The Art of Darkness

All Hallow’s Read

October 11th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Last October, Neil Gaiman posted a suggestion that everyone inaugurate the tradition of giving scary books to one another on Halloween.

I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy.

I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands — new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe’en. Make their flesh creep…

It was an idea that quickly gained steam, with fans enthusiastically gifting books to each other, and it also spawned a Website with an amusing FAQ and a nice list of book recommendations.

Now it’s time to gear up for the second year (which will actually make it a tradition instead of, “that good idea somebody had that one year”). Think about gifting a book to a friend, or hand one to the clerk at your favorite coffee shop. Arrange a book-swap party, where everyone arrives with a favorite spooky book and leaves with a different one. Read from a book of spooky stories at a child’s Halloween party and send the guests home with copies.

To my unending dismay, I live in a location which never ever gets trick-or-treaters, or else I’d also keep a small selection of books on hand to give as treats. Not to everyone, mind you…just to the kids proudly wearing their homemade Halloween costumes, or the ones who greet me with monster roars, or anyone else, regardless of age, who makes it clear that they know Halloween is about more than free candy.

Bonus: Here’s Neil Gaiman himself explaining the concept behind the tradition.

Posted in Whatever | 6 Comments »

6 Responses

  1. Sisifo Says:

    I’ve decided I need more literate friends.

  2. xJane Says:

    I’d like to crowdsource my need for an age-appropriate All Hallow’s Read book for a 6 year old girl (who is constantly dressed in pink and pastel purple, causing me to want to strangle my sister, but who recently wrapped all her dolls—first in kleenex, then in tape—and hung them with tape from the eaves of her dollhouse; she then covered the dollhouse in tape—and I do mean covered—and has begun referring to it as “the Web of Horrorth!” because she has an adorable lisp. If ever there was a child in need of a scary book, it is she).

  3. Empress Pam Says:

    Be prepared to hear me roar tomorrow. I like books. lol

    Oh I bought Shelby that one Zombie book I showed it, it was a great story!

  4. pensive Says:

    xjane: I love that child. Hell, I want to send her a scary book. I cannot have kids specifically because I would be so disappointed in the Alex P. Keaton I would surely get instead of one like that.

    I shall buy Pat the Zombie (because I love it) and give it to my favorite barista. A little below her reading level, but I think she’ll like it.

  5. pensive Says:

    Oooh- and now I want to go through my shelves and give away books I don’t plan to read again. This is a great idea. I love it. Thank you so much, Jenna!

  6. Saw Says:

    i need to give some to my school
    we have ONE SMALL SHELF for horror
    just one
    even at the public library
    as well as the book store….
    what the hell horror is dieing in my area!
    mainly because the lack of them being read

    people please give horror books out to loved ones (or hated-you pick)
    even if used/yardsale
    dont let your area be like mine!

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