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Celebrate Booktober

Posted by Kate Seat on 9/1/14 4:30 AM
Topics: bookstore events

After a few months of being back at school, it’s time to give your students a break and have some fun! In honor of Booktober, we’ve brainstormed some activities inspired by their favorite fictional characters. From a literary costume competiton to a fictitious feast, these events are guaranteed to get students engaged and into your store, as well as prompt some serious social media interaction. And with the recent trend where absolutely every book ever is turned into a film, even the less-than-literary can still get into the spirit.

Show some character with a literary costume competition

Fall is the perfect time of year for a costume contest! From literal interpretations to bookish puns, the options are endless.
  • Choose a date: Students will more than likely be dressing up for an event or two during the week of Halloween, so you can either pick a date during that week and coincide with other campus events, or choose to have your event earlier in the month.
  • Set the rules: Specify categories like time period or genre or just leave it open ended and see what happens. If you need a little inspiration, we’ve created a Pinterest board specifically for Booktober.
  • Promote the event: Use the free marketing materials we’ve provided to generate some excitement and spread the word. Hang up posters around campus and get the conversation going on Facebook and Twitter — we’ve come up with a few social media prompts to get you started.
  • Pick some prizes: Prizes could include coffee mugs, comfy dorm accessories (for curling up with a great book), store gift certificates or journals. Whatever you choose for prizes, make sure that you reward everyone who participates, either with an additional discount or some festive party favors. (Like the customizable bookmark we’ve designed especially for the occasion.)
  • Select a winner: Choose a winner for each category, either by audience acclaim or staff members’ votes, and award the lucky winners! Don't forget to take plenty of pictures to share on social media.
Download: “Booktober” customizable Facebook cover photo
Download the cover photo
Download Cover Photo

Based on the Book: dinner and a movie

There are so many iconic examples of food in popular novels, it’d be tough not to come up with something delicious! And what better way to enjoy these treats than by simultaneously screening the movie inspired by the book that inspired them? Whew! That was a mouthful.

  • Set a date: Choose an afternoon or evening when you can expect a good turnout.
  • Pick a Flick: Decide what movie (or movies) you’ll be featuring, and what food you’ll be serving. Enlist the help of staff members in designing your menu, and plan how you’ll come up with the snacks.
  • Choose a menu: From simple (and potentially completely store-bought) apple pie and ice cream (“On the Road”) to an adventurous interpretation of Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice from “Harry Potter,” you can easily design a menu to fit any party. Here are few suggestions for menu items from books that also have movie adaptations:

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory: Wonka candy is readily available at most grocery or convenience stores. While the Everlasting Gobstoppers available commercially may not truly be everlasting, they might be easier to find than Wonka Bars. Either way, your students should be pretty receptive to any free candy you provide and should certainly be familiar with one of the two film adaptations.

The Fault in Our Stars: It’s tough to read (or watch) this one without a box of tissues, but there’s almost as much food consumption as tear-jerking moments. Among the many things eaten by the characters are peanut butter and jelly, lemonade, chicken enchiladas, cheese and chocolate chip cookies.

Practical Magic: While the movie may have highlighted midnight margaritas and chocolate brownies, the book has a multitude of other culinary options including icebox cake, pink lemonade, banana splits and apple tarts.

Divergent: Some easy-to-eat options from this popular YA title include hamburgers, chicken and chocolate cake. Alternatively, take a page from the book, and offer selections based on the five factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Amity and Candor.

The Great Gatsby: As lavish as can be, Jay Gatsby’s famous parties are terrific groundwork for any gathering. Put your own spin on fried chicken, (non-alcoholic) mint juleps and more; you’ll find plenty in these pages to inspire a memorable menu.

Download: “Based on the Book” dinner and a movie poster
 Download: “Based on the Book” poster
Download the Poster
  • Select a spot: Choose an area to screen your movie. Make sure it’ll be comfortable and undisturbed for at least a few hours.
  • Don’t forget to merchandise: Whichever movie you choose, set up a display or end cap with items that correlate. If your store sells fiction, copies of the book (and DVDs or Blu-ray if you have a multimedia section) would be a natural fit. Otherwise, use your imagination! For example, if the characters write letters or in a diary, display some nice stationary or journals, along with a good selection of pens. If you’re screening any of the “Harry Potter” movies, you could set up a selection of clothing items in the house colors. Be creative, and you’ll be sure to snag some extra sales!

Connect with students through social media

People can get pretty passionate when it comes to film adaptations of their favorite books. Find out how your students feel and get the discussion going with these prompts in the days leading up to your event. Post one a day on Facebook or Twitter — or both!

Here are a few suggestions to spark some interaction:

  • Which version is better, book(s) or movie(s):

The Hunger Games

The Fault in Our Stars

The Maze Runner

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Scott Pilgrim


The Book Thief

Gone Girl

The Giver

  • These made the list of best film adaptations according to Total Film — what do you think?
    • The Road
    • Silence of the Lambs
    • Jurassic Park
    • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Favorite fictional character? Which actor should play them?
  • Worst casting decision? Actor and Character or Film #MiscastBooksSchoolName
Wrap it all up:  Assess your success — did you have a good turnout? Make notes for what you would change if you did something similar in the future, and don’t forget to post pictures on your social media accounts!

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