And Fall means Halloween, which for us is like Goth Christmas. Years and years ago, Neil Gaiman introduced the tradition of All Hallow's Read, which is the giving of scary books (age and comfort level appropriate of course) and usually candy. Or, since we do gift bags for all the kids in our small circle, instead of other things that would go in a Halloween treat bag. You could go for the well known "A Bumpy Little Pumpkin" by Margery Cuyler, a classic for sure. But, for other ideas,I thought I'd share a list of books we have loved over the years of doing this, and a new one that we all enjoyed.
My older two, when they were beginning elementary, loved "Bone Soup" by Cambria Evans. It's like Stone Soup, sure, but it's also hilariously dark and monster-ed up so that the entire thing feels like a treat. It would make a great gift for younger Halloween readers.
Close seconds on elementary level readers are "I Need my Monster" by Amanda Noll, which highlights all the perks of having a monster under your bed and how hard it is to hire a great one. She also has a sequel out titled, "Hey, That's My Monster", and it's on our list to get someone this year.
"Bone Dog" by Eric Rohmann is one of my son's favorites. "Bone Dog" got us through the hard time of losing a dog I'd had since childhood and that the older kids grew up with. It's a tough subject matter, but this book takes the idea of the love and protection living on, and for that reason is a real gem for kids ready to read it.
Lastly, a fun look at the idea of what would happen if a real vampire and witch went to have fun with other kids on Halloween, "Vampire Boy's Goodnight" by Lisa Brown was always a hit at my house and for any child I bought it for.
What to get the baby All Hallow's Reader in your life? Well, for toddlers who won't eat pages, "Vampirina Ballerina" by Anna Marie Pace is amazingly adorable and comes with the themes of not giving up while not compromising who you are. I had a copy for my older daughter, and will get a new one for my youngest.
Need a board book? Can't go wrong with "Spookie Pookie", which babies and toddlers find just those two words put together funny, and it's an easy, short read for teeny attention spans.
And for the older readers in your house?
I didn't know when I picked it up that everyone would read and love it, but it should not have surprised me. J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne's "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" was first read by my 10th grade reading level 4th grader, but was soon passed around to each of us, who ate it up. A continuation of the Harry Potter series, do not let the fact that this is written as a screenplay bother you, because it didn't us in the slightest. It was still fun, still touching, still suspenseful, still meaningful in all the ways the novels were, and was an instant treasure here.
It was a strange thing too, to revisit the world I'd known as a teenager with my children as I read about the characters I grew up with and their children. Halloween magic at its best.
For adults, I'd just go with their personal taste. Don't buy Del Toro's "The Strain" or Barker's "Books of Blood" for someone who hates gore; you could instead even get them a Halloween cook or craft book, or even a graphic novel. For someone apart from the mainstream, consider bizarro fiction writers, or just go with the old bookstore gift card. If you write horror, you could even gift them with a personal story.
This year, that is the gift we'll bring to the blog. Another local writer and myself have written short stories to be featured here from now until Halloween. I hope to have several more to share with you from other locals, but even with just the short works lined up, I think it will be a fun way to celebrate the season!
Anything you do that supports reading this Halloween will be awesome.