It’s Hocus Pocus Time

 

It’s October! You know what that means? It’s Halloween! Time to get spooky! Which in turn means, it’s Hocus Pocus time!

The Aurora Public Library District invites you to join us in a spooky viewing of the beloved Halloween classic: Hocus Pocus! This movie event is for all ages and will take place on October 29th, 2019 at 6pm. There will be some Halloween-themed goody bags, popcorn, and drinks!

If we don’t see you here…we’ll put a spell on you!!

 

 

Spook-tacular Titles for Halloween

It’s getting spookier and spookier as Halloween draws closer, from classic scary movies and ghost hunting shows clogging up the TV, to orange-and-black-packaged candy going on sale, to the decorations and costume ideas beginning to crowd your social media feeds. What better way is there to get you in the mood for Halloween than to check out some books about real-life haunted houses and ghost stories?

Check out these spook-tacular titles:

Haunted Indiana by Mark Marimen

Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard

Eerie Haunted Places by Molly Kolpin

Haunted Hotels Around the World by Megan Cooley Peterson

Grave’s End: A True Ghost Story by Elaine Mercado

Timeless Towns and Haunted Places by J.R. Humphreys

Hoosier Folk Legends by Ronald L. Baker

Haunts: Five Hair-Raising Tales by Angela Shelf Medearis

Haunting Urban Legends by Megan Cooley Peterson

Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ghosts and Hauntings by Tom Ogden 

Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators by Tea Krulos

When Ghosts Speak: Understanding the World of Earthbound Spirits by Mary Ann Winkowski

Don’t forget to check out OverDrive for even more creepy titles. And if you’d rather watch a scary movie, the Aurora Public Library District has got you covered there, too! Still can’t get enough? Ask for recommendations for horror fiction. There are several staff members on hand who would love to point you in the right direction!

Happy Reading!

Nonfiction: True Crime

Halloween is not the only time to put you in the mood to be scared with terrifying stories and creepy movies. If chilling stories are for you, then an overlooked section of nonfiction would be the true crime section, beginning with the call number 364. Section 364 is the true crime section, where you can read real stories and accounts of actual crimes and people, like unsolved murder mysteries, information on different serial killers, and more. Not only will you be scared witless, you’ll learn a little something along the way as well.

I believe true crime stories like the ones housed throughout the Aurora Public Library District continue to fascinate us because we want to understand the psychology of those who are different, especially those who are accused or convicted of horrendous crimes. We want to see what makes them so different from us “normal” people when we all look “normal” on the outside– at least, that’s why I find them so fascinating. What makes these accounts all the more terrifying is the fact that they actually did happen and could very well happen to anyone today.

A few of the titles you’ll find on the shelves are:

The 10 Worst Serial Killers by Victor McQueen

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

Cellar of Horror by Ken Englade

Cruel Sacrifice by Aphrodite Jones

The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy by Elizabeth Kendall

Dead by Sunset: Perfect Husband, Perfect Killer? by Ann Rule

Along with the physical copies of true crime stories housed at the Aurora and Dillsboro branches, we also have several digital copies of various true crime stories available from the Indiana Digital Download Center. Stop by one of the branches to browse the shelves or you can always browse our virtual shelves online.

Happy Reading!

Scary Stories for Halloween

It’s the spookiest time of year again! What better way to spend these long fall nights than to be scared senseless (or just a little spooked) than by reading creepy stories to get you in the mood for Halloween?

The Aurora Public Library District has lots of Halloween picture, ABC, and Easy chapter books for your little ones. These books are easy to locate because they are shelved according to their titles rather than by the author’s last name, which is how the rest of fiction is shelved throughout the District. So if you’re looking for books about Halloween, pumpkins, ghosts, bats, witches, etc., start by looking for these books on the shelves by subject. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, we can search our catalog by subject and pull up more titles for you. Let us help you find that perfect title with just the right amount of scary for your little ones!

For our older elementary age readers, we have plenty of eerie books to get you in the mood for Halloween, like the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, or Darren Shan’s various series. You can check out The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, Tales for the Midnight Hour: Stories of Horror by J.B. Stamper, The Scary Story Reader, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, The Doll Bones by Holly Black, Thornhill by Pam Smy, and more! We’ll find a story with just the right amount of creepy just for you!

For our teen and young adult readers, there are many chilling series, like the Thirst series by Christopher Pike, The Mediator series by Meg Cabot, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs and more. There are standalone titles like Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten, The Omen by David Seltzer,  Teeth: Vampire Tales by Cassandra Clare, or anything by Joe Hill or Jonathan Maberry. You can check out The Walking Dead series in our graphic novels section, too, if you want a visual of the gory details on the page.

There are plenty of horror stories for adults, too, whether you’re looking for classic or contemporary reads. You can check out Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice, or The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. You can also read pretty much anything by Stephen King, John Saul, Heather GrahamPeter Straub, Laurell K. Hamilton, Dean Koontz, or Richard Bachman. Other standalone titles are Obedience by Will Lavender, Where Are The Children by Mary Higgins Clark, and The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker.

As always, feel free to peruse the Indiana Digital Download Center for more spooky titles or ask one of us for help.

Happy Reading!

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

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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.

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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!

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Ghosts and Witches Book Display

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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?