Step 1. Place Halloween book in the bag.
Pat yourself on the back for celebrating literacy and a really fun holiday and sharing that with someone you love.
Not kidding. It's that easy.
Unless you're like me most years and are going the "put your candy in an old grocery bag because I forgot to buy you a trick-or-treating pail" route, you probably are going to be purchasing something cute to put Halloween candy in for your kids.
Put a Fall or Halloween themed book in the cute bag before you hand it over. It doesn't have to be a scary book, but it can be if the person you are putting it together for loves that sort of thing.
That's it. Literally, there is nothing else required to celebrate All Hallow's Read.
I generally try to pack it with one piece of specialty candy (like bubble gum tape) and a cheap toy or word search game as an extra surprise, because who doesn't like those things?
Remember that this doesn't have to be elaborate. Especially if you are on a budget.
The most expensive item on the list is the book, and maybe you can't afford to buy a new one of those (kids books especially can run you twenty bucks plus pretty easily). Some Dollar stores carry books, and sometimes they gear those toward holidays like Halloween, so it's worth checking those out. Thrift stores often carry books, too, but I don't have a lot of luck finding relevant titles-though I'm sure if you had time to pick through a pretty large selection you could get something.
Some years I just use library books. Which will cost you nothing.
Having someone check out a book for you that they think you will love is still a wonderful surprise, I promise the kids won't care (we usually donate our new books once we read them anyway unless it's a reference title or something really loved- my kids don't reread books and I sure as hell don't, so sometimes loaned books make far more sense).
For adults, you can do the same thing, or even purchase e-books (which are generally cheaper) for All Hallow's Read.
All that matters is that you keep the person's taste in mind. Don't buy your best friend who is scared of the Walmart Halloween aisle a gory novel. That's being a jerk.
You could go the seasonal route and look for something autumn-themed or maybe even ask if a cozy murder mystery would work.
The important thing is to give books and stories you know the person would enjoy. Don't forget that writing a story for someone works, too.
So, what's going into our All Hallow's Read bags this year?...
We picked the second book in the "Last Kids on Earth" series for my oldest.
This is great for higher level elementary kids and maybe even some middle-schoolers. I enjoy these books myself, actually. With not-too-scary situations that still require its main cast of kids to be brave and witty, this is one of my favorite series for this age group right now.
For my middle child, who isn't a huge scary thing fan (except for Bendy and the Ink machine) we picked "Pumpkin Town".
It's humorous, the illustrations are awesome, and it's not too short or too long-a common problem for picking books at his age.
And, for our toddler, "I am Bat". It's modern, it has a message about sharing, and since she's going to be a bat this Halloween, it just works out.
For all the kids to share and because it's a fun read aloud, we also have "Grimericks". It's not overly creepy, but it's still very much in the spirit of the season, with darkly magickal illustrations and limericks.
Enjoy your Halloween with your favorite people, eat wonderful food, and share some great reads.