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Library comes alive for Halloween

A display at the Keene Memorial Library featuring the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

This week has been our Halloween celebration week. We kicked it off Saturday night with the Haunted Library event. We had three different sections this year – the itty bitty’s craft and cookies, the tween Escape Rooms, and the Haunted Maze on the 2nd floor. There was an activity for all ages and scare-ability. In total we had approximately 291 people attend the event. We got pretty crowded so we may have missed some folks.

The itty-bitty room was full of cookies and two crafts for the kiddos to make. It also gave the caregivers a place to sit for a minute and rest after all the trick-or-treating. The kids loved the crafts and we actually ran out of them. The cookies from Hy-Vee are always a favorite. They were decorated for Halloween as well.

The tween Escape Room was a partnership with JCAC/FPS as Emmalee Nelson, the media specialist, designed and ran the 2 escape rooms in the East Building. The kids had to use their knowledge and quick wit to figure out clues to escape the rooms. They seemed to really enjoy this event as it was a new addition this year.

The scary maze was a blast as usual. We took cues from last year’s participants and made it a little less scary for the younger ones. The maze still had scary monsters, rats, snakes, skeletons, dead librarians, and a corpse in the coffin. The children loved it enough that several of them went through multiple times.

The hardest part of pulling off a Haunted Library event is the time is takes to plan, coordinate volunteers, and decorating the actual event. A big THANK YOU to Sonia Vanderworth, our Children’s Assistant because she handled the main load of this event. Without her, this event would not have happened this year. And a big shout out to all the rest of the staff and volunteers that helped out because they made this event a huge success.

Besides the Haunted Library event, the library staff also have a pumpkin decorating contest going on until Thursday. Voting ends today, Wednesday October 30th. We had an outstanding turnout this year with so many realistic pumpkins. There was a lot of thought and hard work that went into making these great literary-themed pumpkins. Some of my favorites were the Edgar Allan Poe and paper mache pumpkin cover, Oscar the Grouch pumpkin (including trash can), and the giant ice cream cone made out of foam insulation. Each entry has a literary theme and staff pulls the books to sit with the pumpkins. This event is such a great way to encourage imagination and building skills. I hope the kids enjoyed making them as much as we enjoyed viewing them.

For next year, we have taken feedback and hope to be fully staffed so we can run two separate Haunted Library mazes simultaneously. Our line got pretty long this year, so we will see what we can do for next year!

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Tina Walker is Director of Keene Memorial Library in Fremont.

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