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A couple of years ago, author Neil Gaiman proposed that in addition to giving out candy, dressing up, and attending costume parties, we give each other scary books for Halloween. He dubbed this concept All Hallow’s Read, and has since encouraged folks to join him each year in sharing the stories that keep us up at night.

For someone who loves books and reading, this is the cherry on top of the holiday. It’s a wonderful opportunity to encourage kids to read, or to share a book you love with your friends. Books don’t need to be new from the store; share your pre-read copies, or make a family pilgrimage to the library and choose books for each other. Or maybe try a scary-book swap with your friends, where you trade your Halloween-appropriate titles with each other for a new batch of leave-the-lights-on reads.

Looking for some inspiration? The All Hallow’s Read site has links to lists of book recommendations, and my own Seasonal Reading post has a few titles listed — be sure to check out the comments. You can also check out the Parents’ Guide to Scary Books for Young Readers over at The Millions if you’d like some ideas for kids’ titles. Or just browse the internet; scary book recommendations abound this time of year.

No one is suggesting that books replace candy or the other trappings of the holiday. But Halloween is as much about scary stories as it is funny outfits or caramel apples, and a book will last far longer than a sugar high.

Wishing you all a wonderful week, filled with tall tales and tasty treats!

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