Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ghosts, Ghouls, Vampires and Witches. Oh My!

Do you love Halloween? Or do you find it daunting, dastardly, dangerous or downright demented? How about something in between? I guess I'm one of those in-between people because I love the pumpkins, candy, costumes and little kids trick-or-treating - notice I said little kids, not six-foot-tall teens banging on the door at 10 PM. I don't like the gory and gruesome side of the decorations or the mean spirited "tricks" of the holiday.

We live across the street from the "Haunted Yard" in Des Plaines. Every October the neighbors watch as the haunted yard expands to include a dining table of skeletons, a horse-drawn hearse, tombstones, coffins, the bride and groom from Beetlejuice, ghosts, witches and their cauldron, and a bloody selection of fake (at least we hope they're fake) body parts. Fog machines, torches, eerie music, motion sensitive devices, and live monsters are all in place on Halloween night. Last year we had over 300 kids stop by and yell "trick-or-treat" on their way over to the big display. Usually everyone behaves and has a super scary time, but I am always really glad once November 1st rolls around.

Just like the holiday, books related to monsters, ghosts and vampires, and Halloween in general are either terrifying and gory, or just slightly scary and maybe even cozy. Here are a few titles from our collections to help celebrate the holiday.

If you like your Halloween stories gory and gruesome:
The Awakening - Shannon Drake
The Mist - Stephen King
The Animal Hour - Andrew Klavan
The Relic - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

If you like cute pumpkins and baking cupcakes with orange icing:
Trick or Treachery - Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - Ann-Jeanette Campbell
Halloween Murder - Shelley Freydont
Trick or Treat Murder - Leslie Meier

And finally, one of my favorite quotes for the holiday:
"If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day."
John Archibald Wheeler (the physicist who coined the term "Black Hole.)

Linda Knorr - Readers' Services


Karen said...

Whew - I'm glad I'm not the only one who isn't a big fan of the gory, excessive Halloween decorations, but I do adore seeing the little kids in their cute costumes! My father is in a nursing home right now, and I was shocked to see their Halloween decorations - tombstones and morbid looking skeletons, in a place that, for some folks, is their last stop in life. I think I'd stick with the cute, cheerful decorations!

Linda K. said...

Trick-or-Treat Update: We had well over 200 kids this year, but lost count after the first 100. We gave out pencils, crayons, activity books, stickers, and Halloween rubber duckies to the really little ones. Contrary to popular belief the kids seemed happy to get something other than candy. One teen said "good, now I have a pencil for algebra class." Love that Oriental Traders!

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