Thursday, October 29, 2020

Here at the Library: Origins of Halloween

 Here at the Library

    Here at the library, we have books about Halloween. As I was researching and googling for today's blog segment, looking for ideas, I was in a 'Halloween' mood. I was thinking, I know some origins of Halloween-but not the whole story. Where did Halloween come from? Well...let me tell you! Disclosure: This is not the whole story, there is much more, I didn't think you all wanted to read a book! My favorite podcast, Morbid: a true crime podcast, did an hour-long episode on the origins of Halloween if you are interested in more information, check them out. Anyway, here we go; the origins of Halloween...
    Halloween is a holiday celebration held every year on October 31st. We all know the celebrations of the current age: Costume parties, jack-o-lanterns, and trick-or-treating. But where did it all come from? 
    The origins of Halloween date back more than 2,000 years ago (some say more than 2,500). The Celts who lived mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1st.
    This day marked the end of summer and 'light' and the beginning of the cold 'dark' winter. A time of year that was associated with death. The Celts believed that the night before the new year began, the boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31st, they celebrated Samhain (SAW-win) when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. Samhain translates into "the end of summer."
    Many cultures eventually influenced the Celtic traditions beginning with the Romans who eventually brought Christianity to the Celts. In 800 A.D. The Church of England tried to Christianize the old Celtic festivals. Pope Boniface IV designated November 1st as All Saint's Day, a day to celebrate saints and martyrs. He also decreed October 31st as All Hallows Eve (hallows meaning holy), this was meant to replace Samhain but the Celts hung on to their traditions. All Hallows Eve got shortened to Halloween. 
    Cool, cool, but how did we get dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating? There are several theories as to the origins of trick-or-treat. I feel like it's a combination of things starting with something called souling. Souling was the action, practice or ritual of going about asking for donations of food etc. Throughout the Middle Ages the Cluniac monks served poor people food on All Souls' Day with the poor being stand-ins for the dead. This established a precedent for the people; giving directly to the poor, rather than giving to the priests (who may or may not have) to give to the poor. This would later evolve into souling which was an antecedent of trick-or-treating.
    Another precursor to trick-or-treating comes from southern Ireland. A man would dress as Láir Bhán (basically this means 'white mare', even after some research I don't understand, however I'm not Irish...) and lead youths from house to house reciting verses in exchange for food. If the house donated food it could expect good fortune, not doing so would bring misfortune or tricks.
    So, we've got the tricks, and we've got the treats. As for dressing in costume, again it could be any number of things. From at least the 16th century people went from house to house mumming or guising, basically impersonating the AosSí also knows as the souls of the dead, and receiving offerings on their behalf. Another forerunner for modern costuming is this: It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saint's Day, All Hallows Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognized by any soul that might be seeking such revenge, people would wear masks or costumes to disguise their identities.
    We have plenty of books about Halloween! Here are a few.

We also have quite a few DVDs 

In the spirit of Halloween, costumes, and trick-or-treating, I thought I would show you a simple make-up tutorial for a broken doll. Thanks to Shae (my daughter) for being my model for this! 

Here she is sans make-up

First step is to add a heavy base of light colored foundation and powder. I did two layers of this

The next step is optional, I added some heavy contouring under her cheekbones, along the sides of her nose and along the hairline. She was being goofy...

Now we want bright baby doll cheeks and lips. I made her lips a bit fuller by drawing the shape around her actual lips and filling in, this is not necessary 

Time to break her! I used black acrylic paint. Choose your impact point and paint a 'hole', have random cracked lines radiating out from the impact point

Shading. Grab some black eyeshadow and a small brush or q-tip. Follow along the lines and add shadows

Time for highlights. I used white acrylic paint and a small paintbrush to add highlights to some cracks and the impact point. Use a light hand with this, you just want a hint of highlight. Here's how she looks all broken!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions feel free to message me. If you appreciate our posts please subscribe to our blog! Stop in next Thursday for Donut appreciation day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Critter Club: Halloween Party

Critter Club Halloween

We had so much fun at our Critter Club Halloween Party! We went Pumpkin Bowling:

And made some jack-o-lanterns with stickers:

We made Ghostly pompom shooters with cups and balloons:

The Friends of the Library hid from us! We had to find them to get a treat:

I, Miss Kelly, am awful at telling stories! The Critters helped by using Story Blocks! Each block had a Halloween picture on it and they told the story using the pictures for inspiration.

Here is their story: 
The Witch Tries to get rid of a Bat by Ava, Holden, Laurel, and Owen
    Once upon a time there was a bat. He flew to the cave. The bat went to the cave and there was a witch and a cauldron in the cave. The witch was making a spell to make the bat go away. 
    They went to the haunted house to see if Slappy was there. At the house there was candy corn and I will eat it all by myself!
    There was a cat that chased the bat back to the cave. The skull came out of the cauldron and made the cave explode. A spider hid under a rock and after the explosion. A monster kid pulled the spider from under the rock.
    The ghost chased the cat back to the house. Bats were flying to the house to find the witch and the bats found a pumpkin and made pumpkin pie.
    Then they made a jack-o-lantern out of the pumpkin shell and the witch was very happy.
The End

Then we all had a yummy snack!

We had so much fun! Hopefully we will be able to have another 'in person' party at Christmas. Meanwhile, Critter Club will proceed as we have been. Packets for next Tuesday, November 3rd, will be available for pick-up on Thursday. Thanks, Miss Kelly


Monday, October 26, 2020

Linda's Book Reviews: Words on Bathroom Walls

 Linda's Book Review's
Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

Read along with the description by Amazon


Now a Major Motion Picture starring Charlie Plummer, Anna Sophia Robb, and Taylor Russell!

Fans of More Happy Than Not and The Perks of Being a Wallflower will cheer for Adam in this uplifting and surprisingly funny story of a boy living with schizophrenia.

When you can't trust your mind, trust your heart.

Adam is a pretty regular teen, except he's navigating high school life while living with paranoid schizophrenia. His hallucinations include a cast of characters that range from the good (beautiful Rebecca) to the bad (angry Mob Boss) to the just plain weird (polite naked guy).
An experimental drug promises to help him hide his illness from the world. When Adam meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the normal, great guy that she thinks he is. But as the miracle drug begins to fail, how long can he keep this secret from the girl of his dreams?

"Echoing the premise and structure of Flowers for Algernon, this [is a] frank and inspiring novel." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

To describe schizophrenia I am adding a description that I found online from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation:
Schizophrenia is a severe and debilitating brain and behavior disorder affecting how one thinks, feels and acts. People with schizophrenia can have trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy, expressing and managing normal emotions and making decisions. Thought processes may also be disorganized and the motivation to engage in life’s activities may be blunted. Those with the condition may hear imaginary voices and believe others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or plotting to harm them.
Most people with schizophrenia suffer from symptoms either continuously or intermittently throughout life and are often severely stigmatized by people who do not understand the disease. Contrary to popular perception, people with schizophrenia do not have “split” or multiple personalities and most pose no danger to others. However, the symptoms are terrifying to those afflicted and can make them unresponsive, agitated or withdrawn. People with schizophrenia attempt suicide more often than people in the general population, and estimates are that up to 10 percent of people with schizophrenia will complete a suicide in the first 10 years of the illness — particularly young men with schizophrenia.
While schizophrenia is a chronic disorder, it can be treated with medication, psychological and social treatments, substantially improving the lives of people with the condition. 


This book is written from Adam's point of view. He adds a lot of humor which makes the story have a lighter side. It is also written as letters to his counselor. He doesn't want to speak. He doesn't feel comfortable, and he doesn't want to be there. All he wants is to be a "normal" teenager. He starts to show symptoms around the age of ten. His doctors have him on a new drug to see if it helps with the symptoms. He has regular characters that turn up out of the blue. Some are funny the way they act as they follow him around. He sees things that make him question reality. He meets Maya at his new school which makes him really want a normal life. Adam tries really hard to keep his illness from Maya and his friend Dwight.
This book has a little bit of everything, humor, friendships, romance and a great story line. It also taught me about schizophrenia. I used to think that it was like having multiple personalities. That is not the case. Adam sees people and things that only he can see. I enjoyed this book. The humor in it shows you how he deals with the disorder. I hope you give it a try. 

My Rating Is 4 Stars

Friday, October 23, 2020

Staff Picks October

Staff Picks 

    It's time for our monthly installment of 'Staff Picks' by Rachel, Linda, Sherri, and Kelly. These are the books we like. Let us know if you like them too!

Sherri's Pick:
The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot

    This is the first book in the Columbia River series. It's a crime thriller/mystery with a little romance thrown in.
    I loved the big house that Emily and her sister shared with their aunts. I like to sort of play detective and try to put the puzzle together. Why was their father killed? Where did their sister disappear to?
    This book will definitely hold your attention.

Linda's Pick:
The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

    I really liked this story. I did a review (Linda's Book Reviews) on this one but I chose it for my pick for October since it is set in the month of October.
    Cara and her family have what they call The Accident Season every October. One year her grandfather died. When she was very young, her father died during October. Some years it's just bumps and bruises. Sometimes it's a bad fall with broken bones.
    This year she is seventeen and strange things are happening and family secrets are revealed. 
    Is it her imagination, is it real, or is it magic.

Rachel's Pick:
Ready Player One by Ernest Kline

    Much about what I love about Young Adult literature are the fantastic adventures and quests the characters go on, often with an unexpected group of rag-tag friends, and if I had to pick the quintessential YA novel that epitomizes that concept, Ready Player One would be it.  Many people would be hesitant to read it thinking they wouldn't be able to get into it because they wouldn't get a lot of the 80's references the author uses - this assumption would be wrong!  You don't need to get the references to understand the plight of the main character. 
    This book is truly the ultimate puzzle game.  You easily get sucked into a futuristic world filled with pop culture references and fast-paced action.  The story has a little bit of something to love for everyone.  A wonderfully wild ride!

Kelly's Pick:
Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

    Adam is a teen with paranoid schizophrenia. He is currently taking an experimental drug for his condition. The problem is, he doesn't know what is real and what is not. 
    The entire story is told in journal entries written to his therapist. 
    Despite the heavy subject, Adam is often hilarious. He is a truly loveable character. The story has a little bit of everything and while it doesn't downplay the seriousness of mental illness it shows you that the people who suffer can still live. They can have romance and friendships and family. 
    Truly a wonderful story!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Here at the Library: Witchcraft in Pennsylvania

 Here at the Library
Here at the library we have books and movies about witches. Witchcraft is the practice of magical skills, spells, and abilities. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and can be hard to define with precision.
    In the modern era some use witch to refer to benign, positive or neutral practices of modern paganism.

    When I was looking into information about witches, I came across 'The Only Witch Trial in Pennsylvania'. It took place in what is modern day Chester County and was presided over by William Penn himself. The trial took place in 1684 -nine years before the famous Salem witch trials. Margaret Mattson, a Swedish woman, was rumored to be a witch by many around town. Henry Drystreet was a farmer whose cows were no longer giving milk. He blamed Margaret, saying she used witchcraft.
    You can see the trial play out in person at the former home of William Penn, Pennsbury Manor. There they hold a re-enactment of the trial every Halloween (not this Halloween due to COVID restrictions).
    There are countless other tales of witchcraft in PA if you take the time to Google it. The tale that intrigued me the most was that of 'The Witch of Ringtown', you can read more about this true story at, or in Thomas White's book; Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History and Lore. 
    Another tale you might find intriguing is that of Hex Hollow, also known as Rehmeyer's Hollow. Hex Hollow is located in York County, PA, close to the Maryland border. In 1928 Nelson Rehmeyer was known as a PowWow practitioner, this was the Pennsylvania Dutch equivalent of a practicing witch. On the advice of a woman named Nellie Noll (known as the River Witch of Marietta), John Blymire believed he had been cursed by Rehmeyer. Blymire and his two accomplices went to Rehmery's home in search of his spell book, believing that by taking the book they would break the curse. Nelson refused to turn over the tome and in retaliation Blymire murdered him and attempted to burn the body and house with it. This was unsuccesful and the Rehmyer homestead stands today. Locals and visitors alike claim the land is haunted. Delve into more of the story here:
    Today there are still witches in Pennsylvania- though many prefer to be called Wicca or Pagan. Rowan, a witch from Greene County explains modern witchcraft:
    "Nature is witchcraft. When you think of a witch what do you think of? You think of this evil person who does these bad things when, technically, what we do is worship nature and heal people."
    Here at the library we have a multitude of books and movies about witches. From those geared toward adults to titles tailored for juvenile readers/viewers, here is just a sample of what we have available. 

    As Rowan stated, modern witchcraft uses things found in nature for healing the body, mind, and spirit.  One of the things that I found in my research was a recipe for a Rosemary Lemon Lotion that I will show you how to make. In addition to smelling amazing, this rosemary lemon lotion nourishes your skin.  Both rosemary and lemon support the skin in its natural exfoliation and health, making it a great face and body lotion.

For the witchy part of this process you will be adding a blessing. Even if you don't believe in Wicca or witchcraft it certainly won't hurt. If you are giving this as a gift, you can feel confident that you've put yourself into the making of it!
Adding a Blessing
    Step 1: As you gather and line up your ingredients, state your intent. Your words are a vibration that will begin the blessing process before you even begin!
    Step 2: Calm your mind. Meditate a bit or do some yoga breathing (see our previous post on yoga). You want to be calm because you are using your own energy to bless the lotion (or whatever you are making, this would work for any number of items)
    Step 3: Focus that calming energy into every step of the process. Feel free to speak the words aloud if that feels helpful. "I am adding my calm energy to these ingredients and the finished product. I am pouring in my calm state of being." 

That's it. Follow these steps as you work and you will have added a calming blessing to your lotion that should help the user, whether yourself or someone else!

You'll need ingredients: Almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax, vitamin E oil, shea butter, and herbs or essential oils of your choice. I, of course, used lemon essential oil and to show how it's done, I used actual rosemary.

Keep in mind, all of these ingredients are natural. There is no need to buy special utensils for this project. Use what you have in your kitchen.
Next you'll need a double boiler. If you don't have one (I don't) you can use a pot and glass or ceramic bowl. You will want to put a few inches of water in your pot.

Place your bowl on top of the pot as you would a lid (make sure that the bowl fits on top and not inside the pot) and turn on the heat

Measure out your almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter and place in the bowl

Stir occasionally while all of this is melting. While waiting, I prepared the rosemary. I used what I had in the cupboard. You could also skip this part and use rosemary essential oil.

You will need a mortar and pestle.

This is what the rosemary looks like straight out of the bottle.

I used about a tablespoon. You want to grind it into a fine powder.

Once the ingredients are completely melted, add the vitamin E, lemon oil, and rosemary and stir.

You'll need a container. I used a small mason jar with a lid. This is a very thick lotion and will not pump well in a lotion pump.

Pour your lotion into the container. Be very careful! It's very hot.

Let sit until lotion solidifies somewhat and add a pretty label!
Use as you would normally use a lotion. This lotion is super nourishing and moisturizing. Because it is oil based, rather than most store bought lotions which are water based, a little goes a long way. Due to the fact that all of the ingredients are shelf stable, this lotion has a shelf life of approximately 6 months. Much longer than other homemade lotions.

Here is the recipe:
8oz almond oil
2oz coconut oil
20z beeswax
1 tsp vitamin E oil
2 TBSP shea butter
1 TBSP rosemary ground into a fine powder
20 drops lemon essential oil

Combine the almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter in a double boiler and heat until melted. Once everything is melted, add the vitamin E oil, lemon oil, and rosemary. Stir gently. Pour into a container and let sit until slightly hardened.

I hope you enjoyed this installment of Here at the Library. I had fun! If you make the lotion please share!! Next week we are taking a peek at the origins of Halloween! See you next week!

I'm adding links from Amazon for some of the harder to find ingredients:

Almond oil 

Shea Butter

Activity Tuesday

 Activity Tuesday     Today is the drawing for the Summer Reading Grand Prize, the Playstation 4. The drawing will be held on Facebook Live ...