What Is All Hallow's Read?
All Hallow's Read is a very, very old tradition that started two years ago when I was on a plane. What I like about traditions is, I didn't realize, that you can actually start one at any point. You just have to do it and then do it again and then it's a tradition.
It was the magic of the Internet. I was sitting on a plane and I thought, Wouldn't it be good if there was some kind of tradition of giving scary books in October? and I went on Twitter and said we should do this and what would we call it and it got about 1,000 suggestions and All Hallow's Read was the one I liked best.
By the time I had landed, we'd registered allhallowsread.com and I went out and recorded this video for it. The idea was to say, look, we're not saying don't give candy. (Editor's Note: Seriously, give candy.) Candy is a great, venerable tradition. But Lord knows we need more holidays that have a book-giving component, especially in the U.S., where they don't have any.
But people were then saying, "Well, hang on, books are expensive," and what was great is I didn't have to even say anything. I was just watching the conversation —because of the magic of Twitter, by the time people were done saying books were expensive, other people were saying, "Well I've just gone down to Goodwill and picked up 50 R.L. Stine books to give to kids." So you start realizing if there is one thing that's out there that's available cheaply and in quantity, it's books.
Have you thought about co-opting other holidays for reading?
I think all holidays should be reading holidays. I think books are the most personal and intimate things you can give.
But I particularly love the idea of All Hallow's Read, partly because Halloween by its very nature is a literary festival. It was almost created by Ray Bradbury. And I love the fact it's about story. There's no other holiday that has stories as an integral part. There are no Secretary's Day stories. However, Halloween comes with ghost stories, that's why things get scary.
Download a high-res copy of the 2012 All Hallow's Read poster!