“I have an idea!” said a perky passing advisor, “Halloween is coming! Don’t you think people should give books for Halloween instead of those unhealthy chunks of sugar?”
I expressed it more politely, but my basic thought was, “No. Those copies of Twilight are big enough to crush the chocolate marshmallow punkins.”
We are entering the annual period of “I’ll make up for all this eating when it’s time to make resolutions.” I have no objection, of course, if you want to buy a bunch of books and use them on Trick-or-Treaters, but if you don’t want Super Glue squirted into your door lock, you should probably tape a Baby Ruth to each one. (Make the popcorn balls with enough goo and they’ll stick without tape.)
But it did start the wheels turning in my steam-powered brain. What OTHER uses might we find for books on the thirty-first of October?
Do not hollow one out and put a candle in it: no matter how big the book is, that’s a fire hazard. You could, of course, prop your jack-o-lantern up on a stack of scary books: Lasser’s tax guides, say, or Black’s Law Dictionary.
We’ve had lots of political biography in here lately, by the way, if you’re on the lookout for scary models for your pumpkin carving. (Try not to make the natural mistake and plunge the knife into the book. I’ve read that sort of thing requires a wooden stake.)
I would not recommend bringing an armload of books and carrying a banana box and going trick-or-treating as Uncle Blogsy. First of all, those books will get heavy if you’re planning to cover much ground. Second, even if you move among people who think Uncle Blogsy needs more candy, it’ll all fall out through the hole in the bottom of the banana box.
Carry just one book, and they’ll think you’re a late-night missionary: they may not even open the door. But if you carry three books and tell people you’re a Book Fair donor and were turned away because October is a “Please Don’t Bring Books Month”, people will feel sorry for you and give you all their pumpkin spice GooGoo Clusters.
If you want to discourage trick-or-treaters at your house, put a stack of diet cookbooks in the window, or the books we get in on the evils of sugar addiction. Somebody gave us a copy of Chicken Soup for the Dental Soul, but I may use that at my place.
Books can be useful at your Halloween party. Once everyone has given up on bobbing for apples (which is impossible), blindfold a couple of guests and then read random pages from a modern vampire romance and a classic porn novel and see who can tell the difference (also impossible, unless you choose a page where one of the participants is twinkling.) If you want something a little more appropriate to a family party, you can download some pictures of people like Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer without labels, and see if the kids can pile the right books in front of the right people. (This is Pin the Tale on the Author.)
At the very least, you may want to stave off attacks my monsters by getting in a big bag full of used books. Pile them at the neighbors’ house, in a conspicuous place. If the zombies come, they’ll think THAT’S the place to go for brains.