Saturday, October 5, 2013

Doing the Halloween Hustle!

We’re settling into our new town, new neighborhood, and new school here in California, after moving here a few months ago. One of the highlights so far was the Walk-a-Thon at the school last night, when kindergartners through fifth graders spent up to four hours making laps around the school’s field to raise money for school activities and educational programs. There were also lots of treats at the event for both the parents and the children, including fun food, great music, and a silent auction.

I’ve decided that next year for the Walk-a-Thon, which is always in October, I’m going to buy a copy of the new picture book Halloween Hustle by Charlotte Gunnufson and Kevan J. Atteberry to donate to the silent action. It would be the perfect book to tie into the fall season and into the spirit of the Walk-a-Thon -- where so many kids are "hustling" around the field!

In the dark, a funky beat,
Something white with bony feet.
Skeleton dancing up the street,
Doing the Halloween Hustle.

I am madly in love with rhyming picture books, especially upbeat ones that incorporate movement, and Halloween Hustle certainly fits the bill. Skeleton, who has been invited to a “fa-boo-lous” midnight Halloween party at Ghost’s house, is the main character of the book. As he dances up the street, doing the Halloween Hustle, he picks up some friends along the way. Frankenstein, Mummy, Witch, and more join him as they all make their way to Ghost’s house for the party.

But a picture book wouldn’t be a good one without a few mishaps along the way, right? The problem in this book is that the skeleton is having so much fun dancing that he keeps tripping and falling apart!

Skeleton twists his skinny hips.
Shakes his shoulders, skates and skips.
On a crooked crack the trips…

Bones scatter!
What a clatter!
Spine is like a broken ladder!

Luckily Skeleton and his friends are quite resourceful and manage to find different ways to put him back together so he can keep on dancing. Eventually the group makes it to the Halloween bash…just in time for a dance contest!

I’ve read this book aloud to both of my daughters, and it’s a very fun read aloud. Once, when I was reading it to my 6-year-old alone, I asked her what her favorite part of the book was. “It kind of looks like they’re boogying, and I like to boogie!” she said. She’s always loved illustrations, so it didn’t surprise me that she was paying attention to the movement in the art. And there is a lot of it!

What did surprise me is what my daughter said was her favorite part of the Walk-a-Thon last night. After she walked 30 laps around the field with her sister and their friends, ate a huge slice of cheesy pizza, and licked a gigantic lollipop for hours, her favorite part of the night was the 20-minute dance party at the end of the evening!

If you or the kiddos in your life also like to boogie, you’ll want to check out the YouTube video that author Charlotte Gunnufson had made. It shows you how to do the “real” Halloween Hustle she choreographed (I think) to go along with the book. Plus, the song she made up to accompany the dance is super catchy!

What a great party song, right? I can totally see kids, especially the slightly older ones, really get into the moves! If you are really thinking about having a Halloween party -- or even a Halloween-themed story time -- you can find the lyrics to the song, a free MP3 download, and Halloween Hustle coloring pages, crafts, and puzzles here on Charlotte Gunnufson's website. You can also send some Halloween Hustle e-cards here. If you incorporate reading into your party, some other rhyming Halloween picture books you could incorporate are Shake Dem Halloween Bones and both Rattlebone Rock and Boogie Knights.  

The Halloween Hustle has been popular on book blogs this week. If you want to learn even more about the book, see the book trailer, and hear from author Charlotte Gunnufson herself, you can check out these posts on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog, Cynsations, and Watch.Connect.Read. Also, thanks to Amazon Publishing for sending me a review copy of the book!


This post is also part of Poetry Friday, so I thought I'd include a poem my 8-year-old wrote this week. It was inspired by this book for sure!

The Halloween Hurry

I was paying some money
When I saw something yummy
And then I saw a mummy
And I ran away...
Doing the Halloween Hurry!

You can read some more "spook-tacular" poetry over at Writing the World for Kidswhere Laura Purdie Salas is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup!


  1. Hi Kerry! Glad you like your new area. We have that walk too but without the food and books. I must suggest that ;)
    Can't waot to read tgat book.

    1. Hi, Catherine! So nice to hear from you! Hope you get a chance to read the book :)

  2. Sounds like a fun book, Kerry. Great video! Glad to hear you are settling in nicely in California :).

  3. That book seems a perfect pairing for the walkathon!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mary Lee. I recently found out that there are some fall runs (5K runs, etc.) that are actually called the Halloween Hustle. What perfect places those would be for marketing the book :)

  4. THanks for sharing this fun book, Kerry! I love Halloween books (Scarum Fair is a wonderful Halloween poetry picture book--full of funny/spooky verse) and will have to look for this. Love that your 8yo wrote this nifty poem inspired by the book. (And--I love the nice, clean, spare look of your blog.)

    1. Thanks so much, Laura. And thanks for hosting Poetry Friday last week. I stop by from time to time and am always astonished at all the original poetry folks share. I will have to check out Scarum Fair, too :)

  5. What a fun book and a fantastic little video to go along with! I'll have to hustle over to my local bookstore and have a look.

    1. Hi, Michelle. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you find the book at the stores!

  6. Looks like a super fun book Kerry! I love the fun theme with Halloween for kids. Have got to try this out at a classroom read :)
    Oh, and welcome to the 'hood! hope you are enjoying the CA weather :) May I ask which part of CA you are at? We are in North CA around the East Bay area.
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks

    1. Hi, Reshama! We are SO enjoying the CA weather. Actually lived her for a few years before we moved to MD about six years ago. Very excited to be back! We are in the South I don't think that is too far from you! Do you regularly go to any of the writing conferences in the region? Would be so fun to meet up :)


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