Thanksgiving shmanksgiving, Christmas shmistmas, Halloween has ‘em beat. It’s aspirational, self-reflective, magical, and nonjudgmental—just try wearing your Jedi knight or Gryffindor house robes on another holiday, and you’ll see what I mean. But while bed-sheet ghosts, black magic, and the public display of terrible pun costumes is widely acceptable on October 31, it’s become a near-unbreakable taboo to give out anything other than candy on Halloween (just ask the poor souls who try to dump a fistful of pennies into trick or treaters’ hands. Their pumpkins will not survive the night.) Nevertheless, I like to imagine what these 13 authors might provide, after the fun-size Snickers supply runs dry. Here are my bets:
1. Beatrix Potter: Vegetables (from her neighbor’s garden).
2. Louisa May Alcott: Aspirin tablets, to fight consumptive fevers (should any children fall ill from the nighttime festivities)
3. Winston Churchill: Cigars for boys, a copy of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech for girls (his wife delivered it, and little girls shouldn’t smoke cigars).
4. Upton Sinclair: Cans of baby corn (for kids and vegetarians).
5. Dr. Seuss: Fake marzipan animals (real marzipan, fake animals).
6. R.L. Stine: Ice cubes (to give you Goosebumps, duh).
7. William S. Burroughs: Mescaline cupcakes.
8. J.K. Rowling: A copy of a brand-new hardcover book by an author nobody’s ever heard of, which she definitely didn’t write, where’d you hear that?
9. Denis Diderot: He’d ask trick-or-treaters for more words for his Encyclopedia, and give delighted, courteous “thank yous” in response
10. Madeline L’Engle: The tesseract-mini—good for one jaunt to a faraway point in the universe.
12. George R.R. Martin: A warm, unfertilized ostrich egg. Or is it a…dragon’s egg? Spend a night with it in a bonfire to find out!
What would your favorite author give out on Halloween?