I’ve been giving away comics on Halloween for almost 20 years now. It started when I had a job designing the new magazine distribution software at the Aramark Book & Magazine Distribution Division in 1995 and they would let us take a bunch of comics home around Halloween. After I left that job I would haunt quarter bins during the year and get kid-friendly comics on the cheap and hand those out on Halloween. One year I stumbled on a dealer who had purchased a huge mass of comics from another shop going out of business and was selling long boxes for $20. I stocked up on a bunch of comics with the express purpose of giving them away.
Let me stress that “kid friendly” part above again. Know what you’re giving away. Personally I don’t want irate parents knocking on my door for giving out some comic with violent/sexual content, and you can’t rely on just being able to give away super-hero books because there is plenty of content in current mainstream Marvel/DC that parents might object to when given to little kids. That said, if you can find cheap Marvel/DC from the 1980s and before, they’re generally OK for kids. I try to have 2 pile of comics: “little kids” and “older pre-teen/teen”
Another thing I learned is to not put children in the mental dilemma of having to choose either candy OR a comic. I give 1 comic and 1 piece of candy to each kid. My house became known as “the house that gives away comics”. By the middle of the evening as word gets out, kids will ring the doorbell, yell “Tick or TREAT!” and then say “Is this the house with the comics?”
Making this easier is Diamond Comics, who has been selling packs of mini comics (like the ones pictured above) for several years. I’ve been picking up a couple of these packs each year they have been offered and they supplement the comics I hand out.
Now, for the 3rd year, we have Halloween ComicFest, a great fall-time counterpart to Free Comic Book Day that occurs the Saturday before Halloween. Another great opportunity to gather at local shops that take advantage of this event to host sales, costume contests, and other comics community building activities.
Diamond Comic Distributors announces a celebration of comics, comic shops, and pop-culture in October with the third annual Halloween ComicFest (HCF) event! Communities are encouraged to check out their local comic shop and get free comics while also participating in shop’s special Halloween events such as costume contests, sales, character appearances and more on Saturday, October 25th, 2014!
During Halloween ComicFest, adults and kids can go into a local participating comic shop and get free Halloween and horror themed comics and mini-comics published specifically for Halloween ComicFest. This year there are 19 titles available to choose from that are great for kids and adults with twelve full-sized comics and seven mini-comics. Titles for this year include: DC’s Scooby Doo Team-Up with Batman #1, Marvel’s Secret Wars #1, Afterlife with Archie #1, My Little Pony, Hero Cats, Rachel Rising and other haunting and fun tales.
Designed to celebrate comic shops as unique community businesses, and reach new customers, Halloween ComicFest helps retailers and the entire industry springboard into the end of the year holiday selling season. Comic fans are encouraged to check out www.halloweencomicfest.com over the coming weeks for more information on the event and local retailer activities.
I’m going to be hitting up my local shop on October 25th, there are several comics for an older audience that I have my eye on. The the following Friday there will be comics handed out at the Bretall household yet again…
The first one is free kid! I like introducing a new generation of kids to comics. Join me in spreading the word and give away comics on Halloween this year!
Bob Bretall: firstname.lastname@example.org
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