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Happy (almost) Halloween from The Horn BOooOOooOOk

Tomorrow’s Halloween, which means it’s time for a few of our favorite bookish Halloween traditions! Namely…

all hallow's readAll Hallow’s Read

This tradition — started by author Neil Gaiman waaaaayyy back in the olden days of 2010 — simply consists of giving scary books in the week leading up to Halloween. (Instead of candy?!, you ask. No, of course not.)

If someone you know would appreciate a creepy read (hint: I would!), why not share one that you’ve enjoyed? Need inspiration? Take a look at our recommended Halloween books.

Book-inspired costumes!

We have been a teeny bit obsessed with book-themed costumes this week. Here are a few rocked by HB staff over the years:

Elissa, Mag senior editor and web editor:

One year (as a grownup) I was Raggedy Ann. The red hair, blue polka-dotted dress…it was a natural choice.

I was Sherlock Holmes once in high school — not elementary school, unfortunately, because there’s the joke — with a deerstalker cap and pipe (unlit) and everything.

Caitlin, editorial intern:

My father always dressed up with me for Halloween, and my mother always sewed my costumes from scratch. This is my father and me as Peter Pan and Tinker Bell (my favorite part was the pixie dust — a.k.a. gold glitter — that I got to carry around)!

caitlin costume 1

Photo by Melanie Kling

And here we are as Wolverine and Storm from the Marvel XMen comic books.

caitlin costume 2

Photo by Melanie Kling

But perhaps my favorite Halloween costume story is of the year I insisted on dressing up as a character from one of my favorite, but extremely obscure children’s books. It was called Little Vampire’s Diary, and to this day I don’t know anyone else who has heard of it. My mother still made me the costume even though everyone just thought I was a vampire with an odd hairstyle.

little vampire's diary

caitlin costume 3 (2)

Photo by Melanie Kling

Katie, Horn Book assistant editor:

Despite being a pretty bookish kid, I don’t think I dressed up as any specific book characters for childhood trick-or-treating. I definitely have several times in more recent years, though! (I highly recommend it. :))

Here’s “Harry” and “Hermione” at a Harry Potter book release party (we won the costume contest!):

And here I am as Olivia the pig, posing with “Fancy Nancy” at the kids’ bookstore where we both worked.

nancy and olivia

Shoshana, Mag editorial assistant:

Why should kids who celebrate Halloween have all the fun? Purim was more our thing (and it included plenty of sugar and costumed silliness of its own). But my most literary costume was actually from the day our Jewish day school transformed itself into New York’s Lower East Side, circa 1910. Here I am as Ella from All of a Kind Family, with my cute-as-a-button sister Leora as youngest AoaKF sister Gertie.

shoshana as ella 2

Photo courtesy of Judith and Daniel Flax

leora as gertie

Photo courtesy of Judith and Daniel Flax

Don’t we look like tenement dwellers from a century ago? If they had access to a JCPenney?

Of course, there’s still time to pull together a literary costume yourself — check out these fantastic ideas from BuzzFeed. (Eleanor & Park! *sob!*)

And then there’s this route:

roger with masquerade mask

Being Roger makes it literary by default!

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.



  1. Roger can just read a book and be Roger of Roger Is Reading a Book. Easy peasy!

  2. Katie Bircher Katie Bircher says:
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