Our special Halloween session took place at the usual Baby Rhyme Time hours – 10.45am till 11.15am. The turnout was brilliant with no space left for a single extra pumpkin or bat suit, with 40 children and 36 adults jammed in our under 5’s section of the library.
Many children and two members of staff (including yours truly!) were fancy dressed for the occasion. The children in all colours and shapes – gorgeous smiley pumpkins, a bumblebee, a batboy, princesses and even a tiny beautiful vampire dressed to kill. The staff dressed in black, with hats and all, offered a striking contrast to the colourful surroundings in the Children’s library. Our Halloween displays, prepared in the weeks leading to the event, benefited from the drawings and colouring contributions of customers as seen below!
Apart from our usual selection of songs, we also sang a few tunes suggested by parents and nannies. However, the cherry on the top of the Halloween cake was to sing a special Halloween song for the 1st time together at North Ken’s Baby Rhyme Time: the Halloween version of one of our most popular and requested classic, “The (Spooky) Wheels on the Bus”, by Elizabeth Mills.
We finished off by handing out one small bag to each child filled with some goodies to nibble at. There were smiley faces all around. We all had a party! Watch this space for more parties – it’s that time of year already!
Notting Hill Gate Library had a busy October this year, which included our Halloween display and the first Halloween Story and Craft Event on Saturday 24th October. This was a great opportunity for the children to dress up as their favourite characters and celebrate the holiday. The turn out was great and the afternoon was memorable. However, this could not have happened without the help and support from both parents and our kind volunteer Karima, who is a Primary School Teacher.
We began the afternoon with a scary story called Spooky House by Roger Priddy, in which we all participated in the reading together. After this, with the help of Karima’s teaching experience, we explained health and safety measures to the children.
With limited space in the Library, sitting on the floor worked to our advantage as it brought everyone together. The children were hooked in the making of their spider webs and loved the challenge when weaving the wool. After this, we had played a game of pass-the-parcel which engaged everyone’s attention, including the parents who also joined in.
To promote healthy eating, we created our very own pumpkins from oranges (the pumpkin’s body) and celery (the pumpkin’s stalk). In addition to this, we also made ghosts from bananas and raisins were used for the eyes. It proved to be a success.
At the end of the day everyone was sad the afternoon was over, but were cheered as each were given Halloween goody bags filled with raisins and a Halloween activity booklet.
To encourage reading I asked parents to take out a book for each child from the display, in which I had drawn inspiration from The Wizard of Oz. We all know how inspirational books can be and as it has been said ‘Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!’
Come along and join us for our next Story and Craft event on Saturday 21st November 2015 but please book early to avoid disappointment!
At Chelsea Reference Library we are in need of some last minute Halloween costume inspiration. Here are a few ideas that we have found in our amazing Fashion & Costume collection in case you are in the same boat!
In a book about costume design in the movies we found these great images from Beetlejuice:
In Costume Design by Deborah Nadoolman Landis
We also had a look in our Vogue archives for inspiration from the 70’s. How about something like this glam outfit?
Or back in the 1957, this great 50’s outfit appeared on October’s Vogue cover:
Or you can’t go wrong with an aloha shirt, and we have a book full of them to look at for inspiration, along with some interesting history of the Hawaiian shirt:
The Aloha Shirt by Dale Hope and Gregory Tozian
Here is a great image of the Gothic & Lolita fashion movement in Japan taken around Haloween:
In Gothic & Lolita by Masayuki Yoshinaga and Katuhiku Ishikawa, Phaidon Press
Speaking of which, we have a talk coming up at Chelsea Library entitled Alice and the pirates: Alice in Wonderland and the dark and the cute in Japanese Fashion. Josephine Rout from the V&A will be looking at how Alice has influenced Japanese sub-culture, and especially the iconic ‘Lolita look’ which developed in Japan in the 1980s.
The talk will be on Thursday 19 November, 6pm to 7.30pm at Chelsea Library.
Make sure that you come along!
Mario Testino captured a great anarchic look for Vogue in 2006 to take dressing up inspiration from!
And if you have a pet, how about getting them dressed up for Haloween? We enjoyed looking through a book that we found of different outfits for your dog:
The Summer Reading Challenge was enjoyed immensely by all who took part. The craft sessions were popular and everyone had fun making paper dolls, sunflowers, crowns and paper planes.
Our crafts were tied in with the Summer Reading Challenges theme of Record Breakers, so longest paper chain, tallest sunflower etc.
Well done to everybody who read all six books and collected their medals and certificates!
Another craft that proved fun was our regular Saturday craft (2nd Saturday of the month). We read a book about dinosaurs and then made a great squishy dinosaur T-Rex.
One of the best events we had at Kensal this year was our Dormouse Tea Party, to celebrate 150 years of Alice in Wonderland.
It really was enchanting, with a beautifully decorated table and fun healthy food. We had some nice comments from the parents and children who attended.
The children listened to some of Alice in Wonderland then we had some games and activities like making our own bunny ears, colouring in red roses and making our own decorated teacup pictures to stick on our drinking cups.
The children then sat down for tea, sandwiches, fruit tarts (with a squeeze of naughty cream) and fruit kebabs and juice.
We had five copies of Alice in Wonderland chapter books and five copies of Alice in Wonderland picture books to give away which were much appreciated.
Also we had a selection of quirky hats which was a lot of fun with everybody trying on different hats!
And look at the beautiful autumn wreaths we made for our Saturday craft session, gorgeous colours.
And of course our very spooky Halloween display! I see Ken the Kensal spider has been busy over the summer eating lots of flies. He loves our display so much he’s decided to hang around…..!
Many children will be learning about Halloween (also called All Hallows’ Eve), which takes place on October 31, as well as Bonfire Night, on November 5. Take a look at our Spotlights on each of these topics to help with homework and school projects!
Children can read the Britannica article about Halloween, and check out the Activity Centre where there are printable puzzles and games, including colouring pages, word searches, crosswords, a quiz and even a step-by-step guide on how to make a witch’s hat. Please click here to visit Britannica’s Halloween article.
On November 5, bonfires have been lit across the country for over 400 years – but why? We have an interesting article about the details of Guy Fawkes and the gun powder plot, plus many activities and colouring to keep children entertained! Please click here for Britannica’s spotlight on Guy Fawkes.
(The above links will take you to straight to the activity pages with no need to log in.)
Britannica Junior contains comprehensive content for primary school children aged 5-11. Whether it is frogs or physics, gardening or geography, Britannica Online Library Edition covers it all.
To search the full Library edition of Britannica you will need a Kensington & Chelsea Library card and your PIN/password. There are three editions – for children, select Encyclopedia Britannica Junior for a simplified version of the subject.
As the air chills and the leaves dance in the wind, the local children seek solace in our cosy Kensal Library and a lot of them seem to be planning their Hallowe’en costumes and organising trick-or-treat routes. We’re planning a craft session (today at 4pm) for this devilish celebration. Ghouls, demons and toilet-paper-covered mummies are all invited.
I vamped up the display in orange and black while our young customers helped me choose the most spine-tingling reads, and what a choice there was! This got me reminiscing about some of my all-time favourites with a scare factor that will have you checking under the bed for monsters.
So, reader, in the words of the author of my first book, I urge you to beware; you’re in for a scare.
1. Please don’t feed the vampire (give yourself Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine
If you’re in your 20s like me there’s a good chance your nightmares were littered with Goosebumps references. Other greats include Say Cheese and Die and Secret Agent Grandma.
You’re invited to choose from over 20 spooky endings. In this book you buy something called ‘vampire in a can’. At first you think it’s just a normal vampire costume, but then you notice a packet in the bottom of the can labelled ‘DANGER–KEEP AWAY!’ It’s compelling and there’s the thrill of knowing you control the outcome adds to the suspense.
2. Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma’s door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, “May I come in?”
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
“He’s going to eat me up!” she cried.
In this collection of poems Dahl lends his trademark dark humour to reworkings of fairy tales. If you think Little Red Riding is meek and scared of the big bad wolf this time then you are in for a shock.
3. The Hound of the Baskerville by Arthur Conan-Doyle
In this spooky Sherlock Holmes crime novel set largely on Dartmoor in Devon, Watson tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound of supernatural origin.
This was the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes after his intended death in The Final Problem’, and the success of The Hound of the Baskervilles led to the character’s eventual revival.
4. The Sandmanseries by Neil Gaiman
New York Times’ best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman creates an impressive tale of the powerful magical forces that exist beyond life, death and far off into other worlds by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with the everyday experiences of seemingly normal people. The stories and lives of a colourful array of characters weave throughout this dark fantasy published by DC and comprising ten volumes.
5. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
In the Gothic classic The Turn of the Screw Henry James tells the story of a young governess who moves to a large, secluded house to look after two young orphans. She soon starts to see apparitions of the former governess who has died amid scandalous rumours, and the dead servant who had terrorized the house before her arrival. Much of the suspense is ambiguous; we do not know if the ghosts are a very real evil, or if they mark the downward mental spiral of the protagonist. It is difficult to determine the ongoing evil which is hinted at in the book, and this unease and confusion make for a tense read. The unresolved explanation leaves the reader with many unanswered questions; these left a lasting impression on me. Was the evil real or a delusion? It definitely helps that the two young orphans are decidedly creepy; we all know the use of terrifying children is a classic go-to tool in any horror story.
Hello to you all from our three libraries in the north.
Everyone’s a winner at North Kensington Library
The Summer Reading Challenge came to an end 14 September 2013 and this was our most successful challenge yet. Between the three libraries of Kensal, North Kensington and Notting Hill Gate we had nearly 150 children complete the challenge. To do this they had to read 6 books over the summer holiday period. To celebrate the children’s success we organised a party at North Kensington Library on Saturday 5 October. 47 children and 21 adults attended.
We opened the party with a Creepy House Story and spooky music. There were some warm up games and then the children completed a Creepy House Treasure Hunt where they had to find all the Creepy House characters which were hidden all around the library. To make it more interesting I had one over my ID card. It took a long time before anyone noticed and then I was swamped by children as the message got out.
Ishwari, one of our Senior Customer Services Assistants led a pairs game where the children were given the name of a famous personality or character and then had to introduce themselves to the other children until they found their partner – e.g. Wallace & Grommit, Batman & Robin, Dennis the Menace and Gnasher. It was great fun.
All the children received prizes, sweets and refreshments were presented with a signed Creepy House completers certificate. I’m not sure who had the most fun, whether it was the children or the staff who threw themselves into the party with much energy and enthusiasm. Even some of the parents joined in the fun.
Messy but fun at Notting Hill Gate Library!
The Notting Hill Gate Library’s story and craft session this month was fun and messy. The kids dressed up in their favourite characters and then had loads of fun playing with our games. We had a cowboy who wasn’t feeling very well and had to pay a visit to the nurse…
The kids then made some super flying aeroplanes which they flew all over the library, A few times we had to duck so we didn’t get hit :$
Fancy dress and games are available at Notting Hill Gate Library every school holiday where the kids can come in and let their imagination lead them.
Senior Customer Services Assistant
October has been a busy month for Kensal. We celebrated Black History Month and had some great displays as well as lots of customer interest.
Scary spiders at Kensal Library
I had prepared a wonderful Halloween session for our Chatterbooks reading group (for kids aged 8 to 12. The children who came loved the spooky stories and activities and there were plenty of treats to go around, I think I might play some tricks on the children who missed this months meeting!
We have some spooky displays around the library for Halloween and already lots of books have gone from them, we are constantly topping up!
On Thursday 31st October we are having a half term event and I have prepared a great activity to go with our story. We will be attempting to make pom pom spiders and younger members can make their own scary pumpkin faces. So be warned…there will be lots of scary spiders in the North Kensington area!
Chelsea Library is no stranger to supernatural activity. A lady in crinolines has been spotted by one of the hall keepers, Patrick, floating between the stacks – she may be a normal reader but a clue to her identity is linked to the penny farthing propped up in the mind/body/spirit section. In keeping with the ghostly theme we held a Halloween craft event in the children’s library where children listened to scary stories and then made ghosts, bats and pumpkin face masks. Senior Customer Services Assistant Sue Couteux, came into her own adding straws to the models so the masks could be held up and waved in parents’ faces. The event was bustling and very well attended – twenty two adults and 37 children. It may have been 38 but I don’t think we can count the little boy in knickerbockers who was left behind. A member of staff called the number on his library card—it was only three digits— the house no longer existed.
The children’s library was given an autumnal face lift with a display of tree, clouds and a particularly ferocious squirrel brilliantly designed by Customer Service Assistants, Ewis and Amy. The autumn craft event was an opportunity for children to release their inner pagan and design a green man style face mask. Sue designed plates decorated with cobwebs catching all the seasonal goodies (nuts, berries, mushrooms, squirrels – cut out, coloured in and collaged). We also made a leaf man out of leaves and twigs staff collected during their lunch hour in Battersea Park. The Leaf Man proved very popular with both children and mums and dads. 52 people attended.
Chelsea Library’s Halloween wall
With the totem pole flashing on and off we erected an erotica display, In Between the Sheets in the main library. It has generated a lot of interest. One reader said ‘how disgusting’ and strode straight across to confirm her opinion. For some reason a book on badgers keeps appearing next to Nabokov’s Lolita notebook—no one has yet dared to check it out.
Rob Symmonds, Lending Librarian and Daniel Jeffreys, Customer Services Assistant
We were so impressed with the monthly blog post from our colleagues at Brompton Library that the staff at Kensington Central Library decided we just had to join in!
Each month we’ll tell you about the fantastic services on offer at the central library for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, such as any special events we’ll be holding and we’ll also introduce you to the staff. We hope you’ll enjoy finding out more about Kensington Central Library but please do let us know via the comments section if you’d like us to cover anything else.
Kensington Central Library’s New Lending Librarian
As part of the new Tri-Borough structure Kensington Central Library has a Lending Librarian, Jodie Green.
I look after all lending stock at Kensington Central Library – this means all the items you can borrow from the library such as books, CDs, DVDs, audio books and even eBooks! If we don’t have an item which you think we ought to have in stock, we have stock suggestion books in the adult and children’s libraries- please just speak to a member of staff & they’ll jot it down. Looking for something to read in a hurry? We always have a display of books recommended by our staff, it’s right by the new enquiry desk near the library entrance.
Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Kensington Central Library’s Reading Group
Our group at Kensington Central Library meets in the evening, on the third Monday of each month to discuss their latest read. At the moment, the group benefits from private use of the Local Studies area after it closes, where they can freely enjoy a round table discussion. Attendance averages between 8-11 members, with a good mix of age and gender, which makes for lively debate. It’s sometimes a shame that I have to remind them when the library is closing – whereas I’m sure they’d happily continue into the night! Each month, at the end of the session, the group hand me a list of titles that they wish to read. It’s my job to source as many copies as possible of their preference, in time for the group’s next meeting.
Kensington Central Library’s Reading Group is open to all and welcomes new members. This month (November) the group are reading ‘Cider with Rosie’, by Laurie Lee. It’s not necessary to register – so if you like to talk about books, why not pop along and join in?
Amal Sakr, Senior Customer Services Assistant
Halloween Story and Craft session- Thursday 1st November 2012
Although Halloween was the previous day, the children’s area in Kensington Central Library was home to spider-webs and spooky goings on for the half term story and craft session. A story about a witch’s cat grabbed the attention and imagination of the twenty or so children who attended, inspiring them to decorate a simple cat-shaped mask with spangles, fluff and colours of their choice. A great time was had by all, and with the promise of another story and craft session over the Christmas holidays many will be back again to hear a tale and make something lovely to take home! I was the storyteller and I was helped by 3 other members of library staff and various parents and guardians!
Gemma Baker, Senior Customer Services Assistant
Kensington Central Reference Library: Information Event
I will introduce myself and what I do at Kensington Central Reference Library in the next blog post but I wanted to tell you about a brilliant event that will be happening next week.
On Monday 12th November, 11.00am-6.30pm the Open University will be here. If you haven’t studied with The Open University before, or you have had a few years away from study, this event is for you! Come along for an informal conversation to get answers to your questions about qualifications and modules, study methods and other aspects of learning with The Open University. No appointment necessary- just drop in.
Nina Risoli, Reference Librarian
And a final word from the Customer Services Manager at Kensington Central Library:
I have been involved in the training of the library staff in using the self service kiosks that have recently been installed in the library. This means that staff are able to confidently support customers with the new technology. The new sorter machine which is used to return library items is proving particularly popular with children who are enjoying returning their books, CDs and DVDs this way. We have had lots of positive comments from customers about our new look lending library. The children’s and young people’s library is currently undergoing building works and both our customers and our staff are looking forward to the reopening of it before Christmas. Whilst this space is being made brighter and better, we are still offering a range of children’s stock in our temporary children’s area and continuing with our extremely popular baby rhyme time and storytime sessions.
As the nights draw and autumn leaves begin to fall it is time once again to look at some of the folklore surrounding this time of year.
In our previous folklore post we referred to Punkie night in late October and this time of year is rich in custom and tradition.
The most well know date in the calendar is of course the 31 October. This has a variety of names including Samhain, All Hallows Eve, Apple and Candle Night, Nut Crack Night, Nos Calan Gaeaf (if you are a welsh speaker) more commonly known as Halloween.
In pagan tradition the date marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter, the time of the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. A time of celebrating the harvest, looking forward to the New Year, but also a time when the dead were honoured. Supernatural forces are thought to be stronger than normal and barriers between the living and the dead begin to dissolve and spirits walked abroad.
The date also became important in the Christian calendar as All Hallow’s Eve with celebrations continuing into the festival of All Saints Day (1 November).
Here are a few ideas for Halloween celebrations taken from books in our special collection.
One of the more well known games is to try to bite and get-a-hold of an apple floating in a tub of water or swung on cord in front of the player, usingnothing but your teeth. Good fortune will follow in the coming year if one is caught.
Why not try the Scottish and north country variant by swinging a treacle smeared scone in front of the player instead?
Who will be your partner? Some older games for Halloween involve nuts and fruit. These often involved girls trying to find out who their future husband would be (although I expect it works for both sexes these days!!). Why not try roasting two chestnuts in the fire and give them the names of your potential parners, if they cook well all will be well in your relationship, but if they burst apart the signs are bad.
If you grow your own, pull up a cabbage to see how suitable you partner is – taste the root to see if it indicates a sweet or bitter temperament, and lots of dirt implies they are wealthy.
Trick or Treat? Nowadays this seems more like an American import but the tradition originates from England. In the nineteenth century in both Yorkshire and Scotland the 31 October was known as mischief night. It was customary for young men in the villages to disguise themselves in fantastic costumes, wearing masks or darkening their faces and going from house to house collecting money or gifts of food.
All things spooky
On this night all things supernatural are supposed to occur and the night is chiefly associated with witches and the returning dead
Books and stories Of course there are a number of books, poems and films which have Halloween as a theme, some of which can be found in our libraries. Search our library catalogue for all things Halloween.