Happy Halloween… a bit late.

When I first started this job nearly five years ago, I didn’t really care about Halloween. The reasons for that are varied, but the truth is, I would have never considered doing any sort of Halloween program back then.

So back in July, when I was planning for the fall, I surprised myself when I realized I really wanted to do one! A little creepy, a little cheesy… it would be a blast. I came up with the name “Nightmare on Mahoning Ave” because our library is, well, on Mahoning Ave, & got to planning. I made most of the decorations myself (it’s amazing what you can do with cardboard, a razorblade, paint, & glitter! I made two haunted houses, a chandelier, the pumpkins & gravestones, & the welcome signs) & got the rest quite cheaply from Oriental Trading. Although the photographs were taken with the lights on, we lit up the room through battery-operated candles only – ’twas perfectly spooky.

So here’s what we did:
» First & foremost, I knew I wanted to show them the old Legend of Sleepy Hollow cartoon narrated by Bing Crosby, so I mixed that with a few fun videos: Hoobastank did a hilarious cover & video of the Ghostbusters theme, so I showed that, along with a funny Muppets short I found, This is Halloween from Nightmare before Christmas, the Night on Bald Mountain sequence – stuff like that. I had about an hour’s worth of material, & made it the main event.

» Horror movie trivia! I let them work in teams to solve these. I also did the classic “guess the body parts” game, only as a self-guided station, sans the poem.

» For crafts, I had glow-in-the-dark beads & tiny skull beads sitting out with string & keychain bits, as well a pre-painted mini gravestones waiting to be decorated with their chosen epitaph. I also got some white make-up in case anyone wanted to quickly become a zombie, & use our accu-cut machine to cut out plain white masks in the event someone needed one.

» Prizes were mostly book-related; I’ve found that the dollar spot at Target tends to have holiday-themed paperback classics for a dollar, so I grabbed some of those.

» As for food, I went with caramel apples (ice cream caramel from GFS + apples was a big, but fun, sticky mess!) with DIY sprinkles & Oreo bits, as well as dirt pudding parfaits & green lemonade.

Because I’m in a pretty impoverished area, I really want all-out for this one. As with the Love STINKS Chocolate Fest, I’ve a feeling we’ll be turning this into an annual event. As always, if you have any questions, please ask!

Further reading:
» Nightmare on Mahoning Ave board on Pinterest.
» Martha Stewart’s Halloween goodies

Books with Beat!

Teen Read Week is upon us! What are you up to this year? I’m running a month-long giveaway disguised as a survey of their music tastes. Music is probably the most challenging to figure out; you can’t just judge what’s on the radio any more. A good part of my “usual” teens just keep bouncing from Japanese star to Korean teeny-bopper week to week, & we can’t get a lot of that music in our library. In return for filling out a three question survey (favorite musician, favorite book, favorite part of the library), I’ve giving away a prize pack of books & other various stuff I’ve always got lying around.

As part of our usual “Teens on Tuesday” programming, I’m doing our own version of Silent Library.

Here are my notes on what I’m planning to do:

Silent Library

I’ll hand out cards; whoever gets the skull & crossbones must complete the challenge! You can only win a prize when you complete the challenge without laughing. NO ONE is allowed to make a lot of noise (silent laughter!), if you laugh too loud, you’ll forfeit your chance to win!

Round 1: Eat an oreo without your hands
Round 2: Wrap someone in toilet paper, using the whole roll, in two minutes
Round 3: Write your full name with your feet as legibly as possible within 90 seconds
Round 4: 3 pieces of bubble gum; blow five bubbles within 60 seconds
Round 5: Rattle Race: attach a shaker to your knee; make it to the finish line without making a noise. If noise is made, start again. Everyone who finishes within 2 minutes wins!
Round 6: Eat 5 brussels sprouts, one at a time, within 2 minutes

Final Round: Lifesaver Relay!
Includes everyone, divided into two teams
Everyone sit in a row at the table, with teams on either side. Put a toothpick in between your teeth. The first person, without using their hands, picks up a lifesaver with the toothpick. Once they get it, the next person does the same thing. First team to finish wins the prize!

For every challenge they complete, they’ll win a small prize (pencil, candy, etc). Nothing too bizarre, gross, or painful, but it ought to be fun!