Halloween

  •  Bookish Halloween

    When you ask a book lover what their favorite season is, there’s a decent chance they’ll say fall. And what’s not to love? It’s the perfect temperature outside to curl up inside with a cozy blanket, a warm drink, and a good book. Anne Shirley herself even said “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”. And I can’t say I blame her. There really is something utterly romantic about autumn.  I also really love the spooky side of fall. Pumpkins and skeletons, and Halloween parties—but especially the costumes. For the last few years I’ve made it a goal to wear a bookish Halloween costume. Costumes inspired by books are not in short supply, and they’re such a fun conversation starter. I’m going to share with you some of my favorite bookish Halloween costumes for recreating with things you either already have, or can find really easily. 

    COOKIE MOUSE

     cookie mouse

    The mouse from IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE is an easy one. Any pair of overalls will do, whether they’re long pants, shorts, or a skirt. Layer a t-shirt underneath and you’ve already got the outfit. To complete your look with a pair of ears you have a few choices. An old pair of Disney mouse ears will work, or putting your hair in high double buns, or even making your own out of a headband, cardboard, and tape. Draw whiskers near your nose and you officially resemble a mouse. As a bonus, you get to carry a cookie around all night. No one will know if you keep a box of cookies in your bag and just replace the one in your hand every time you eat it.  

     

    ARTHUR DENT

    arthur dent

    If comfort is your aim, shoot for dressing as Arthur Dent from THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. Wear a pair of pajama pants, a white t-shirt, slippers, and a bathrobe out of the house and it should be pretty clear who you’re trying to be, especially if you keep a towel on hand and repeat “Don’t panic” to everyone you meet. And who knows? You might just end up on an adventure of your own.    

     

    MADELINE

    Madeline

    Madeline may be tiny, but she’s mighty—and her costume packs a punch. Anybody who read MADELINE as a kid will instantly know who you are, and luckily, it’s a pretty simple costume too. Start with a simple blue dress. A white collar made from white felt and ribbon isn’t too hard to make, but you can also wear a blouse underneath your dress to the same effect. Add a pair of white knee socks or tights, and black flats. To round out the look, wear a straw hat and a pair of white gloves. You can up the ante on this costume by finding eleven other people to dress up as her school mates, and another person who wouldn’t mind dressing up as Miss Clavel.   

     
  • Autumn Forest

    Salem is an extremely popular destination during the month of October. There are more than 500 different events during the month to celebrate Halloween. The city aims to educate visitors about its mysterious past, especially the famous Salem Witch Trials. I traveled to Salem in May of 2016 but I would love to go back and visit during the month of October. Here are some interesting books about Salem that you can start reading in anticipation of your next trip.

    10.19 A Season with the WitchA SEASON WITH THE WITCH: THE MAGIC AND MAYHEM OF HALLOWEEN IN SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS
    By J.W. Ocker
    (2016)

    Welcome to Witch city! Learn about the historical sites and attractions in Salem as well as experience the thrills of Halloween as seen through the eyes of a curious and adventurous outsider. Author J.W. Ocker spends a month with his family in the city of Salem in order to experience firsthand the season with the witch. 

     

    10.19 The WitchesTHE WITCHES: SALEM, 1692
    By Stacy Schiff
    (2015)

    Along with suffrage and prohibition, the Salem Witch Trials represent one of the few moments when women played a central role in American history. An introduction to the strains on a puritan adolescent’s life, the demands of a rigorous faith, and the vulnerability of settlements adrift from the mother country. A look into the world of 17th century America. 

     

    10.19 WitchesWITCHES! : THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE TALE OF DISASTER IN SALEM  
    By Rosalyn Schanzer
    (2011)

    The riveting story of the victims, accused witches, crooked officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children, into a witch hunt that took over a dozen people’s lives and ruined hundreds more.

     

    10.19 What Were the Salem Witch TrialsWHAT WERE THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS? 
    By Joan Holub
    (2015)

    Something wicked was brewing in the small town of Salem in 1692.  Over the next year and a half, nineteen people were convicted of witchcraft and hanged while more languished in prison as hysteria swept the colony. An inside look at this sinister chapter in history. 

     

    10.19 The Salem Witch TrialsTHE SALEM WITCH TRIALS
    By Robin Johnson
    (2015)

    Discusses the 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, witch trials. Emphasizing how innocent people were jailed on the evidence of dreams and visions and how the legal system allowed nineteen people to be hanged before the governor of the state brought the people of Salem to their senses.

     
  • Spooky House 1

    Warm up with your favorite pumpkin-spice beverage before getting a chill up your spine from these grisly graphic novels. 

    10.28 My Friend DahmerMY FRIEND DAHMER
    By Derf Backderf
    (2012)

    Though true crime is usually a little too real for my horror tastes, this comic focuses on both Jeffrey Dahmer and the people who grew up with him. Written by one of the boys who went to high school with Dahmer, the book manages to show the human side of a serial killer, while not shying away from the sadistic qualities that would make him a murder. 

     

    10.28 OutcastOUTCAST
    By Robert Kirkman
    Illustrated by Paul Azaceta
    (2014)

    In this comic, exorcism goes a little differently than in The Exorcist. Best known for his work on the Walking Dead comics, Robert Kirkman writes the chilling tale of a man’s battle against the demonic possessions that plague those anyone he comes in contact with. While supernatural, the comic also manages to explore the effects of real issues like childhood trauma and abuse. The comic was also adapted into a short-lived, but well-received tv series. 

     

    10.28 AjinAJIN: DEMI-HUMAN
    By Tsuina MiuraI
    llustrated by Gamon Sakurai
    (2014)

    An award-winning manga from Japan, this series takes place in a world where the general populace lives in fear of “ajins”: beings who look and act like normal humans. Just like normal people — except for the fact that they cannot die. One of the most visceral scenes is when, Kei, a normal high-schooler, finds out he is an ajin in the worst way possible — by getting run over by a truck. 

     

    10.28 Through the WoodsTHROUGH THE WOODS
    By Emily Carroll
    (2014)

    While the colors are vibrant, the stories are dark. Each tale in this spooky anthology reads like a dark fairy tale and is illustrated beautifully by the author, Emily Carroll. I have to put down that this is my personal favorite and a comic that I recommend to just about every person I meet.

     

     

  •  Horror on the Silver Screen

    Looking for a movie to send chills down your spine? While the horror genre has had some great films in recent history—from the Oscar-winning GET OUT, to the John Krasinski breakout, A QUIET PLACE—there have been many classic movies that have scared the pants off audiences. Here are some hits from yesteryear to get you in the mood for Halloween. 

    10.26 The InnocentsTHE INNOCENTS
    Directed by Jack Clayton
    (1961)

    Based on the American novel, THE TURN OF THE SCREW, this British adaptation combines everything you’d want in Victorian horror — haunted estates, women in distress, and creepy children. A woman becomes the governess to a young brother and sister who may be much more than they appear. Are the apparitions she sees real? In this film, you can never really trust what people say—or what they see. If you are a fan of modern gothic films like THE WOMAN IN BLACK or THE OTHERS, check out THE INNOCENTS. 

    Fun Fact: The screenplay for this film was worked on by Truman Capote, who took a break from his true crime classic, IN COLD BLOOD, to finish the movie script. 

     

    10.26 Abbott and CostelloABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN
    Directed by Charles Barton
    (1948)

    If you are looking for some good scares and good laughs, check out Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Made after the heyday of monster movies like DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN and THE WOLFMAN, this movie manages to put all of them into one story. The “Avengers” of Universal horror films, the film manages one of the first “crossover” plotlines, pitting each monster against one another or our protagonists.  

    Abbott and Costello both pull off one-liners with their usual skill, poking fun at the monsters while still allowing for some scary moments. The fear factor is helped by the fact that most of the creatures are played by their original actors—who are perfectly happy to howl, bite, and groan amid the jokes. My personal favorite is when Lon Chaney (the Wolfman) attempts to warn Costello over the phone about Dracula’s plot. Instead, Costello quickly becomes more and more irritated with Chaney’s “barking dog.” 

    If you enjoy this film, be sure to check out other Abbott and Costello horror crossovers, such as ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN. 

     

    10.26 Cape FearCAPE FEAR
    Directed by J. Lee Thompson
    (1962)

    This film was initially worked on by Alfred Hitchcock, before he passed it onto his colleague, J. Lee Thompson. One of the best thrillers of the 1950’s, it tells the story of how one ex-con terrorizes the family of the lawyer who sent him to prison. Robert Mitchum pits himself against the upright everyman, Gregory Peck—who was known for playing another famous lawyer in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.  

    Mitchum manages to play both cold, calculating villain and out-of-control maniac. It is his personality that truly makes the audience fear for the lawyer’s family. This film would be made again in 1991 by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro in the ex-con role. However, if you are interested in other horror films that showcase Robert Mitchum’s talent, I recommend the beautiful and horrifying THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER

     

    10.26 The HauntingTHE HAUNTING
    Directed by Robert Wise
    (1963)

    Based on the 1959 book by Shirley Jackson, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, which is widely considered to be the scariest book ever written. Both the movie and its classic film adaptation tell the story of four people invited to investigate not a house that is “haunted,” but is rather “diseased,” with a mind of its own. We soon realize the disturbing effect it has on each person who stays there, including the poor, lonely Eleanor.  

    This film came out just 4 years after the book’s initial publication and was directed by Robert Wise—who had just come off a successful adaptation of WEST SIDE STORY (and would later go on to direct THE SOUND OF MUSIC). Don’t let the director’s background in musicals fool you, this movie will certainly keep you up at night. This film truly takes to heart the old adage that what you don’t see is scarier than what you do. From great acting, to terrifying sound design, this movie will drag you down into the madness that has enveloped the people staying at Hill House.  

    In addition to the 1963 film, The Haunting of Hill House has had plenty of adaptations. These include a recent Netflix adaptation, of the same name, and a 1999 film with Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. (Despite the star-studded cast, please do not subject yourself to this film.)

     
  • Teen Horror Skull 

    If you love the suspense and spine-tingling, slow-burn of horror books, you need to know about the treasure trove of horror in Young Adult (YA). These books are just as convoluted, smart, and terrifying, but they just happen to be on the YA shelves. If you are looking for something horrifyingly new to read, why not check out these YA Horror books.

    10.23 Blood CountessBLOOD COUNTESS
    By Lana Popović
    (2020)

    The is a classic example Gothic Horror novel with some modern sensibilities. You follow sixteen-year old Anna into the alluring world of the Countess Elizabeth. Anna starts out as a lowly scullery maid, but then she is noticed and elevated to the rank of chambermaid. But as Anna is drawn closer and closer to the stunning and clever Countess, she finds that the Countess can be as cruel as she has been kind. The atmosphere of the book is very romantic; the reader is drawn slowly into a web of darkly forbidden love. It also has some serious REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier vibes.   

     

    10.23 Wilder GirlsWILDER GIRLS
    By Rory Power
    (2019)

    One of the great things about the Horror genre is that is mixes well will other genres. For example, this novel is a mixture of horror and quarantine survival story. Something is not right at the Raxter School for Girls. A mysterious illness threatens them from the outside. Since the Tox hit the mainland, the tiny island that the school is on is quarantined. Now the teachers are dying one by one and something is wrong with some of the students. When her best friend Byatt goes missing, Hetty is determined to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine.The writing style of this author is gritty and lush. The characterizations are compelling and drive the plot. It also has some bite-your-hand scary twists in it.

     

    10.23 Dreaming DarklyDREAMING DARKLY
    By Caitlin Kittridge
    (2019)

    This is another Gothic Horror novel with an unreliable narrator and a mysterious uncle who lives on a small island in New England. Ivy has never known a home. She has never been able to trust her mother. She doesn’t even know who her father was. When Ivy’s mother dies, Ivy is sent to live with a rich uncle she has never known or met. Ivy soon discovers many family secrets including a string of mysterious murders. But then one night she awakens from a nightmare covered in someone else’s blood. This intricately plotted story has a super creepy and menacing atmosphere.

     

    10.23 Here There Are MonstersHERE THERE ARE MONSTERS
    By Amelinda Bérubé
    (2019)

    Sometimes Horror spills over into fantasy, the kind that includes monsters, dark forests, and mind games. This book is super atmospheric, meaning that the language is very descriptive with lavish depictions of the world the author is building. This is particularly important in this novel because Skye and her sister Diedre have moved across the country and now live next to a deep, dark woods. Skye is able to acclimate to the new town and school, but Diedre withdraws from everyone and starts spending a lot of time exploring the woods and building stone and stick faces on the ground. When Diedre disappears, Skye must confront her deepest secrets and make a deal with a horrifying creature who promises the help her find her sister.This has a very PAN'S LABYRINTH feeling to it. Think dark creatures, a desperate attempt to save a sister, and having to face the monsters that reside inside of us all. 

     
  • halloween films

    AcfrankBUD ABBOT & LOU COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN
    Directed by Charles T. Barton
    (Universal, 1948)

    A comic horror film in which Abbott and Costello encounter Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, and a mad scientist.      

     

     

     

     

    arsenicARSENIC AND OLD LACE
    Directed by Frank Capra
    (Warner Bros, 1944)

    An easy going drama critic (Cary Grant) discovers that his kind and gentle Aunts Abby and Martha have a bizarre habit of poisoning gentlemen callers and burying them in the cellar.      

     

     

     

     

    the uninvited movie posterTHE UNINVITED
    Directed by Lewis Allen
    (Paramount, 1944)

    A composer and his sister discover that the reason they are able to purchase a beautiful gothic seacoast mansion very cheaply is the house's unsavory past.      

     

     

      

     

    House on Haunted HillHOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
    Directed by William Castle
    (William Castle Productions, 1959)

    Millionaire playboy (Vincent Price) hosts a party for his wife at the "House on Haunted Hill," a house that has seen seven murders. Fredrick invites five guests and will offer each of them $10,000 to spend a night.      

     

     

     

     

    hauntingTHE HAUNTING
    Directed by Robert Wise (Argyle Enterprises, 1963)

    Adapted from Shirley Jackson's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, this psychological thriller tells the story of four people who come to the house to study its supernatural phenomena. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  •  Haunting

    Since it is Halloween today, I thought I would write a post about haunted places in Provo. It would be great to start with personal experiences of our reportedly haunted Academy building. Unfortunately, after working here for twenty years, the only unexplained phenomena I have experienced is that the batteries in any clock I hang in my office die really really fast.  I’ve even replaced the clock a few times and finally just gave up on it. But I don’t think that really counts as paranormal.

    However, we have a number of wonderful books that discuss Utah hauntings and the one that caught my attention recently is RESTLESS SPIRITS: UTAH’S SMALL TOWN GHOSTS by Linda Dunning. She has a whole section on Provo Haunts. Below is a wonderful summary of those hauntings from her book:

    “The Utes massacred at Table Point and in Rock Canyon were never buried. They were left to the wild animals and the whims of nature. Is it any wonder that both of these places are haunted by the dead?

    Old Bishop was a leader to his people and a friend to the white man. His spirit walks the shore of the Provo River in winter.  Bill Hickman, notorious outlaw and lawman, told his tall tales about both of these events.

    In Provo Canyon, the stories of Bridal Veil Falls are both old and new, according to the decade from which they came. Hermits, witches, healers, and old miners are said to have inhabited this canyon, and their stories might have been lost except for the tales told here.

    Brigham Young University has its share of haunted buildings. Musical instruments play by themselves in the music department, and rumor has it that one of the museums is experiencing so much phenomena that a man was summoned to bless the place.

    An old pioneer graveyard is buried under a building, which is, of course, “haunted.” The old Utah County jail has spirited criminals, and the Hotel Roberts, which was razed in 2004, had an atmosphere all its own. Even Geneva Steel, once the largest employer in the valley, was silent, still, and definitely haunted until it was abandoned in 2005.

    Tell me that you aren’t intrigued by at least one of these quick teasers! This is a great little book and it’s available here at the Provo City Library. As I was reading through these creepy stories I discovered a previous book by the same author that she says describes “in depth” the hauntings of Maeser Elementary and the Brigham Young Academy building. Why did we not own this book? Well, we do now!

    If you want to learn more about what is creepy in our community and state, check out these titles:

    10.31 Restless SpiritsRESTLESS SPIRITS: UTAH’S SMALL TOWN GHOSTS
    by Linda Dunning
    (2010) 

    A resurrection witnessed, skeletons unearthed from the cellar of a saloon, and a ghostly apparition searching for her lost child – these stories and more will chill your bones, curdle your blood, and make even the most confident skeptic believe in the supernatural!

     

    10.31 Lost LandscapesLOST LANDSCAPES: UTAH’S GHOSTS, MYSTERIOUS CREATURES, AND ALIENS
    by Linda Dunning
    (2007) 

    For young and old alike, this book will pique interest and raise questions to the mysteries lurking within Utah’s borders. Whether it be the unsolved riddles of places, people, puzzling objects, the legends that have been passed down through the generations, everyone will find something that will have them eagerly turning to the next page.

     

    10.31 Haunted UtahHAUNTED UTAH: GHOSTS AND STRANGE PHENOMENA FROM THE BEEHIVE STATE
    by Andy Weeks
    (2012) 

    This collection of stories includes the phantom hitchhiker of American Fork, Ogden’s elegant haunted hotel, activity at Salt Lake City’s This is the Place Heritage Park, ghost children at Mercer Cemetery, the white lady of Spring Canyon, and bizarre creatures, including Sasquatch, Utah Lake’s black-eyed monster, and the Moon Lake Monster.

     

    10.31 Specters in DoorwaysSPECTERS IN DOORWAYS
    by Linda Dunning
    (2009)

    Reveals the mysteries and miracles of haunted mansions and farm houses, ghostly hotels and public buildings, spirit-infested hospitals, churches and gathering places, eerie old schools, colleges and universities and finally, the phantoms of Utah’s many old mills and abandoned factories.

     
  • DSC 4180

    The mountains are bursting with color, blustery winds are blowing, and caramel apples and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies have made their long-awaited reappearance!  The arrival of fall is one of my favorite times of year, and you might have noticed one of the reasons right here in the Children’s Department – pumpkins!

    At the beginning of each October, we make the trek into the nether regions of our 4th floor attic storage (which is a little spookier than normal during this time of year), and pull down our many dusty boxes of artificial pumpkins.  For years now, the Children’s librarians have had the opportunity to creatively honor some of our favorite books and characters through these imitation jack-o-lanterns.  Deciding who we’ll pumpkinize each year is always a fun challenge, and it’s almost like Christmas as we open the boxes and bring out our past crafty renditions of our favorite friends.  Inevitably, as the pumpkins are unpacked, dusted off, and placed in their spot of honor for the month, memories of the library staff who created them fill my mind.  Some are still here at the library, some are here but in different departments, and some have moved on to other life adventures.  Regardless of their current whereabouts, it brings me a little bit of joy to think of these co-workers who have become friends over time and through the years of our library adventures.  We sure do get fun ones over here!  

    Here are some of my favorite pumpkins.  Come to the Children’s Department to pick out YOUR favorites.  Are there any characters you’d like to see in our collection next year?  Let us know!

     DSC 5039

    DSC 4182

    DSC 4185

    DSC 4224

    DSC 4189

    DSC 4200

    DSC 4205

    DSC 4226

     

  •  Halloween Costumes

    I love children’s books and dressing up, so what could be more fun than dressing up as a character from a book? 

    Every year when I went to the store to pick out a costume for Halloween I was always disappointed. I never liked the choices that I found.  I also didn’t like seeing my costume again and again on everyone else. I love having a costume that is unique to me and my personality. But I also didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on something I was only going to wear one day out of the year. Another frustration in picking a costume was what to be and what person to dress up as.

    Then one year I discovered literary characters. I love books so why not choose my favorite book character and dress up as that particular character! For the last 5 years or so I have had some really fun costumes and most of the time people know who I am. I get lots of comments like, “That is one of my favorite books”, which makes me happy.           

    Usually a book character costume doesn’t require much. I was surprised at how many things I had at home to use for my costume. Sometimes I would have to hunt for an accessory that I needed or make an item or two for my costume but usually it was just hanging in my closet waiting to be put together. I have over the years added to my wig collection but that is something that can be used again and again. I also bought a latex witch nose and I have used that many times to change the look of my face.   

    This year because I have so many ideas and options to choose from my struggle is deciding which character I want to be. I thought it would be fun to share five of my favorite literary costumes and hopefully inspire you to also dress up as a literary character.

    10.15 Fancy NancyFANCY NANCY: FANCIEST DOLL IN THE UNIVERSE
    By Jane O’Conner
    Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
    (2013)

     

    Fancy Nancy

     

    10.15 Amelia BedeliaAMELIA BEDELIA
    By Peggy Parish
    (1963)

     

    Amelia

     

    10.15 Miss Nelson is MissingMISS NELSON IS MISSING!
    By Harry Allard and James Marshall
    (1977)

     

    Viola Swamp

     

    10.15 Lillys Purple Plastic PurseLILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE
    By Kevin Henkes
    (1996)

     

    Lilly

     

    10.15 The WitchesTHE WITCHES
    By Roald Dahl
    (1983)

     

    Witch

     
  • Ghost

    As I was looking up some books, I realized that a lot of picture book titles can be foreboding. Some sounded like they belonged to horror films rather than picture books. With that thought spiraling out of control, I decided to create my own horror film synopses for different children’s book titles. 

    10.7 Bye Bye Baby BrotherBYE-BYE BABY BROTHER!
    By Sheena Dempsey
    (2013) 

    Actual Book: This is a story for children who are about to become older siblings. It addresses the jealousy children may feel when they have to share their parents. 

    Horror Movie Idea: An older sibling decides to oust their new baby brother. Is there a changeling in the midst? Or a demonic spirit? Don’t know. But this title could be truly frightening. 

     

    10.7 Ruby Red ShoesRUBY RED SHOES
    By Kate Knapp
    (2012) 

    Actual Book: This book is about a rabbit named Ruby and her life with her grandmother. They love quilts, buttons, tea and more. This book is a calming and lovely. 

    Horror Movie Idea: Think a twisted Wizard of Oz prequel that explains how the ruby slippers got their color. The Witch of the East loved the blood of her victims (I know. The original slippers were silver, but the movie slippers are so pretty!). 

     

    10.7 Youll Find MeYOU’LL FIND ME
    By Amanda Hill
    (2020) 

    Actual Book: This book is told in rhyme and encourages hope throughout the grieving process. Losing someone can be hard, and this story helps create a space for parent-child conversations on the tough topic. 

    Horror Movie Idea: A girl with a loving boyfriend starts receiving life threatening notes. She and her boyfriend go to the police but they can’t find substantial evidence. She eventually figures out that her boyfriend has dissociative identity disorder and his alternate personality is a serial killer who’s chosen her as the next target.  The nice side of her boyfriend tells her to run away when he finds out the truth. Now the question is, will the crazy half of the boyfriend find her or will her feminine wiles find the hero beneath the monster? 

     

    10.7 Swim Swim SinkSWIM SWIM SINK
    By Jennifer Harney
    (2020) 

    Actual Book: This is a cute book about three ducklings following their mama out for a swim, but then something strange happens. One of the ducklings sink! The little one tries and tries again to swim but it takes a little creativity to keep the duckling afloat. 

    Horror Movie Idea: A family decides to vacation at a rented beach house. A storm comes in and they spend the day indoors. Then they realize the house is flooding and slowly sinking into the ocean. They try to leave, but they’ve been locked in with no way out. The family swims from furniture to rafters as the house sinks deeper into the ocean. Oh, and there’s a creature in the water. 

     

    10.7 Everyone AwakeEVERYONE’S AWAKE
    By Colin Meloy
    (2020) 

    Actual Book: Told in rhyme, this book talks about what happens when everyone stays awake at night. Someone practices their trapeze skills while others do house chores. The whimsical illustrations bring the story together in a delightful way. 

    Horror Movie Idea: No one on earth has been able to fall asleep for 42 days. Anesthesiologists can’t even put their patients to sleep for surgery. Everyone is growing tired, weary, and more irritable. Then people start seeing things and people realize that their childhood nightmares are coming to life.  What are some titles you’d rewrite as horror movies?

     
  • Witchy

    ‘Tis the season for truly bewitching stories. Here are our picks for new graphic novels filled with witches, magic, curses, and more! 

    10.12 The WitchesTHE WITCHES
    By Roald Dahl
    Illustrated by Penelope Bagieu
    (2020) 

    Real witches are all around us. You might never know it, though, because they’re in disguise. They wear gloves to hide their crooked fingers, wigs to cover their scaly bald heads, and perfume to cover the stench of the thing they hate most – children! In this full-color graphic novel adaptation of Roald Dahl’s darkly humorous classic, an eight-year-old boy travels to a seaside resort with this grandmama where he encounters all of the witches in England and goes head-to-head with the Grand High Witch. Eisner-winning artist Penelope Bagieu brings a quirky sense of child-like fun to a classic spooky story. 

     

    10.12 Witches of BrooklynWITCHES OF BROOKLYN
    By Sophie Escabasse
    (2020) 

    In the middle of the night, Effie, who has just lost her mother, is brought to live with her elderly aunts she’s never met. Her aunts, named Carlota and Selimene, run a holistic healing practice from their Brooklyn home, specializing in acupuncture, healing herbs, and more. Not long after Effie arrives, the aunts get another surprise visitor – Tilly Shoo, the biggest pop-star on the planet, who has been cursed with a bright-red face and needs their help. Luckily, Carlota and Selimene are more than just healers – they are witches, and it apparently runs in the family. A heartfelt series opener and a celebration of good witches everywhere. 

     

    10.012 Beetle and the HollowbonesBEETLE & THE HOLLOWBONES
    By Aliza Layne
    (2020) 

    Beetle is a 12-year-old goblin who has grown pretty tired of staying at home learning goblin magic with her grandma, the town witch. She longs to go to school to learn sorcery – like her old friend Kat Hollowbone, who has just returned from a prestigious boarding school. Beetle and Kat struggle to pick up where they left off, as new feelings seem to change the relationship between the two girls. This is only made more complicated by Kat’s aunt, Marla, an ambitious and powerful sorceress who longs to return their town to the way it was generations before – with a Hollowbone as town witch and the Hollowbone home on the site of the town mall. The mall to which Beetle’s best friend Blob Ghost is tied. For older middle grade readers, this is a colorful and unexpected coming of age story featuring a diversely witchy world. 

     

    10.12 The Okay WitchTHE OKAY WITCH
    By Emma Steinkellner
    (2019) 

    Moth is… a little obsessed with witches. So imagine her excitement when she discovers that witches are real, and she is one! In fact, Moth is descended from a long line of witches in her hometown of Founders Bluff, Mass. Her mother, a witch who gave up her own powers during the witch hunts in 1692, warns Moth never to use her powers. In an act of rebellion, Moth decides to teach herself magic by stealing her mom’s diary which inadvertently transports her to the magical realm of Hecate where their family’s coven escaped. Touching on serious topics like racism and misogyny, this middle grade graphic novel is as sophisticated as it is fun. Moth is a relatable and winning narrator and her familiar (a talking cat) adds comic relief throughout. 

     

    10.12 Grimoire NoirGRIMOIRE NOIR
    By Vera Greentea
    Illustrated by Yana Bogatch
    (2019) 

    Blackwell was supposed to be a safe haven for witches. In Blackwell, women hold magical powers and their powers are protected by law, as long as they never leave Blackwell. Things seem idyllic. Then, fifteen-year-old Bucky Orson’s little sister Heidi goes missing. His dad, the town sheriff, can’t work around town politics to investigate the case and his mother becomes so bereaved that torrential downpours start to flood Blackwell – a side effect of powers. With the help of his estranged friend Chamomille, Bucky takes the investigation into his own hands and uncovers centuries of hidden secrets in the meantime. This is a spooky and atmospheric witch-read, well suited for fall. As the title suggests, the story takes on a Noir quality with artwork to match – mostly black and white with dabs of colors. Appropriate for middle school readers and older.

     
  • Spooky House and Man in Fog

    BOO! It’s that time of year, my favorite time of year, with cooler weather, pumpkins, hot chocolate, and of course ghosts and ghouls. As human beings, many of us have a weird fascination with the strange and macabre. We tell stories around the campfire, go on haunted tours or visit haunted houses, and watch movies that scare us to the point that sleep is just not an option.

    There are of course many things in the paranormal and horror realm that can capture our attention. There are skeletons, witches, vampires, serial killers, and monsters such as Big Foot or the Wendigo. The most popular of the paranormal that we often dive deep and become detectives is that of ghostly visitations. There are countless people through the ages that have experienced their own ghostly visitor - maybe you have your own experience - and have shared the creeks, the chills, and the apparitions in various stories. Some places even become landmarks as must-see attractions when visiting a city.

    The most interesting part of telling or reading ghost stories is being invested in a person’s life when you otherwise have no connection. It’s genealogy with a spooky twist. With many stories we not only learn about the dead’s active spiritual life but we dive deep into their mortal lives as well. We learn about where they were from, what they were like in life from family or friends, read journals and notes, learn about loss and illness they went through, and look at old photographs as we paint a picture in our heads of who these people were and why they are not resting in the afterlife. If this is something that interests you and you are wanting to get into the Halloween spirit then do we have you covered. To get started, check out these books that have some fascinating and spooky tales. They range from ghostly love affairs to performers who can’t let go of the spotlight. Get caught up in the ghosts of our past.          

    10.5 Haunted Universal StudiosHAUNTED UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
    By Brian Clune
    (2018)

    Talented entrepreneur Carl Laemmle led and won the fight against Thomas Edison's filming monopoly and built Universal City out of the dirt of Hollywood. He created a place of wonder and imagination, and now, decades later, Universal Studios is filled with rumors of ghosts.

     

    10.5 Haunted Salt Lake CityHAUNTED SALT LAKE CITY
    By Laurie Allen
    (2018)

    Uncovering ghost stories in Salt Lake City leads to a spooky mixture of legend, lore, and local history. The guides of Story Tours' Salt Lake City Ghost Tour reveal characters who just can't seem to leave the valley.

     

    10.5 Haunted LoveHAUNTED LOVE: TALES OF GHOSTLY SOULMATES, SPOOKY SUITORS, AND ETERNAL LOVE
    By Chris Gonsalves
    (2010)

    Romance is undeniably otherworldly. Heart racing, breath quickening, senses ablaze -it’s all apart of what makes love so frighteningly grand. As the French writer Francois de La Rochefoucauld said four centuries ago, “it is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.” And yet, there are those who have seen both. Welcome to HAUNTED LOVE. 

     

    10.5 Haunted TheatersHAUNTED THEATERS: PLAYHOUSE PHANTOMS, OPERA HOUSE HORROS, AND BACKSTAGE BANSHEES
    By Tom Ogden
    (2009)

    Thirty-five gripping tales of ghostly goings-on and other worldly encounters in theaters across North America and London. The hard part isn't finding theaters that are haunted-it's finding theaters that aren't!

     

    10.5 National Geographic Guide to the Worlds Supernatural PlacesNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GUIDE TO THE WORLD’S SUPERNATURAL PLACES: MORE THAN 250 SPINE-CHILLING DESTINATIONS AROUND THE GLOBE
    By Sarah Bartlett
    (2014)

    Packed with rich illustrations, National Geographic's first-ever guide to the world's supernatural places showcases more than 250 spooky destinations around the globe, revealing a dazzling array of haunted castles, forbidden hideaways and otherwise eerie landmarks.

     
  • Scary Woman

    It’s October, which means Halloween is getting close! Many people find macabre and unsettling stories to be extra fun to read at this time of year. The following is a list of books that detail true stories of female criminals. Murderers are usually thought of as men, but these women have proven that they can be just as devastatingly and unspeakably evil.  

    10.30 Till Death Do Us Part‘TILL DEATH DO US PART: LOVE, MARRIAGE, AND THE MIND OF THE KILLER SPOUSE
    By Dr. Robi Ludwig & Matt Birkbeck
    (2006)

    At least six people in the U.S. are murdered every day by a spouse/intimate partner. This book features the psychological profiles of infamous killer spouses – many of them women!  

     

    10.30 Tender MurderersTENDER MURDERERS: WOMEN WHO KILL
    By Trina Robbins
    (2003)

    This book is divided into sections that revolve around a particular theme, like murder for money, murder for love, etc. What drives a woman to kill? What brings her to that point of no return?  

     

    10.30 Lady KillersLADY KILLERS: DEADLY WOMEN THROUGHOUT HISTORY
    By Tori Telfer
    (2017)

    Is there such a thing as a female serial killer? This book argues that there definitely is and gives fourteen fascinatingly disturbing examples as proof.  

     

    10.30 BurnedBURNED
    By Edward Humes
    (2019)

    In 1989, Jo Ann Parks survived a house fire that killed her three children. In 1993, she was arrested and convicted of setting that fire. Did she kill her children?   

     

    10.30 Ugly PreyUGLY PREY
    By Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi
    (2017)

    This fascinating book is different than the others on this list – the criminal, Sabella Nitti, was not a criminal at all. Readers won’t be able to put down this heartbreaking and true story of the first woman to be sentenced to death in Chicago.

     
  • witchy films

    A couple of weeks ago on the blog, I admitted my love for all things witchy and shared my favorite recent books about witches. To continue that theme and honor the Halloween spirit, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite movies starring witches.  They’re certainly bewitching, if I do say so myself.

    10.26 I Married a WitchI MARRIED A WITCH
    Directed by René Clair
    (1942)

    During the height of the Salem witch trials, Jennifer (Veronica Lake) and her father Daniel (Cecil Kellaway) are burned at the stake. As her final act, Jennifer curses her Puritan persecutor, Jonathan Wooley, and his descendants to always marry unhappily. When the father and daughter escape their spiritual imprisonment centuries later, Jennifer vows to torment Wallace, the latest in a long line of Wooleys, but love gets in the way. With a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this romantic comedy is an absolute classic. The Provo Library doesn't currently own a copy, unfortunately, but the Orem Library does!

     

    10.26 MatildaMATILDA
    Directed by Danny DeVito
    (1996)

    I don’t know that Matilda Wormwood is ever actually referred to as a witch, but I think her telekinesis and last name qualify as witchy. This film is delightful. A brilliant and magical young girl, deliciously wicked villains, and plenty of shenanigans – what more could you want? So why not whip up a Matilda-inspired chocolate fudge cake and discover the magic of Roald Dahl on film?

     

    10.26 Bell Book and CandleBELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE
    Directed by Richard Quine
    (1958)

    Greenwich Village witch Gillian (Kim Novak) has had a long-running feud with Merle Kittridge (Janice Rule) since college. When Gillian finds out that her handsome neighbor Shep (Jimmy Stewart) plans to marry Merle, she simply has to intervene. Her love spell has unintended consequences, however, ultimately forcing her to choose between love and magic. With hints of BEWITCHED and I DREAM OF JEANNIE and starring the talented duo from VERTIGO, BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE is an awful lot of fun.

     

    10.26 BewitchedBEWITCHED
    Directed by Nora Ephron
    (2005)

    I’ll be honest, in a lot of respects, this movie isn’t great. It had so much going for it – A Nora and Delia Ephron screenplay, Nora Ephron as the director, Nicole Kidman, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, the nostalgia of the original Bewitched series -  it should have been amazing, right? Unfortunately, the writing and acting fall a little flat, and the film was panned by critics. And yet I watch BEWITCHED about once a year anyway.

    On an intellectual level, I know this movie isn’t very good, but on another level I really enjoy it. The plot is okay, but the movie is just so pretty to look at! Isabel is the kind of witch I’d want to be. Her bungalow cottage is perfectly adorable, and as I watch the parts of the film that are set there, I spend most of my time analyzing the furniture (I seriously want her floral sofa), kitchen cabinets, and windows. And then there’s Isabel’s/Samantha’s/Nicole’s clothes in the film – so many adorable cardigans! It’s a librarian’s dream. Roughly 30% of my current wardrobe is inspired by this not-so-great movie.

    You think I’m kidding, right? I’m not kidding.

    10.26 Practical MagicPRACTICAL MAGIC
    Directed by Griffin Dunne
    (1998)

    BEWITCHED wasn’t the first time Nicole Kidman played a witch. Based on the book by Alice Hoffman (and now there’s a prequel!), PRACTICAL MAGIC tells the story of the Owens sisters, practical Sally (Sandra Bullock) and wild child Gillian (Kidman), whose magical family is cursed in love. This is another film with envy-inducing set design. Rumor has it that Barbra Streisand was so taken with the Victorian Owens house that she tried to buy it, only to find out that it was a temporary shell instead of a real house. This 90s romantic comedy gave me the heebie-jeebies when I first saw it as a tween. It’s just creepy enough to be a perfect Halloween movie, but it has plenty of romance, lightheartedness, and magical charm for the scaredy-cats (ahem, me) among us.

    10.26 Hocus PocusHOCUS POCUS
    Directed by Kenny Ortega
    (1993)

    I feel like I don’t even need to talk this movie up. We all love HOCUS POCUS, right? As evil as they might be, could there be three more hilarious and winning witches? If you're looking for a Halloween activity, join us on Tuesday at 7:00 for a HOCUS POCUS screening in the Shaw Programming Room, #260.