Kick off the Halloween Season at the Charlestown Branch Library

October 6, 2011
By

The Friends of the Charlestown Branch Library presents Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night with Lesley Bannatyne on Thursday, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m. at the Charlestown Branch Library, 179 Main St

Halloween Nation is the first book to delve into the popular culture of 21st century Halloween through the eyes and words of its celebrants. An illustrated collection of interviews and essays, Halloween Nation looks at what makes Halloween one of America’s most creative and wildly popular contemporary holidays.

“A sophisticated yet playful celebration of all things macabre, morbid and marvelous . . .
Bannatyne makes a great case for celebrating Halloween everyday, all year long. . . It’s an energetic, thorough and breathless salute to everyone’s favorite horror holiday.” (Chris Alexander, editor-in-chief, Fangoria magazine)

It took two years of investigative work for Halloween author Lesley Bannatyne to add a fifth book to her collection. Traveling across the country, she visited and talked with horror fanatics and fang makers, professional haunters, registered mediums, psychologists, and Halloween enthusiasts ranging from NPR’s Garrison Keillor to Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” writer Mike Reiss, to find out what the increasingly popular holiday means to people and how they celebrate it.

Through the course of her research, Bannatyne hunted ghosts with paranormal investigators, participated in a Samhain ritual gathering, World Zombie Day march, the Village Halloween parade, and several off-season gatherings of Halloween fans such as the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention (HAuNTcon). Diving right into the heart of how fear turned into a form of entertainment, she asks: What kind of community does twenty-first-century Halloween create? How does the 21st century relate to Halloween’s icons-ghosts, witches, jack-’o-lanterns, monsters-and what is that makes Halloween so relevant for so many adults today?

About the author:
Lesley Bannatyne is an author who writes on folklore and popular culture. She is also a freelance journalist, covering stories ranging from local druids to relief aid in Bolivia. One of the nation’s foremost authorities on Halloween, Bannatyne has shared her knowledge on television specials for Nickelodeon and the History Channel (“The Haunted History of Halloween”), with Time Magazine, National Geographic, and Slate, and has given talks at venues as diverse as the 2000 Halloween Convergence in New Orleans and the St. Louis Art Museum. She contributed the Halloween article to World Book Encyclopedia. Recently, she, with many brave compatriots, held the Guinness World Record for “Largest Halloween Gathering,” from October 2007-09. www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~bannatyn/

About the Friends of the Charlestown Branch Library:
The Friends of the Charlestown Branch Library was formed in 1953, becoming the second Friends group to organize within the Boston Public Library system.  The Friends schedule four-six evening programs a year, support the Reading is FUNdamental programs for children, and maintain the library’s landscaping.  The mission of the Friends remains today what it was in 1953: to serve as an advocacy and support group for the needs of the Charlestown Branch Library, its staff and users.  (Source: www.charlestownonline.net/libraries.htm)

This event is free and open to everyone, with a book signing and reception following.  For more information: 617-242-1248, www.bpl.org/branches/charlestown.htm.