The Art of Darkness

All Hallow’s Read

September 9th, 2014 by Cobwebs

In October of 2010 Neil Gaiman posted A Modest Proposal (that doesn’t actually involve eating anyone), in which he mused that there aren’t enough traditions which involve giving books and suggested a solution to that:

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…

I wrote about the tradition back in 2011, but was just reminded about it by this retweet from Gaiman:

It’s a tradition that’s well worth supporting, and there are plenty of ways to participate. Gift a book to a friend, or give one–along with a nice tip–to the pizza delivery guy. Bring a printout of the poster to your local library and suggest a spooky read-a-thon. Arrange a book-swap party: Have everyone bring a favorite scary book (with which they can bear to part) and leave with a different one. Read from a book of age-appropriate spooky stories at a child’s Halloween party and send the guests home with copies.

And if you hand out books to trick-or-treaters, I hope you follow the advice of the All Hallows Read site’s FAQ:

You can give out scary books or comics to trick or treaters on Hallowe’en if you want to, obviously. (We recommend looking the child in the eye and saying, “Take it. Read it. Trust me… around here… a book can be… safer than candy.” Then chuckling to yourself, as if remembering something unfortunate that happened to some of the local children only last year.)

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One Response

  1. Pixel Pixie Says:

    I’m in, but only if we also throw in cannibalism.

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