I really like Neil Gaiman. Not only is he a great author (American Gods, Neverwhere, Stardust, to mention a few), he comes up with other good ideas, too — like All Hallow's Read.
Instead of giving out candy on Halloween, Gaiman suggested giving out scary books, and encouraging people to read.
How quickly can I say, "I'm in!"?
Now, to be fair, it's not going to be easy. There are plenty of people who don't like Halloween, or who associate the wrong spirit with it. Plus — perish the thought — some people don't like scary books or stories. (I know, crazy, but they're out there.)
So, how will I encourage it in my new neighborhood?
First of all, I won't go cold turkey on the candy. I'd hate to be known as "that house that doesn't give out candy." I certainly don't want to get mixed up with the house that gives out toothbrushes, or political pamphlets. (Darn the American election system for putting elections so close to Halloween — though, to be honest, it really is a similar activity: getting dressed up and pretending to be someone else...)
Maybe I'll just start with a poem, a single sheet of paper. Maybe a limerick, or a sonnet? There are plenty of good ones out there, or I could write my own. Start a series of poems, collect the entire set... I could have some fun with this!
Halloween will bring out David's inner spook-tacular decorating, so the porch will be scary. I'll hand out a poem with candy, which also can be scary. Then we'll see if anyone else joins us next year. (And if you don't like my ideas, check out Darla Moore's ideas in the Columbus Public Schools Examiner, to see if one of them tickles your fancy.)
So, who else is in?