This is Halloween History Part 2

Check out Shelby’s post from earlier this week for Part 1. 

Halloween didn’t become popular again until the middle of the nineteenth century when Irish and Scottish immigrants fleeing the Irish Potato Famine began to settle in America. With them came the legend of ‘Stingy Jack’ and the creation of the Jack-O-Lanterns. According to the story,

Stingy Jack invited the Devil to share a drink with him. As his name suggested,  Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for their drinks, so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack could pay for their drinks. The Devil agreed and once he did so, Jack decided to keep the money and placed it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the devil from changing to his original form.

He eventually freed the Devil, under two conditions: one that he would not bother Jack for one year, and two that should Jack die, the Devil would not claim his soul. The next year Jack tricked the Devil into climbing up into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While the Devil was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until Jack forced him to promise not to bother him for ten more years. Quickly after, Jack died and as the legend goes, God wouldn’t allow such a figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him, kept his word and didn’t claim Jack’s soul and didn’t allow Jack into hell either. Instead, he sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way.

Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since. In Ireland and Scotland, everyone had their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits roaming the earth. In England, large beets were used in place of turnips and potatoes. Quickly after, they soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, made perfect jack-o-lanterns.

The Scottish and Irish also came with their own tradition of wearing costumes and going house to house asking for food or money, the practice that led to what we now call trick-or-treat. Some young women even believed that they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.

By the late 1800’s, the move in America was to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. At the turn of the century,  Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate. These parties focused on festive games and costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything frightening out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious association by the beginning of the twentieth century.

In the ‘20s and ‘30s, Halloween had become a secular but community-centered holiday with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. After trouble with vandalism in the ‘20s and the ‘30s, Halloween quickly evolved into a holiday directed mainly for the young.

Now, Halloween is the second grossing commercial holiday in America, as Americans spend about $6 billion annually on Halloween candy. Adults and children alike dress up and attend parties, community trick-or-treating events, and much more.


This is Halloween History Part 1


The tradition of Halloween began roughly 2000 years ago in the regions of what is now the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Northern France by a group of people called the Celts. The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1, but on October 31, they celebrated the festival of Samhain. The Celts believed that the night before the New Year, the lines of the physical world and the spiritual world were blurred which made it easier for the dead to come back to earth as spirits. During Samhain, the Celts would dress up in animal heads, skins, masks, and other costumes to confuse and make themselves unrecognizable to the spirits returning to the earth.

Fast forward to 43 A.D., when the Romans were in control of the civilized world. The Roman festival of Feralia, which was celebrated in late October to honor the passing of their dead, and the festival honoring Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees, were combined with Samhain. It is believed that the tradition of bobbing for apples was created around this time, as Pomona’s sacred symbol was the apple.

On May 13, 609 A.D. Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to honor Christian martyrs, which established the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day. This holiday was later moved back to November 1 and went on to include all of the saints, changing the name to All Saints Day. On this day, the poor would go house to house, begging for food and money. People would give out Soul Cakes to the poor in return for a prayer for dead loved ones. This practice was eventually taken up by children, who started to dress up and play pranks on people who would not give them food or money, which is how trick-or-treating got its start.


In 1000 A.D., the Catholic church made November 2 All Souls Day to honor all of the dead. Since All Souls Day was often called All-Hallows, the night before was deemed All-Hallows Eve, which eventually morphed into Halloween. Some practices from Samhain still lingered, such as costumes, parades, and bonfires, but since the holiday was now church-sanctioned, pagan practices were often overlooked in celebration.

Centuries later in colonial America, Halloween was typically celebrated by the southern colonies by those mostly of Western European descent. Customs of different European ethnic groups intermingled with those of the Native Americans. The first few Halloweens celebrated on American soil were typically public events held to celebrate the harvest. Neighbors would share creative and imaginative tales of the dead and tell fortunes.

By the middle of the nineteenth-century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet widely celebrated. Irish and Scottish immigrants fleeing the potato famine settled in America and brought their deeply rooted traditions of Halloween with them…

For the rest of the history of Halloween, be sure to check out Ashton’s blog post, “This is Halloween History Part 2!” It will post later this week.

To learn more about Halloween, make sure you check out our Online Resources. Happy Halloween!

Veterans Day Storytime

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918: Armistice  was declared between the Allied nations and Germany, ending World War I. The first Armistice Day was celebrated in 1919 and became an annual observance on November 11th. In 1954, this official commemoration was changed to Veterans Day and is now a day to honor all of America’s veterans.

The Aurora Public Library District will be holding a Veterans Day Storytime to celebrate our veterans as well as the ongoing sacrifices made by our military members and their families. Please join us at the Aurora Public Library on Saturday, November 5th at 1:00 PM for stories, song and a craft. No reservations are required for this event; just come with your family and enjoy our time together!


You can learn more about the history of Veterans Day at this link provided by the Veterans Administration.

Last-Minute Bookish Halloween Costumes

Trying to figure out what to be for Halloween can be one of the most stressful things you’ll do this fall. Here are a few literary-inspired Halloween costumes that are bound to get you noticed by your fellow book-lovers.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


All you really need are some faded jeans, a plain t-shirt, and a black leather jacket. Some Converse high-tops or ankle boots would go well with the ensemble, too.  Oh, and don’t forget the comb and grease for your hair. You could always add a fake switchblade for some extra flair. Just remember to stay golden.

Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park

halloween-junie-b halloween-junie-b-3 halloween-junie-b-2

This is another super easy costume you could assemble to make the world’s favorite big mouth come alive. Junie B.’s signature look is a purple skirt and pink sweater (and don’t forget the giant bow!)., Honestly, as long as you dress like a kindergartner/first-grader, you’ll be good. If you’re going for Junie B.’s first-grade look, you can’t forget her purple glasses.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

halloween-camp-half-blood halloween-camp-jupiter

If you’ve read both or either one of these series by Rick Riordan, you’ll know that the basic ensemble for a Camp Half-Blood or Camp Jupiter character is either an orange or purple t-shirt with the camp logo on it. You can buy these shirts for really cheap or you could make your own. You can wear whatever pants and shoes you want, as long as you’ll be able to run from or fight monsters. Don’t forget your weapon of choice, whether Greek or Roman.

Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


For a Holden Caulfield-inspired ensemble, you’ll just need some sturdy pants, loafers, a winter coat, scarf, and, of course, the hunter’s cap. You could carry around a leather bag, too, to store your candy in. I don’t recommend taking up smoking, but you could carry around some candy cigarettes and talk about how phony everyone is.

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins


For Katniss’s classic look from The Hunger Games, you probably have most of the pieces  in your closet already. Start with a pair of dark pants, a dark jacket (or leather jacket if she hasn’t competed in the Games yet), and boots. And don’t forget her Mockingjay pin or her bow and arrows.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville


If dressing up really isn’t your thing, then you could always be ironic.

What is the best literary Halloween costume that you’ve ever seen? What are some other easy or DIY costumes from books that you can think of? I’m still trying to decide whether to go as Annabeth Chase or Junie B. Jones.

Horror Fiction

This is the perfect time of year for bonfires, hoodies, and ghost stories. With Halloween just around the corner, this is the best time of year to be scared out of your wits. For mature readers, here are some of the best names the Library has to offer in Horror Fiction.


Peter Straub is known for his likeable characters and how they confront difficult paranormal or supernatural situations. The atmosphere of his stories are dark, mysterious, and definitely creepy, filled with violence and gore. Some great titles by Straub are A Dark Matter, Mrs. God, and Lost Boy, Lost Girl, which are available in book format and the Indiana Digital Download Center.


Richard Matheson is best-known for a little novel called I Am Legend, which is about a vampire apocalypse. Matheson takes images and events from everyday life and sprinkles in some genuine terror. His writing is suspenseful and filled with haunting images that will come to life in your mind. Other terrifying titles include A Stir of Echoes and Hell House, which are both available through the Indiana Digital Download Center.


The atmospheres of many of Dean Koontz’s novels can be described as “nightmarish,” with enough horror and suspense to make you bite your nails down to the quick. Combining horror with some sci/fi elements, Midnight is a great place to start. Other creepy reads include Watchers and What the Night Knows.

horror-the-right-hand-of-evil John Saul’s novels are without a doubt the stuff of nightmares. If you’re into stories about demons, ghosts, and violence, then Saul is the right horror author for you. Start with The Devil’s Labyrinth. Other titles include In the Dark of the Night, The Homing, The Right Hand of Evil, and Nightshade. The Presence is another good choice that is available from the Indiana Digital Download Center.

horror-it And we can’t forget the Master of Horror, Stephen King himself (or his pseudonym Richard Bachman). Many of his petrifying titles have gone on to become classic scary movies, like It, The Shining, Pet Sematary, and The Stand, just to name a few. He’s known for conjuring up images from our darkest nightmares with plot twists and turns that you won’t be able to see coming. Some other notable titles include Needful Things, Misery, and The Mist. Once again, nearly anything you pick up by King is going to have some sense of psychological horror that will stick with you for years to come.

Do you know any other horror fiction titles you think we should have on our shelves? Stop in and let us know! In the meantime, I’ll be sleeping with the lights on.

An Alphabet of Books

What makes a great picture book? Is it the illustrations? Is it the rhythm of the words? Should it be funny? Should it teach us something? Yes, Yes, and Yes! Picture books can be soothing or rambunctious; they can be silly or sad. They can be for kids or for adults. The best part of a picture book is what happens when you share the book with someone else.

I am pleased to present my Alphabet of Books – one picture book for each letter of the alphabet. I limited myself to books that were currently on the shelf at the Aurora Public Library, so if you don’t see your favorite, it could have been checked out! Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments! In this list, you’ll find 2 books of poems, several award-winners and a book by a famous cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine. Click on the titles or the images to see more about each book.

all-the-world     All the World  by Liz Garton Scanlon

blueberries-for-sal     Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Just thinking of this book makes me say “Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk.”

creepy-carrots     Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

duck-rabbit     Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Which is it? A duck or a rabbit?

each-kindness     Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

the-firekeepers-son     The Firekeeper’s Son by Linda Sue Park

great-gracie-chase     The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant

happy-birthday-to-you     Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss

in-the-wild     In the Wild  by David Elliott

journey     Journey by Aaron Becker

knots-on-a-counting-rope    Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin, Jr.

look-out-jack     Look Out, Jack! The Giant is Back! by Tom Birdseye

many-moons     Many Moons by James Thurber

night-tree     Night Tree by Eve Bunting

oh-no     Oh, No! by Candace Fleming

purple-green-and-yellow   Purple, Green, and Yellow by Robert Munsch

quackers     Quackers by Liz Wong

red-sings-from-treetops     Red Sings From Treetops by Joyce Sidman

stella-louellas-runaway-book     Stella Louella’s Runaway Book by Lisa Campbell Ernst

the-tale-of-tricky-fox     The Tale of Tricky Fox by Jim Aylesworth

under-the-quilt-of-night     Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson

the-velveteen-rabbit     The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco

whoever-you-are   Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

dave-the-potter    Sorry!

There are no titles that begin with “X”, so you get an “X-tra” book, instead. Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill. This is a picture book biography that is shelved with our other juvenile biographies.

you-read-to-me     You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Mother Goose Tales to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman

zin-zin-zin     Zin! Zin! Zin!: a Violin by Lloyd Moss

Maybe this would be an activity you could try with your kids!



The Mackenzie’s/ McBride’s Series

Jennifer Ashley takes us into a world of intrigue with her Scottish Romance series, The Mackenzie’s and the McBride’s. She makes the families so relatable and intriguing that as they go through their lives filled with danger and love, it captures you and never releases you from its thrall.


The series follows the two families through generations as they find true love and happiness when they least expect it.

Book One:

It was whispered all through London Society that Ian Mackenzie was mad, that he’d spent his youth in an asylum, and was not to be trusted—especially with a lady. For the reputation of any woman caught in his presence was instantly ruined.
Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy. Despite his decadence and his intimidating intelligence, she could see that he needed help. Her help. Because suddenly the only thing that made sense to her was…The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

Book Two:

Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized London by leaving her husband, notorious artist Lord Mac Mackenzie, after only three turbulent years of marriage. But Mac has a few tricks to get the Lady back in his life, and more importantly, back into his bed.

Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage

Book Three:

A renowned rake, Cameron Mackenzie doesn’t care if Ainsley Douglas has a virtuous excuse for sneaking around his bedchamber. He only cares that she’s at his mercy. One kiss at a time, he plans to seduce her. But what starts out as a lusty diversion may break Cam’s own rules.

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron





Book Four:

Lady Eleanor Ramsay is the only one who knows the truth about Hart Mackenzie. Once his fiancee, she is the sole woman to whom he could ever pour out his heart.

Hart has it all–a dukedom, wealth, power, influence, whatever he desires. Every woman wants him–his seductive skills are legendary. But Hart has sacrificed much to keep his brothers safe, first from their brutal father, and then from the world. He’s also suffered loss–his wife, his infant son, and the woman he loved with all his heart though he realized it too late.

Now, Eleanor has reappeared on Hart’s doorstep, with scandalous nude photographs of Hart taken long ago. Intrigued by the challenge in her blue eyes–and aroused by her charming, no-nonsense determination–Hart wonders if his young love has come to ruin him . . . or save him.

The Duke’s Perfect Wife

Book Five:

Juliana St. John was raised to be very proper. After a long engagement, her wedding day dawns—only for Juliana to find herself jilted at the altar.

Fleeing the mocking crowd, she stumbles upon Elliot McBride, the tall, passionate Scot who was her first love. His teasing manner gives her an idea, and she asks Elliot to save her from an uncertain future—by marrying her…

After escaping brutal imprisonment, Elliot has returned to Scotland a vastly wealthy yet tormented man. Now Juliana has her hands full restoring his half-ruined manor in the Scottish Highlands and trying to repair the broken heart of the man some call irredeemably mad. Though beautiful and spirited, Juliana wonders if that will be enough to win a second chance at love.

The Seduction of Elliot McBride

Book Six:

Daniel Mackenzie lives up to the reputation of the scandalous Mackenzie family—he has wealth, looks, and talent, and women love him. When he meets Violet Bastien—one of the most famous spiritual mediums in England—he immediately knows two things: that Miss Bastien is a fraud, and that he’s wildly attracted to her.

Violet knows she can’t really contact the other side, but she’s excellent at reading people. She discerns quickly that Daniel is intelligent and dangerous to her reputation, but she also finds him generous, handsome, and outrageously wicked. But specters from Violet’s past threaten to destroy her, and she flees England, adopting yet another identity.

Daniel is determined to find the elusive Violet and pursue the passion he feels for her. And though Violet knows that her scandalous past will keep her from proper marriage, her attraction to Daniel is irresistible. It’s not until Daniel is the only one she can turn to that he proves he believes in something more than cold facts. He believes in love.

The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie

Book Seven:

Scottish barrister Sinclair McBride can face the most sinister criminals in London–but the widower’s two unruly children are a different matter. Little Caitlin and Andrew go through a governess a week, sending the ladies fleeing in tears. There is, however, one woman in town who can hold her own.

Roberta “Bertie” Frasier enters Sinclair’s life by stealing his watch–and then stealing a kiss. Intrigued by the handsome highlander, Bertie winds up saving his children from a dangerous situation and returning them to their father. Impressed with how they listen to her, Sinclair asks the lively beauty to be their governess, never guessing that the unconventional lady will teach him a lesson or two in love.

Book Eight:

1745, Scotland: The youngest son of the scandalous Mackenzie family, Malcolm is considered too wild to tame…until he meets a woman who is too unattainable to resist.

Lady Mary Lennox is English, her father highly loyal to the king, and promised to another Englishman. But despite it being forbidden to speak to Malcolm, Lady Mary is fascinated by the Scotsman, and stolen moments together lead to a passion greater than she’d ever dreamed of finding.

When fighting breaks out between the Highlanders and the King’s army, their plans to elope are thwarted, and it will take all of Malcolm’s daring as a Scottish warrior to survive the battle and steal a wife out from under the noses of the English.

Books Nine and Ten will be coming out next year.

Book Nine:

Alec Mackenzie’s Art of Seduction

Alec Mackenzie earns a living in exile as an art instructor. An Englishwoman recently jilted and licking her wounds in Paris, decides to take drawing lessons. Alec sees she needs to expand her skills in painting the human figure, especially the male.

The book is set to be released January 2017.

Book Ten:

The Devilish Lord Will

The book is set to be released sometime in 2017.

The Aurora Public Library has purchased the first five books on the Indiana Digital Library and the sixth book is a paperback at the Aurora Public Library. Links to check the books out are linked below the pictures.




Making Friends at Storytime

Our Fall Storytimes are off to a great start! We began on October 4th and 5th with a theme of Friends. Preschoolers are at that age when they are really developing relationships with children outside of their immediate family circle. This process sometimes happens very smoothly, but can also hit a few rough bumps as children experience the give-and-take of relationships. Library Programs are a great opportunity for your child to gain social skills as we read, play and sing together. (It can also be a great way for caregivers to make a new friend or two!) Sharing books with your child also opens the door for discussions about friendship, and can reinforce the things you say about how to make friends and how to be a good friend.

a-friend-like-you    being-friends

little-elliot-big-family    my-new-friend-is-so-fun


For more information about the benefits and pitfalls of this stage of your child’s development, you might want to read through this information published by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Social Development of Preschoolers

Storytimes for ages 3-6 are held on Tuesday at 11 AM at the Dillsboro Public Library and on Wednesdays at both 11 AM and 1 PM at the Aurora Public Library. You can sign up online at  or call the library to register your child.

Ghosts and Witches Book Display


Are you looking for that perfect spooky read for Halloween? Stop in and see our Ghosts and Witches display at the Aurora Public Library! The display includes fiction titles all about ghosts and witches. And don’t forget to check out the Indiana Digital Download Center, too, for even more haunting reads!

“Witch” book will you pick?

Dearborn County Voting Information 2016

For those citizens who are unsure as to what to do to become a registered voter, the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System explains the ins and outs of the voting process, including what must take place before Election Day. In order to qualify to vote in the state of Indiana, you must:


A.) Be at least 18 years of age,

B.) Be U.S. citizen and a resident of Indiana,

C.) Have resided in your county for at least 30 days prior to the election, and

D.) Not be currently imprisoned.

You can register to vote at any time, however, if you plan on voting in this November’s election, you must register at least 29 days before Election Day. To register to vote, there are a couple different ways to go about it. You could fill out the Indiana Voter Registration Form on the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System website and mail it in to your county’s voter registration office or the Indiana Election Division. Or you can visit your local BMV and apply in person.

After you have registered to vote, you must find the location of your polling place. Your polling place is determined by your address and which township you live in. If you are unsure, you can type in your information on the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System website to determine your polling place. In Indiana, you must bring a valid, government-issued form of photo identification — like a driver’s license or state ID card — with you to the polls.

If any of your personal information has changed — such your name or address — since the last election, you must update that information at least 29 days before Election Day. If you update your registration information online, make sure you have your driver’s license or state ID card handy to confirm your identity.

November 8, 2016 is Election Day and polls are open from 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. If you are unable to make it to your polling place during those hours, you can vote by absentee ballot. You can apply to vote absentee either in person or by mail by filling out the absentee ballot application. Applications must be mailed or faxed at least 8 days prior to Election Day. If you are eligible to vote absentee, you can vote absentee-in-person at your county clerk’s office — located in the courthouse — or you can vote absentee-by-mail and mail in your vote. Your absentee vote must be received by the county clerk’s office by noon of the day prior to Election Day (November 7). For more information about absentee voting, please visit Indiana’s official website.