In 2010, Neil Gaiman found himself on a plane when he got to thinking that there were not enough excuses for people to share their love of books with others. It occurred to him that Halloween presented the perfect opportunity to share scary stories with people of all ages. The All Hallow’s Read was born. Here’s Neil (in a 2011 video) to explain how it works:
Give new books, or used books, or audiobooks. Give books instead of candy or in addition to candy. Cultivate a reputation as that odd neighbor that gives out R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps instead of chocolate. Have a stack of books at the ready when the kiddos come back from their trick-or-treating, and buy back their candy with books. Need some scary book recs? We’ll have a few on tap for you this week, but you can start with these lists from Gaiman and HarperCollins.
This is just the beginning of what readers everywhere hope will be a longstanding tradition. This year, Gaiman has given all of us the gift of an original, as-yet-unpublished story that he recorded for Audible. It’s available for free, and for every copy that is downloaded through Wednesday, October 31, Audible will make a donation to Donors Choose (in the US) or Booktrust (in the UK). To hear a sample and download the story, visit Audible and spread the word. On Twitter, he’s asked that we use the hashtag #ScareUs.
So, to sum up – this Halloween, give people the gift of reading. Accept the gift of a scary story from Neil Gaiman, and, in doing so, give the gift of school supplies (including books!) to schools across the country. That’s a lot of giving.