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Five great Halloween-themed e-books for kids

These apps not only help young readers learn their words, but also give you a break when you're cooking dinner, driving the car, or just craving a little "mommy" or "daddy" time.

Harry and the Haunted House resurrects the classic Living Books title that originated on PCs and Macs.
Harry and the Haunted House resurrects the classic Living Books title that originated on PCs and Macs.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Halloween is just over a week away, making this the perfect time to sit down with the kids and read them a spooky story, but not too spooky, of course.

Oh, you better believe there are apps for that. I've rounded up five Halloween-friendly e-books for young readers, all of them interactive in some way, and all of them able to pinch-hit as narrator when you're busy. Except where noted, they'll run on any iOS device; some are available for Android as well.

Harry and the Haunted House (iOS) Though not expressly a Halloween story, this terrific app resurrects another of the classic Living Books series, which was always a favorite in the Broida household. Although Harry and the Haunted House has only 12 pages, each one is packed with interactive items: tap just about anything and it comes to life.

The Berenstain Bears Go on a Ghost Walk (Android|iOS) Intended for ages 4-8, this Berenstain Bears tale features original artwork from the print book. Kids can tap any word to see it highlighted and hear it read aloud, while the youngest readers can sit back and let "auto play" read the story and turn the pages.

The Haunted Halloween: A Scooby-Doo You Play Too Book (iPad) Isn't every Scooby-Doo story suitable for Halloween? In this iPad-only title, Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang work to solve -- you'll never believe it! -- a Halloween mystery. In addition to the interactive story, the app offers puzzles, stickers, "Zoinks Points," and even a photo op with Scooby himself.

Trick or Treat: Picture Me (iOS) If you have a camera-equipped iDevice (or you're good at copying photos from your PC), you can put your little pumpkin inside, well, a little pumpkin. This simple storybook is all about making your kid the star: just snap (or import) a photo to put his or her face in a pumpkin, scarecrow, dalmatian, and the like. All the usual interactive elements are here as well.

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin (Android|iOS) The popular children's story about tolerance and self-acceptance comes to life in this interactive e-book, which challenges kids to find "hidden" sounds by tapping the right areas. It features both autoplay and read-to-me/read-it-myself modes.

Have you found any other great Halloween-themed e-books or apps? Tell me about them in the comments!