LM_NET Posting: Spooky Library

Tony shared some spooky fun ideas for the library on 17 October 2010.  I was actually really happy to read that some libraries are still participating in activities related to this spookiest month of the year.  I read too many articles and heard too many stories about schools and public libraries doing away with holiday decorations and displays in lieu of being politically correct.  Woe to the mass for offending the few. 

I thought it would be fun to include the entire e-mail because Tony presented some ideas that could be used in a library, as a classroom study, or during an individual family’s spooky celebration.  Libraries should be fun as well as educational.  Thank goodness for librarians who know how to mix the two.  Happy Haunting Everybody!

As we prepare for Halloween next week and have turned our library into a spooky
place, once again I wanted to share these with those who might have missed them
in years past.  We turn out the overhead lights in the library and use subdued
lighting from lamps, decorated trees (orange & purple light strands), etc.  When
students come to check out, we have used mini-flashlights from Oriental
Trading Post for them to borrow as they look for a book.  Two years ago I
upgraded to small battery-powered LED lanterns I found at Wal-Mart for $5/each.
For nearly 15 years I have used a black light when telling or reading
stories…primarily “The Spider & The Fly” illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi and “A
Creepy Countdown” by Charlotte Huck.  In "Creepy Countdown," I used fluorescent
highlighters to accent images in my copy of the book so they look like they are
For a library twist to "In a dark, dark room," I tell the story below prior to
telling or reading other spooky stories:
In a dark, dark town
There was a dark, dark, road.
And on that dark, dark road
There was a dark, dark school.
And in that dark, dark school
There was a dark, dark hallway.
And down that dark, dark hallway
There was a dark, dark library.
And in that dark, dark library
There was a dark, dark bookcase.
And on that dark, dark bookcase,
There was a dark, dark book.
And in that dark, dark book
And today we are going to hear some of them!
By: Tony L. Pope
October 2007
The year before last I pulled out the “Witches Brew” and tweaked it by making
part of it on PrintShop and using it on our projection screen.  At the part
requiring to mix ingredients, I go to a black screen on PowerPoint, turn on my
overhead projector and mix the brew.  I plan to do this with Pre-K classes.  I
used PPT slides to go along with steps 1-5 and 16-18 using graphics from
Printshop and from the MS clipart gallery.  I turned off the LCD after step 5
and use the overhead projector to do steps 6-15.  Kids seemed to like it.
Below is the recipe for "Witches Brew" as I first received it and a note about
some changes I made are at the end.  

Materials Needed:
1 1/2 cup water
clear Pyrex dish/bowl
green food coloring
red food coloring
yellow food coloring
blue food coloring
something to stir with (a chopstick is good)
1 Alka-Seltzer per demonstration
dried beans   (or can substitute clear glass marbles)
piece of yarn/string/or a snake drawn onto transparency film and cut out
This poem can be used with an overhead projector. Begin with a clear Pyrex dish.

Place the dish on the projector. Cover the bottom of the dish with water. Add

ingredients as indicated in the poem. The bleach will cause the colors to
disappear. The Alka-Seltzer will help expedite the process too and makes it
bubble!  Read the poem in a witchy voice or quiet voice.
1)  Listen, my children and you shall hear,
      A halloween legend told far and near.
2)  As witches galore oh, what a sight,
      Gather together on Halloween night!
3)  Fat ones and skinny ones, old ones and new,
     Fly in on broomsticks to make their brew.
4)  Each witch brings a special treat,
     To make this tasty brew complete.
5)  The witches are ready, their magic to cook,
     Let’s come on in and take a look.
6)  Watch carefully now don’t even blink, [pour water into dish]
     This brew is too horrid, too awful to drink.
7)  Begin with some green slime from the deepest, dark cave. [add green food
     If you don’t want to drink this, you’d better behave.
8)  A drop of blood from a lions tail, [add red food coloring]
     Insures that this brews magic will not fail.
9)  Add to it some juice from an evil curse, [add yellow food coloring]
     Can you imagine anything worse?
10) Heh, heh, heh, to this tasty dish,
     Well add the eyes of two dead fish. [add two dried beans]
11) The bile from the liver of a bat killed at midnight, [add blue food
      Makes this potion a gruesome sight.
12) Well add some catsup just for fun, [add more red food coloring]
      Two snake eyes and a snake see how they run? [add two beans and a string]
13) A final touch for the most delicate flavor,
      Rattlesnake poison, its something to savor. [add bleach]
14) The brew’s complete, the black cat is purring.
      All it needs now is some careful stirring. [stir]
15) A hot fire makes the brew boil and bubble [add 1 Alka-Seltzer tablet]
      If you listen, you’ll hear it without any trouble.
16) The witches are pleased, and they cackle with glee.
      Their brew is the best, the best it could be.
17) They fill up their vials and make ready for flight,
      There they go on their broomsticks this Halloween night.
18) And off in the distance, by the light of the moon,
      I hear them calling, "Well see you so-o-o-o-on!"
*I modified this story/poem/demonstration slightly from the version I originally
The original version had that you could add a cat, witch, and pot cut out of and
colored on transparency film and just place them on the top of the overhead.

It also called for Worcestershire sauce for the bats bile, rocks for snake eyes,
blue food coloring for rattlesnake poison.
I have been using clear glass marbles for eyes…and they have worked the best. 
The light shining through the marbles makes the centers glow. 

For snake eyes I have red glass marbles...they also work great and are visually
By accident I found out that the bleach actually bleaches out all the coloring
you place in the dish (only place about 3-4 drops of food coloring each time).
 It was more visually effective (in my opinion) on the overhead than adding
Worcestershire sauce.  I have bleach in a baby food jar and use an eyedropper to
drop a few drops of bleach into the "brew."  Generally the brew turns a violet
color and the more you stir the lighter it becomes.
I have some pictures from presentations last year and also some of my
decorations.  This is the link to them on FaceBook:
And before anyone asks...no I have never had any complaints.  The kids and
adults love it and have even had people to drop in and visit to watch.
Happy hauntings!
Library Media Specialist


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