Here’s an idea for you this Halloween season :)
Give children *books* during trick or treating instead of candy!
An initiative started by BooksForTreats.org because “books feed children’s minds, while candy only feeds their cavities”, haha… All the dentists and librarians in the house stand up!
Here’s the origin of it:
Books For Treats founder Rebecca Morgan began offering books to her ghouls and goblins at her home in Willow Glen (San Jose, CA) in 1995. She was frustrated at candy being the primary option for Halloween treats. She wanted an inexpensive treat the kids would like. She knew she could opt for small toys, but she wanted something that would make a difference to the kids and last more than a few days.
At her local library book sale Rebecca saw the boxes of gently read children’s books for about what she was spending on candy. Aha!… She bought dozens of books covering toddlers to sixth grade, sorted them by grade level and let her trick-or-treaters choose from among the age-appropriate books…
After 6 years, she saw the response was so overwhelmingly positive, Morgan decided to take the concept beyond her home and to the community. She started Books For Treats in 2001 to begin to turn the tide from problematic candy to a treat…
This movement has spread from her San José community to many others around the US and Canada. Books For Treats was recently given non-profit status so tax-deductible donations can now be used to help spread the word and assist other communities in starting a Books For Treats event.
Pretty brilliant, right? Kids LOVE reading books, and even if you get an eye roll or two it’s not like it’s a huge deal missing out on a couple pieces of candy when you’re getting 800 others that night! Haha…
So yeah – I’m going to give it a try this year!! Though maybe start out smaller and go for 1/2 candy, 1/2 books and let them decide? And then go full throttle *next year* if it works out nicely?
This would give you a lot more time too to *find* the books, instead of having to rush around last minute scrambling for deals… I reckon it’ll cost a little more than you’d normally pony up grabbing some candy, but if you know where to look it doesn’t have to be too much more.
Here are a few places you could easily score them on the cheap:
- Your book shelves (FREE!)
- Your friends’ book shelves! (Everyone has books they can get rid of!)
- Thrift stores ($0.50-$2.00/ea usually)
- Yard sales (usually $0.25-$0.50/piece)
- Library sales
- Scholastic ($1.00 books – see note in the comments from Rebecca)
- Bulk places (<— need to research this one still… If you can find a book you think *ALL KIDS* will love, maybe you could just order like 50 or 100 of them in one sitting and call it a day?)
Lots of places you can score gently used books if you pay attention enough throughout the year…
Oh – and yeah, Books For Treats recommends gently used books over new ones since it’s better for our planet. Though really ANY great books would do. Even personal finance ones – *gasp*! Maybe like Three Cups as we mentioned earlier on the blog, or Money A to Z* from financial rock star and podcaster Scott Alan Turner? Who then donates 100% of the proceeds to various children’s charities thereby *doubling* the wins? :)
Lots of ideas, but first we give it a shot and see what happens!! Two full weeks to start searching and building up that stockpile – I’ll let you know how it goes!
Here’s more from Books For Treats if you’re interested in participating too… And I’m not getting paid to share any of this btw, just a new fan and lover of theirs!
- How to give books to your trick-or-treaters
- How to hold a Books For Treats event in your community
- How to become a sponsor of Books For Treats
Who’s with me??
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!