All Hallow’s Read 2016

Bernie Wrightson, Frankenstein

Bernie Wrightson, Frankenstein


It’s time for All Hallow’s Read again, that magical time of year when we give the gift of fright!

If you haven’t yet heard about it, All Hallow’s Read is a month-long celebration of the horror genre (for the adults) and spooky stories (for the kids). The idea is, whether it’s a beautifully-wrapped Stephen King novel to your spouse, a dog-eared copy of Frankenstein you abandon on a park bench with the inscription “Take Me!” on a Post-It Note, or anything in-between, that we all take the time to give each other scary books.

It started in 2010, when author Neil Gaiman mused on a blog post after a long flight, “You know, there aren’t enough traditions that involve giving books.”

The original

The original “Scary Stories to tell in the dark” by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

Since then, it’s grown into a world-wide well-kept secret: sellers, librarians, and book-worms from Bangor to Brazil have accepted the challenge. If you want to play along on social media, the twitter-tag is a great place to start.

The best part? It’s shockingly simple to become a part of the tradition.

All you need to do–wait for it–is to give someone a scary book.

Of course, make sure it’s age/interest appropriate, but other than that? It’s up to you! It could be a favorite old Caitlin R. Kiernan novel that’s been gathering dust on your shelf, a brand-new Goosebumps book or three to the neighbor-kid, or whatever your heart dreams up. Brand new, lightly used, or heavily-highlighted with all your favorite lines–go wild!

This year I plan on (finally) passing along my decrepit old copies of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series to my third-grader. If he’s anything like his mom, the creepy plots and Stephen Gammell’s haunting illustrations will be just the right kind of nightmare-fuel to give him the shivers, without keeping him up too late after lights-out.

How about you–what horror-genre stories would you love to pass along, and why?

For more information about AHR, child-friendly book lists, and neat printable promo materials, check out the All Hallow’s Read website.

(And if you need more ideas for great reads to pass along, have a peek at our stacks!)

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