During the half-term week, Maida Vale Library had a number of children’s events taking place, including a ‘Scary Scribbles’ competition – encouraging all ages to draw the scariest monster imaginable, and a ‘Horrid Hunt’ word and picture quiz, featuring hidden Halloween images around the library. The week concluded with the most fun had at a library ever: The Halloween Party!
Over 70 guests were in attendance, most dressed in colourful costume, there to enjoy games such as ‘Vampire Whispers’, ‘Pass the pumpkin’ and ‘Poison apple’ – which was certainly a highlight! As were a few of the jokes that the host ‘Count Dracula’ incorporated throughout the evening. These all had a fair bit of audience participation (the host bellowing the question and attendees shouting out in an elated fashion what they thought were the answers!).
Example of these witty nuggets:
‘What is a ghost’s favourite ride at the theme park?
‘What does a ghost use to wash its hair?
The early evening extravaganza also featured the ‘Box of Doom!’ a popular favourite, where children were invited to guess what items were hidden inside the dark, mysterious cavernous container…
In addition, the party was host to a face-painting and portrait photo session with Image Thirst, who provided additional entertainment.
“…it’s so nice to have a safe place where children can come and have a fun time at Halloween”
It was said that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves – staff and volunteers overseeing the mayhem, the adults accompanying and of course the children!
The party organisers are now looking ahead and have started the planning for the (now hotly anticipated) Christmas bash!
Matt (aka Count Dracula)
Paddington Library is lucky enough to have two buildings, one for adults and one especially for children. However, the adult library is visited by parents with children and we set up a small children’s section to look after the needs of our younger visitors when they are in the adult library.
As we approached Halloween we decided to give the children’s area a seasonal makeover with a few extra ‘guests’. The new visitors seem quite happy in their new setting, as you can see from the pictures…
Maida Vale Library had an extremely busy half term with lots of events to keep local children amused.
Especially popular was our bat hunt aimed at all age groups. This went on all week with children tearing around the library looking for hidden bats of all sizes.
Monday kicked off with two craft sessions where we went back to the prehistoric era and made an array of colourful cardboard dinosaurs. Both sessions proved very popular and were well attended with the library echoing to the roars of T.Rex and Brontosaurus!
On Tuesday and Friday we added a seasonal touch to our usual Under 5s’ sessions by having separate craft activities around fallen leaves and the colours of autumn.
On Wednesday morning and afternoon families made witches hats which proved quite tricky.However, the children came up with some great results, decorating the hats with stars, moons and pumpkins.
The highlight of the week was Thursday when we had our fantastic Halloween party. Simon was joined by one of our Summer Reading Challenge volunteers, Kika, and decorated the children’s library with bats, spiders and skeletons.
40 children and 30 adults turned up to play games like pass the pumpkin. The children ran around screaming with excitement and two lucky (or unlucky?) youngsters were wrapped up as living mummies!
The Halloween themed food and drink was devoured by the ghosts and ghoulies who came along. Mysteriously they then disappeared into the night to terrorise the neighbourhood…
Veronica and her daughter Sylvia make a special point of visiting Maida Vale and Pimlico Libraries when they visit twice a year from their home in France. Veronica told Ben Walsh, Area Manager, that events like this encouraged children to think of libraries as a fun place to be and that these types of events just don’t happen in rural libraries in France. We’ll hope to see Sylvia and lots of other children at Christmas when the fun will start again!
An excellent and terrifying adaptation of the greatest vampire story ever told is soon to be performed in two of Westminster’s libraries.
The Open Book Theatre Company presents an immersive, site-specific production of Dracula that remains true to Bram Stoker’s gothic masterpiece. An ensemble cast (seen rehearsing above) uses inventive performance and original music to create a haunting theatrical work that will transform some of London’s most beautiful libraries this Halloween…
Open Book is a unique, non-profit theatre company.
Their mission statement is to stage theatrical interpretations of classic novels in library spaces, strengthening links between libraries and their communities and inspiring a new generation of readers and theatre-goers.
Not to be missed and do not worry, “there are kisses for us ALL.”
Not suitable for young children OR the faint hearted.
Performances: Saturday 26 October and Saturday 2 November at Westminster Reference Library; Monday 28 October at Victoria Library. For tickets and further information: http://openbooktheatre.ticketsource.co.uk
Hallowe’en events at Victoria Library started early in the half-term week with ‘Ghostly Stories by candlelight’. The events room was decked out with cobwebs, spiders and a witch. Several children came along, some with parents, and chose which stories they wanted from scrolls in the witch’s box. They also had the chance to taste, if they were brave enough, either ‘Dracula’s Blood’* or ‘Bat Squash’*. One little boy tried both and has not been seen in the library since…
On Wednesday we had over 27 children making mobile spiders with Jenny (assisted by Georgina). Hairy legs, googly eyes and glitter everywhere – and that was just the members of staff!
On the Friday we made more than 25 Hallowe’en masks and headdresses, some of which are in the photograph. The templates proved popular enough that several parents took home extras for their other children.
This is just a sample of the things that are on offer in the children’s libraries throughout the borough during holiday periods – there’ll be even more happening at Christmas, so come along and get stuck in at your local library! And you don’t need to wait for the school holidays – there are sessions for under 5s, book groups, homework clubs and more throughout the year.
* Tomato Juice or Cranberry juice
There are Hallowe’en-themed events throughout half-term in the children’s libraries across the City of Westminster, and now Britannica Online have got in on the act, producing a special ‘Spotlight on Halloween’ web page with lots of information and activities – colouring, puzzles & downloadable pictures.
It’s available to everyone, but also offers you the opportunity to ‘Join Britannica’, which gives you access to an enormous resource, brilliant for homework and with different versions for different age groups. But this is not an advertisement (well, not for you to ‘join Britannica’ anyway) – if you’re a Westminster Libraries member, you’ve already joined!
Just go to one of the Encyclopaedia Britannica links on our website (they’re all over the place – on the 24/7 Library, the Gateway, and Webtastic!), choose which version you want to use and type in your library membership card number. Homework? Sorted!