Halloween at the Library: From Stories to Story Times
Halloween, celebrated each year on Oct. 31, has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Its Celtic roots shroud it in mystery, magic and superstition, as the Celts believed that it was a time when spirits came out to haunt and would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated Nov. 1 All Saints Day, and the evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and eventually Halloween, incorporating some of the traditions of Samhain. Halloween gained popularity in America during the second half of the nineteenth century with the arrival of Irish immigrants and, over the years, evolved into a day of trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, eating sweets and wearing costumes.
Fauquier County Public Library will celebrate Halloween with Halloween Hoopla, a not-too-spooky story time offered at all three library locations. This special story time for preschoolers and rising kindergartners includes songs, crafts, rhymes and trick-or-treating around the library.
Bealeton and Warrenton: Thursday, Oct. 25, 10:30 a.m.
John Marshall: Friday, Oct. 26, 10:30 a.m.
Before donning your costume or carving your Jack-o’-lantern, here are a few Halloween facts and figures:
- Jack-O’-Lanterns were originally made out of turnips, beets and potatoes, not pumpkins.
- Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
- Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of Halloween.
- In 2016, Mathias Willemijns of Belgium, set the record for the largest pumpkin – a whopping 2,624.6 pounds.
- The largest pumpkin ever recorded in U.S. history weighed 2,528 pounds and was grown in 2018 by New Hampshire’s Steve Geddes.
- One quarter of all candy sold annually in the United States is bought for Halloween.
- Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday, after Christmas.
If all this talk of ghouls and goblins has you eager for a good ghost story, check out the following, available at your nearest Fauquier County Public Library location, or stop by the reference desk for suggestions.
- 50 Strange Stories of the Supernatural by John Canning
- Ghosts of the Old Jail by Frances Allshouse
- The Ghosts of Virginia by L.B. Taylor, Jr.
- Monsters of Virginia: Mysterious Creatures in the Old Dominion by L.B. Taylor, Jr.
- Spooky South: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings and Other Local Lore by S. E. Schlosser
- Virginia Ghosts by Marguerite du Pont Lee
- Virginia Folk Legends by Thomas E. Barden
Lisa Pavlock, Public Information Coordinator, Fauquier County Public Library