Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Books Instead of Candy for Halloween

From the "Books For Treats" site
Over the years, I've heard people talk about handing out books  for Halloween instead of candy. I always thought that it was some joke, or that one of the old ladies in the neighborhood decided to do it on their own. I was shocked when I learned that it is now a nation wide "treat."  The event, "Books For Treats" started in 2001 in San Jose, and has handed out over 6,000 books each Halloween.

According to their site, "Books For Treats," "is a program that encourages you to give 'gently read' children’s books at Halloween instead of candy." The program's slogan, "Give Brain Candy. Feed Kids' Minds Not their Cavities," pretty much sums up their goals.

So why do this ? The site offers some pretty crazy stats - "Recent statistics show that annually Americans spend $950 million on Halloween candy, and that 20 million pounds of candy corn alone is purchased. The average person spends nearly $15 on the Halloween candy — much of it being consumed before Halloween by the adults or their kids."

This program was originated in an attempt to help fight childhood obesity and diabetes, and to get children to read more. I don't know how I would have felt if someone dropped a book in my trick-or-treat bag all those years ago, but I think this is a fabulous idea now. The site,, lists information on how to get involved and where and how you can donate books.


  1. Franchesca:

    Thanks so much for your enthusiastic endorsement of Books For Treats. I love that so many people are organizing this in their community or giving out books themselves. The key is to let the kids choose their book, not to just drop one in their bag. When you're doing this for your own trick-or-treaters, it enables you to have a conversation with the kid about his/her grade level and reading interests so you can suggest a book s/he'll like. The parents get involved so you begin to interact and know neighbors you may have never talked to before.

    So in addition to giving the kids brain candy, it shifts how you know your neighbors which will bring neighborhoods closer.

    You can see why I started this in 2001 -- I'd done it for my own trick-or-treaters since 1995 and loved the results.

    As you say, we have a free kit for download at

    Rebecca Morgan
    Founder, Books For Treats

  2. No, thank you for such a great program. I hope it continues to take off ! Was this year as success as past years ? ( and I apologize for only just responding now. )