The Books for Treats Project

| October 12, 2011 | 8 Comments

As Halloween gets closer and closer, we spend lots of time at our house digging through old boxes of this and that, putting together bits and bobs and working on creating some fantastic costumes to head out on our trick-or-treat adventures in. When I was a kid, this was the ultimate of annual activities and our kids love it just the same so we’ve always done Halloween pretty big in our house. Halloween is pretty much the coolest holiday ever.

But, over the years, as much fun as going house to house showing off our get-ups and collecting candy can be, giving out a boat load of sugar has always made me wonder if there is something fun to hand out at the door that won’t break the bank and gets kids away from the sugar-fest.

I’d never found something that made sense until I connected professionally with the Green Halloween network and discovered a fantastic community project that had been going on annually in the United States for 10 years – check them out at This cool event that brought families and businesses and organizations together was all about taking gently-used books for kids ages 0-12 and giving them out to trick-or-treaters instead of candy.

Welcome to Books for Treats.


OBE, along with a creative crew of community partners, is inviting local residents, families, schools, businesses and organizations to trade the candy of the sugary kind for a bit of brain candy in the form of giving out gently used books this year.

It’s easy to do. Go through your bookshelves and lighten their load, drop by local second hand shops and thrift stores to pick up some stacks. Then, we’ve made it even easier with a downloadable how-to kit that gives you all the details on how to set up and sort the books to give out at your door this Halloween. We’ve even got posters and bookmarks for you to use too. Did you know that for the same amount of money the average person spends on candy ($15) you can get 20-30 used books from a local thrift store?

While we encourage you to give out books at your homes this year, our community partners have gotten into the spirit as well and will be hosting Books For Treats events across the Comox Valley on Halloween.

- The Cumberland Museum is the place to visit this Halloween to commune with community spirits and promote the tradition of great storytelling! On Monday, Oct. 31 from 2-6 p.m., the museum will open up its doors for a “Super Spooky Halloween Open House”. The haunted coal mine will thrill those over 10 while the little monsters have fun upstairs with creepy crafts and activities. Their focus this year is storytelling and collaboration with  Books For Treats including making mini books or “passports to Creepy Cumberland”. The passport will lead participants in a tour of local sites and businesses where they can collect a story, stamp or sticker while learning about Cumberland’s favorite spots and spooks. Cumberland businesses including Polka Dot Pants! Consignment Boutique will give out books as well.

- 4R’s Education Centre, Comox Valley Literacy Now, and the Courtenay library will be “treating” childrens’ books at the Courtenay Library between 4 and 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31. Each family will receive a book until all the books have been given out. Waichay Friendship Centre has donated dozens of books for this fun event.

The Courtenay library and 4R’s Education Centre will be accepting gently used childrens’ books (baby through to Grade 6 level) for this event. Baby and toddler books are especially needed. Please bring your books either to the Courtenay library (300 6th Street, Courtenay) during library hours OR to 4R’s Education Centre (581 McPhee Avenue, Courtenay) between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m. weekdays.

- The Black Creek Community Association will be giving out books this year as part of its Halloween celebration.

- Brooklyn Elementary StrongStart will also be giving out books instead of candy this year as part of its Halloween celebrations.

Every time you give out a book instead of candy you are helping to reduce the risk of childhood diabetes and obesity. You are also giving kids a great way to be creative, learn a love of stories and feed their brains. Help kids become Monster readers this year and take part in this fun community initiative.

Get more information and download the Books For Treats How-To PDF HERE.

Books For Treats is brought to you by Our Big Earth Media Co. in partnership with Comox Valley Literacy Now, the Vancouver Island Regional Libraries, Cumberland Museum, Waichay Friendship Centre, 4 R’s Education Centre, Black Creek Community Association, Comox Valley School District 71 StrongStart Programs, Polka Dot Pants! Consignment Boutique and other great community-minded organizations.

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About the Author ()

Robin Rivers is the Project Development Director for Vancouver-based Mherge Media Group. Often can be found leaping tall buildings with the help of great friends. Predisposed to odd hats and the color orange. In love with imagination, her kids and that crazy guy who married her.

Comments (8)

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  1. Kathy says:

    We’re toooootally coming to your house trick or treating this year!

  2. This is a great initiative for helping increase the fitness of our youth, increase their reading level, and protecting the environment through the recycling of previously read books. Our used bookstore fully supports this effort, and will give a discount to anyone needing to buy some extra books to give out (which was mentioned here as one option) if they proclaim “OUR BIG EARTH” during their purchase. Thanks Robin!

  3. I’m so glad you’re promoting the Books For Treats project which began in San José, CA in 2001. We love that other communities are taking on this fun way to “feed kids’ minds, not their cavities.”

    For those wanting more info on how to give out books to their trick-or-treaters, download our fee kit at

    Rebecca Morgan, Founder, Books For Treats

  4. Robin Rivers says:

    Thank you so much Rebecca. Your project is amazing and we are excited to be able to bring it to folks on Vancouver Island this year.

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