10. Elly the Reindeer Book 9 – 4 Stars

Elly the Reindeer - The Spooky Party

Elly & her friends get dressed up for a costume party ...

Elly is a little reindeer with cute woodland friends. This series of books is very simply made with one sound effect to trigger on most pages. The stories are great for preschoolers, with appealing cartoon graphics. In this episode, Elly gets invited to a costume party with a spooky theme & has to decide on what to wear. Elly books are also now nicely narrated. 



Special Mention:

11. JibJab Jr. Books – Monster Mayhem! – 3.75 Stars

Monster Mayhem - JibJab Jr. Books

An in-app Purchase from JibJab for October

This personalizable book is an in-app purchase from JibJab Jr. Books – a free app that comes with one storybook. You simply upload a picture of your child & enter their name to make them the star of the book. No audio or other enhancements, but top notch storytelling with a well-executed combination of photos & graphic elements. About a kid who creates a ‘monster-robot’ with funny results.


12. The Greebley Greebley – 3.75 Stars

The Greebley Greebley

A Monster Like No Other ...

In this book, not available until October 28, 2011, you’ll find a monster that you can design yourself and then see appear inside the story’s pages. It’s about a town famous for having it’s own monster, The Greebley. One day the townsfolk kick him out for being a nuisance, but they soon realize the town is not quite the same without their mascot. Light interactivity but no narration.



13. Witchemina – 3.5 Stars


A little witch finds a different path ...

This story is about a little witch who doesn’t want to do the traditional ‘witchy’ things she is supposed to do. She loves beautiful flowers and wants to get a precious seed to grow. She goes to great lengths to find a ray of sunlight to make her dream come true. Lightly animated and rather long for a picture book, but very cute. Minor technical problems on iPad 2.



14. Witch Has an Itch – 3.5 Stars

The Witch Has An Itch

A Witch that becomes 'allergic' to her evil ways ...

This little book app features great storytelling and delightful illustrations, based on the print title by Donna Guthrie. The format in digital has some odd page layout issues, but is otherwise a fun read. The main character is a mean witch that has to learn to be nice when she becomes itchy every time she does something evil. Very cute story!



15. Boy Dumplings – 3.5 Stars

Boy Dumplings

A clever boy outsmarts a hungry ghost ...

This is a nice little story about a ghost that tries to eat a chubby little boy who is out late one night. From PicPocket Books, this title features a great traditional tale about a boy who convinces a scary ghost that he has a recipe for ‘boy dumplings’ that is so tantalizing that the ghost doesn’t realize it is almost light out. A very clever boy and even more creative recipe. Great for year-round reading and teaches how to take advantage of another’s greed and evil intentions.




16. Halloween eBook – 3.5 Stars

Halloween eBook

Personalize this simple book with child's photo ...


A simple but very unique little book with narration and the ability to personalize each page with a photo of your child. Designed by a mom for her autistic son to “help teach children to identify, label, and categorize words, by commenting on the text and pictures. The question ‘Where?’ is used repeatedly throughout the book to help children learn location concepts such as- ‘in front of’, ‘behind’, & ‘next to.'” This is a FREE app that has lots of potential.




17. Giddy Ghost and Whimsical Witch – 3.5 Stars

Giddy Ghost and Whimsical Witch

A clumsy ghost gets help from a bumbling witch ...

 A late entrant on our list, this recently released title features a story about a clumsy ghost who can’t seem to climb a staircase. The ghost enlists the help of a new witch. Between the two of them, they are able (with the reader’s help) to create just the right bubbly brew to help the ghost stop tripping. The story itself is cute with light animation & interactivity. Page turn & interactive elements are a bit touchy but overall a fun read for little trick-or-treaters.


And a few other fun iPad apps with Halloween-ish themes:

Millie’s Book of Tricks and Treats

Millie's Book of Tricks and Treats

A fun app based on the "Meet Millie" book series


Make a Monster HD

Make A Monster HD

Build Your Own Monster - Thousands of Combinations!


Henry’s Spooky Headlamp

Henry's Spooky Headlamp
A seek-and-find game perfect for Halloween …


Teo & Bianca’s Halloween Coloring Book

Teo and Bianca Halloween Coloring Book
Coloring Book from KidsMag Stars

Dress Jack-o-Ween

Dress Jack-O-Ween

Customize Your Own Jack-O-Lantern

 And what are some of your favorite books, apps and app books for this trick-or-treat season?

Category: All About Apps, Top 10 Lists

About the Author ()

Carisa Kluver is the the editor of Digital-Storytime.com, an iPad children's book review site. She has a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and an MSW from the University of Washington. Before starting this project, she was a school counselor, health educator and researcher in child & maternal health.