Even with its roots in pagan rituals and ceremonies from various backgrounds and cultures and the undeniable horror and terror elements, it is hard not to see Halloween as very much a holiday and season for children. And frankly that’s not a bad thing. The pumpkins, new cartoon specials, costumes, and encouraged trespassing and soliciting with the promise of candy: these are the dreams and wishes of children. Or at least the costumes and candy part.
Of course, this is seen within the media around Halloween. For every new slasher or supernatural horror flick, there is a special or movie intended to give kids equal scary opportunities. A Night in Halloween House by Elyse Willems is one such offering. A debut children’s book from a multi-talented artist, A Night in Halloween House is a children’s book in the same vein as classic Goosebumps books with a bit of Goonies twist. Like, those works, this book isn’t intended to outright frighten or traumatize the reader. There’s plenty of books, movies, and television shows that can do that readily available. Instead, A Night in Halloween House is more of a classic children’s adventure with spooky, Halloween elements that can be enjoyed whenever the mood arises, but is perfect for a quick read this Halloween season.
A Night in Halloween House is a classic tale of a group of close childhood friends (Billy, Chuck, Jeremy aka “Germ”, and Phil) who happen to be a bunch of young, kind of nerdy/goofy kids living an average, suburban, Americana life. They play baseball, read comics, go to school, deal with older siblings, get messed with by older bullies, and, like all American cul-de-sacs, have stories about every person and house in the neighborhood, none scarier or more well known than that of the Bryerwood House, the scariest place in town. The actual story only takes place over the course of a few days leading up to a Halloween adventure. Along the way the boys face their fears, some old enemies, make some new friends, and invite the token, requisite girl to the group, new girl in town Vanessa, who may have a special connection to the titular Halloween House.
All in all, A Night in Halloween House is a delightful story for the season that you could easily finish in an afternoon by yourself or along with any child in your life.