Making The Case For Handing Out Comic Books Instead Of Candy This Halloween

Halloween has changed a lot over the years; costumes are now shoddily made to higher safety standards, kids now tend to trick-or-treat in the daytime, and people get weirder about it every year. But there’s one change we’d like to propose in addition to, or even instead of, having some candy: A big longbox of comics for kids to read. Why?

It’s Cost Effective

Old comics, especially old comics in just OK condition, are dirt cheap. If you have a local comics shop or an online distributor you buy comics from, you are somebody they love to hear from: A person who wants to help them clear out back inventory. I recommend calling ahead and letting them know what you’re looking for. You’ll especially get a deal if you make it clear you’re not looking for collectibles, just stuff in a condition you can give away. Kids don’t care if the cover’s got a crease in it, and your local comics shop gets some more space on the shelves.

The Kids Who Can’t Have Candy Get Something

If kids have allergies, diabetes, or something else that precludes them from eating candy, having something else to give them really brightens their day. I actually started doing this by accident two years ago, when a kid with a wheat allergy knocked on my door and I found an issue of Adventure Time lying around the house to give to him. It’s something they can enjoy right away, and it’s a treat.

It’s A Relief For Paranoid Parents

Everything you have ever read about tainted candy or razor blades in apples is pretty much a big old load. But if you’re a parent, or you’ve even only met one, you know precisely how much anxiety they feel over pretty much everything. So if you’re handing out comics, they know there’s not anything poisonous in them. Also, if there are any buzzkill parents in your neighborhood, and you probably know one, it’s something any kid can enjoy and they can’t object to.

It Gets Kids Reading, And Reading Comics

It’s a little surprising how many young kids will find comic books more engaging than even picture books. I’ve run into parents around the neighborhood a few weeks after I’ve handed out comics, and they tend to tell me the kids read the comics they took to tatters and want to read more of them, or just read more in general. Be prepared to send them to your local shop.

I’d Like To Do This! What Comics Should I Get, And How Many Should I Buy?

I’ve found that the most popular and successful comics to give out are the ones based on stuff the kids and their parents already know. IDW Publishing and Boom! Studios, through their KaBoom! imprint, have a lot of modern franchises and cartoons on lock; going through their back issues will net you dozens of kid-friendly comics. Similarly, DC has been pretty good about adapting their cartoon series to comics, so you’ve got a lot of options there, and you can never go wrong with straight Archie.

If you want to dig into the back issues, where you can find books for fifty cents a pop fairly easily, again, look for franchises like G.I. Joe and Transformers. Another good place to look are for reprints of Silver Age comics. Modern comics are generally OK for older kids, but I’d look carefully at ratings systems and covers. For superhero books, stick to the guys who have a movie out. Don’t worry about issue order: Kids will just make up what happened before and what happened next.

As for how many to buy, a good rule of thumb is thirty to fifty assorted comics depending on how busy the neighborhood is. I tend to budget a little high because if it’s a crappy night for candy, kids will take what they can get, and the word on who has the good stuff spreads fast. So, the final step is simple: Prepare for a busy night.