SLC Book Boy

the storytime ventures of a children's librarian

Haunted Library – a Halloween party

Welcome to the Haunted Library! We wanted to include activites for teens and adults, but our audience really ended up being elementary age for the most part, and the activites still worked great for them!

Ghostly Greeter:
One of our librarians has this awesome set-up with a curtained box, black lights, and a ghost puppet who sang and told jokes as patrons came in or left the party. The ghost wasn’t very good at holding still though!

The Witch’s Kitchen:
We had cider, popcorn filled ‘witch’s hands’ and cake bites donated from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. A lovely little spread.

Guessing Jars:
We had a jar of bubble gum and worms, which the winner got to take home, and a jar of ‘blood’ (made from marachino cherry juice and ketchup). The closest guess for the drops of blood got to keep the zombie gnome.

Paper Pumpkin Patch:
We had strips of paper with holes punched in them for people to threat a pipe cleaner through. There was also black paper and scissors so people could glue on a face to jack-o-lantern their pumpkins, but our examples don’t show that.

Tarot Reading Rooms:
One of our study rooms had a staff member reading cards, and this one was open with simple instructions for reading them yourself or for a friend.

Quiet in the Library:
We had a wheel patrons could spin, and they had to do whatever challenege it landed on without making a sound! (This could also be done by drawing cards if you aren’t able to get/make a spinner) Walking across the LEGO, seen to the right, without shoes was one of the more popular challenges.

This is the spinner we made from a lazy susan, a spare board, and some nails. There are lots of instructables online you can look up, ours was easier than most because the base of the lazy susan already had a hole in it, we could just slip it onto a screw.

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Creepy Eyes Craft:
Maybe our most popular craft, you cut out the eyes of the image, then tape a strip with eyes behind it, folded so that it stands away from the page.

Festive Fingernails:
We had a nail artist painting the full two hours, everyone loved it!

Photo Booth:
We had a photographer on hand to capture all the awesome costumes! Here you can see the team that put it all together.

Word Games:
We had a sheet for these Mad-Libs (which all used the same words, in case people wanted to spend more time reading than writing) and a page of Scary Synonyms. You can see the full text for both at the bottom of this post!


In our downstairs meeting room, we had the activites geared for kids,
though everyone really ended up doing everything. =]

Tangled Tree Treat Bags:
Use scissors to cut strips in the top of the bag, then twist them to make tangled branches. Use markers to decorate them with faces or creatures. I wanted this to be very simple, but with the option to spend more time decorating.

Pin the Wart on the Witch:
Pull the hat down over your eyes for this adaptation of the traditional donkey game.

Ghost Gobble:
The ghosts are hungry! We had these ‘snowballs’ on hand, and they made perfect ghost food!

Corn Cob Bowling:
Our corn cobs were water bottles covered in bubble wrap and painted. They looked great, but the paint came off and made a terrible mess! We used pumpins from the craft store to knock them over.

The Monster March:
The kids walked around while music played, and when it stopped they made the noise of whatever monster they were on. Witches cackle, monsters moan, werewolfs howl, and ghosts go Boo!

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Spider Tunnel:
Rather than doing the traditional maze this year, we had web-like fabric in a tube for the kids to crawel through, and they loved it!

Spider Pops:
Our only real treat were the lollies they got with this craft. Four pipe cleaners wrapped around the stick make a spider! Though they would have been much cuter with sticky eyes, we opted out.

Our decorations were primarily paper bats that we hung all over them place, as well as a few webs, and these strings of lights that we attached cat faces to. (and our monster entrance, as seen in the banner at the top of the page)

The Word Games:

Mad Libs

Fill in each space with an appropriate word, then read the big pages with your words in the matching spaces!
1. A kind of weather

2. Name of a town

3. Halloween Costume

4. Another Halloween Costume

5. Character from a book

6. A greeting

7. An emotion

8. Something you own

9. Something to eat

10. Something you like

Trick or Treat

On a ___1___ Halloween in the town of ___2___, I was going to go trick or treating. I decided to dress up as a ___3___ but everyone thought I would scare people, so I decided to dress up as a ___4___ instead. I looked great! The first door I knocked on turned out to be the home of ___5___. They opened the door and said “___6___”. I tried to say “Trick or Treat” but I was very ___7___.  ___5___ said “Come in”. But I ran as fast as I could back home and hid under my ___8___. I didn’t get any ___9___ or ___10___ for Halloween that year.


The Visitor

I was trying to figure out how to get some ___10___, I’d run all out! I sat in the kitchen eating some ___9___ as I thought of a plan. My ___8___crashed to the floor in the other room. What happened? I went to see, and a ___7___ monster was climbing in through the window! “___6___” I said, then hurried out of the room and locked the door, but the monster was trying to get through! I grabbed my phone and called ___5___. As soon as they picked up I said “No time for ___6___s, get over here and help me!” They brought our superhero costumes, and we got suited up. I was a ___4___ and ___5___ was a ___3___. Then we opened the door and screamed at that monster! It was so terrified it disappeared in a flash. I don’t think it’ll show its face in ___2___ anymore. I felt like I could do anything, so I ran out into the ___1___ day, all the way to the store, and got myself some ___10___.


Pumpkin Carving

I just found the perfect pumpkin, even though it was a pretty ___1___ day in the pumpkin patch. Now I can make the best Jack-o-lantern in ___2___! But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I tried to carve a ___3___ but it ended up looking more like a ___4___. Maybe I wasn’t going to win the carving contest after all, especially with ___5___ as the judge. But then I heard something. “___6___”. It came from my pumpkin, it was alive! Then it said, “I was so ___7___ in that pumpkin patch. But now I have a mouth to talk with. Thank you!” Then it was time! I put the pumpkin on my ___8___ and brought them to the contest. My Jack-o-lantern made ___5___ laugh when it ate their ___9___s, and I won first prize! A big box of ___10___.

Scary Synonyms
Can you name the horror movies by their synonymous titles?
Example: Concluding Journey’s End is Final Destination

1. Drowsy Empty Feeling
2. Tormenting Hallucination on a Public Thoroughfare with a Shade Tree
3. Craggy Terrifying Image Presentation
4. Horrific Vision Preceding an Occasion for Exchanging Gifts
5. Skeletal Newlywed
6. Herbal Infant
7. First Light of the Expired
8. Formal Senior Gala After Dark
9. Gentle Young Man with Cutting Appendages
10. Dark Hours of Animated Cadavers
11. Absence of Auditory Effect Produced by Young Woolen Mammals
12. Shiny Insect Secretion
13. Abnormal, Canine-like U.S. Carnivore in England’s Capital

  1. Sleepy Hollow                                       
  2. Nightmare on Elm Street                     
  3. Rocky Horror Picture Show                
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas          
  5. Corpse Bride                                   
  6. Rosemary’s Baby                            
  7. Dawn of the Dead
  8. Prom Night
  9. Edward Scissorhands
  10. Night of the Living Dead
  11. Silence of the Lambs
  12. Beetlejuice
  13. An American Werewolf in London
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Humbug Witch

adapted from the story by Lorna Balian

There was this little witch… All of her was little except her nose. That was very Big.She had long, stringy, red hair. It was so long she kept tripping over it. She wore a slightly squashed, tall, black, pointed hat like Witches always wear, orange gloves, a handknit black wool shawl, an old plaid apron, and funny-looking black shoes with gold buckles on them.

She had a good sturdy broom, and a black cat named Fred.

You can see for yourself…she was truly a frightening-looking, Horrible, Witchy, Witch!

But… when she tried to Do things they never worked the way they were supposed to for witches.

Like when she wanted to laugh wickedly and scare everyone it never soudned “Cackle-Cackle-Cackle.” It always sounded “Giggle-Giggle-Giggle.”

Or when she wanted to go somewhere she would climb on her good sturdy broom and say all sorts of magic words, and wait a few minutes… and Nothing would happen. Nothing at all. The broom would not move an inch.

And when she wanted to turn Fred into an alligator, or a hippopotamus, or a candy bar, and would say all kinds of magic words, and wait… and wait… but Fred just stayed a cat!

When she wanted to cook up a batch of magic potion, she would dump all the very best things in her very best kettle …things like Sour Milk, Molasses, Egg Shells, Apple Peelings, Genuine Rainwater, and Peanut Butter. And she would stir and stir and say all the magic words she could think of.

It never got smoky, or bubbly, or exploded like magic potions are supposed to do.

She finally decided it was just no use! She took off her funny-looking black shoes with the gold buckles.

She took off her plaid apron.

She took off her handknit black wool shawl.

She took off her slightly squashed Tall Black Pointed hat.

She took off her orange gloves.

She took off her long, stringy, red hair.

She took off her mask. And went to bed.

And so did Fred.

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Sign Post

There was a random post across from the reference desk in our Childrens section. I wanted to do something with it for a while, but couldn’t decide just what to do. Finally inspiration struck, it’s a signpost! Now our patrons can always find their way. =]

signpost full

signpost south

signpost north

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What Did You Put In Your Pocket

This not-so-flannel entry is adapted from the book by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers


Here is my lovely clean pocket! It’s a ziplock bag, with felt hot glued to the front (to make it look more pockety) and safety pins holding in onto the apron from the back. I also wore a rubber glove to keep my fingers clean.

Tune: Skip to my Lou

What did you put in your pocket? What did you put in your pocket?

In your pockety, pockety, pocket  early Monday morning?

I put in a tissue, I put in a tissue, a nosy blowsy tissue, early Monday morning!

…should you put used tissue in your pocket? No? Oh!

(Continue with other days of the week and items. Tuesday-Crumbly Tumbly Dirt, Wednesday-Sippy Drippy Juice, Thursday-Swirly Twirly Spaghetti, Friday-Snipped and Clipped Hair, Saturday-Ooey Gooey Lotion, Sunday-Trendy Bendy Fingers) 



I changed the items from the book to fit what I could easy get a hold of. It worked great! The lotion seemed to get the biggest Eww! which surprised me. 


The aftermath of the activity. During one of the programs a child asked to do it again! (you can see my glove in this shot, it stayed in the bag). 

This weeks Flannel Friday is hosted by Libraryland

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Five Turkeys

(Have 5 turkeys on the board. )

Inspired by a post on ALCS


Five turkeys were getting quite nervous.
Thanksgiving Day soon would be back.
So one turkey put on a duck suit,
And now he says, “Gobble, quack, quack!”

Four turkeys were getting quite nervous,
Thanksgiving was coming, not going.
So one little turkey put on a pig suit,
And now he says ‘gobble, oink, oink.’
(Who knew there is officially no rhyme for oink!)


Three turkeys were getting quite nervous,
Thanksgiving was in just a week.
So one turkey put on a mouse suit,
And now he says ‘gobble, squeak, squeak.’

Two turkeys were getting quite nervous,
But one said ‘I know what to do!’
So that turkey put on a cow suit,
And now he says ‘gobble, moo, moo.’

One turkey was getting quite nervous,
He  said, I can’t take any more!
So that turkey put on a lion suit
And now he says ‘gobble, roar, roar!’


(The cow lost it’s tail, and I hadn’t replaced it when the pics were taken) =\

This weeks Flannel Friday is hosted by What is Bridget Reading?


Little Library Play Area

I just finished a new play aspect for our library branch.

We got a new sorting system, which made me think that kids might enjoy playing librarian, and after I started the project one of our little patrons said that they wanted to be a librarian when they grew up. I figured it’d be a worthwhile project.


There is a ‘Book Drop’ that’s really a mailbox play set that I re-purposed, and a little shelf unit where the little books live.


The books are very simple. I printed them out, and then laminated them with a piece of cardstock between the pages as the front and back cover. There is a small spot of sticky back velcro to keep the books closed.

I also have on display some suggestions of how to use the new play area.

Do you know your letters? Name the letters you know as you put them in the book drop.

Can you put them in order? Take the little books out, and organize them on the shelf.

Can you think of words? Open the book to see a word that starts with it’s letter!

Hopefully the kids will appreciate it! =]


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What can I wear for Halloween? (Charlie and Lola)

(Since my co-worker and I are going to be Charlie and Lola for Halloween storytime, we figured we ought to have them as part of the program. This is my adaptation from the TV series. The pieces are made from construction paper, and will be used puppet-like with the costume bits stuck on with double sided tape.)


I have this little sister Lola



She’s small and very funny. Tomorrow night is Halloween so there’s going to be a special party and we’ll all wear Halloween costumes.

-What are you going to dress up as Charlie?

I’m going as a wizard!

-Guess what I’m going as Charlie! Snap snap

You went as an alligator last year.

-I’m not an alligator, I’m a crocodile. Crocodiles are more scary and spooky than alligators.

You can’t go in the same costume.

-I’ll have to think of something else.

You could be a wicked witch.


-Everybody will be going as a wicked witch, Charlie. I want to go as something different.

How about a wiggly spider.


-Ummm, I’m not sure about spiders Charlie.

You could be a sea monster.


-Too slimy!

How about a bony skeleton Lola!


-Too scary Charlie! Umm, I don’t know what to go as. 

You’ll think of something Lola, should we go check on our surprise?

-Oh Yes, Charlie!


-That is actually the biggest pumpkin I have every seen. It is big and orangy as the sun!

It will be the best jack-o-lantern in all of Halloween!

-I can’t believe we grew this from a tiny little seed.

Now It’s time to carry it inside, so we can carve the pumpkin face!

-It will be the halloweniest thing at the party.

Lift it carefully, carefully, no wobbling.


-Oh, it’s too heavy Charlie! I’m dropping it!


Oh no! Now our Halloween surprise is ruined. It won’t be a Halloween party without a jack-o-lantern.

-It doesn’t matter, I haven’t got a costume anyway. Ohh! I’ve just had the most brilliant idea! Back in a  bit Charlie.


-Now we can have a jack-o-lantern, and I have a costume!

You’ll be the biggest orangyest pumpkin in the whole of Halloween! That’s definitely the best dressing up costume.

This Flannel Friday is hosted by storytime katie

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Five Little Ghosties

Based on the popular Chocolate Chip Ghost, I decided to put the story to rhyme and make it a counting as well as color identification activity.

(Sandytoesandpopsicles has a fantastically adorable printable version)


Five little ghosties shining clean and white,

Waiting for their mother to bring dinner for the night.

One little ghost said ‘I’m too hungry to wait!’

Grabbed up some ____ and that is what it ate.

It swallowed it all down into its hungry tum.

Do you know what color did that ghost did become?

Count down remaining ghosts end with…


One mother ghostie, shining clean and white,

Brought home to her little ones dinner for the night.

When she saw the colors her ghosts had become,

She knew just what do to, and put into their tums,

A tall glass of milk, and a marshmallow or three.

Then her little ghosties were as white as white could be!


(rather than making matching felt food, I just used images we have for another activity.)

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Bone Soup

modified from the story by Cambria Evans

I’ve use this at a couple of outreaches, if the group it small they love holding the ingredients of the soup and adding them to the pot. The folder aspect makes it very portable!


The Finnigin piece was made from a couple of folders, colored paper, and felt. I cut a black base for the top jaw, and covered it with white paper which I laminated, then glued on the teeth and eyes. The inside of a folder was the overall base, with a slit and lower mouth cut out for the upper jaw to slide through. I added an upper body, the lower jaw and some hands inside the folder. Then I just glued on another piece for the pot and a circle of green felt for the swamp water! All the soup ingredients are felt pieces that can stay on the ‘swamp water’.

Being nothing more than skin and bone, Finnigin had to live by his wits. He was known across the land for having a ravenous appetite. Everyone knew that wherever Finnigin went, he brought his gigantic cooking pot, and his gigantic eating mouth.


A town soon heard that Finnigin was approaching, and they were not happy about it. In a panic the witch booby-trapped her jars of eyeballs. The beast locked his bat wings in a cupboard, the zombies put their frog legs in the cellar, and the mommy and other towns-creatures hid all they had to eat.


(these characters were just copied from the book illustrations)

When poor, ever-hungry Finnigin came to town, he was surprised that it looked empty, but even more surprised that there was no feast! Undaunted, he collected wood from the forest and built a fire in the middle of the town square, then filled his gigantic pot with swampy water and set it to boil.

After a while, he took out a magnificent piece of bone, so old the edges were all dried up, and he dropped it right in the cauldron. He stirred the mixture singing

“Bone soup is what I make, a magic bone is all it takes. Boil it long and add some spice bone soup tastes to very nice!”

(Finnigan’s mouth can open and close while he talks and sings)

One by one the creatures came toward Finnigin and the fire.

A little werewolf spoke up “I’ve never heard of bone soup before, but I think I’ll like it.”

“In some places I’ve traveled, it’s considered a delicacy. If only we had some spiders eggs. With spiders eggs, the soup would be very tasty.”

“I have some spiders eggs!” said the little werewolf, and he dumped them into the soup.

“Mmmm, now if only we had some bat wings. Can you imagine the flavor they would add?”

A beast mumbled “I have some stashed away, I suppose I could share them.”

Finnigin added them to the soup, and just as he said, the flavor was wonderful.

“Now, if only we had some frog legs, this soup would be fit for a king!”

The villagers were starting to get excited. “We have frog legs!” the Zombies announced, and soon they were stirred into the broth as well as the witch’s pickled eyeballs, some toenail clipping, dandelions, and dried mouse dropping.


Finnigan declared the soup ready, and everyone enjoyed some. “Yumm!” Then Finnigin opened his gigantic eating mouth and swallowed up the rest of the soup. Sluuuurrpp!


The Finnigin piece was made from a couple of folders, colored paper, and felt. I cut a black base for the top jaw, and covered it with white paper which I laminated, then glued on the teeth and eyes. The inside of a folder was the overall base, with a slit and lower mouth cut out for the upper jaw to slide through. I added an upper body, the lower jaw and some hands inside the folder. Then I just glued on another piece for the pot and a circle of green felt for the swamp water! All the soup ingredients are felt pieces that can stay on the ‘swamp water’.

Thanks to Lisa at Libraryland for hosting this weeks Flannel Friday!


Magic Sneezes

Based on the story Seven Sneezes by by Olga Cabral


Once there was a Dog, a cat, and a rabbit that all lived together. The dog was brown and very big, and had a big voice to go with it. ‘Woof, Woof’. The cat was black with a tiny voice, and tiny ears as well. ‘meow’. And the Rabbit was white, with big fluffy ears.

They were all happy, the Bunny adored his big ears, the cat liked her tiny ones, and the dog was proud of his powerful ‘Woof, Woof!”

One day a boy was walking past, there was some dust blowing in the air and he started sneezing

(I’ll be using my boy puppet for this part, so there isn’t a visual for him.) =]

“Achoo, Kapoo, Haibloo!”

Then he kept on walking, but something strange had happened.

2013-09-16_17-43-27_382  2013-09-16_17-43-34_121

(The rabbit and cat ears are separate pieces that can be switched between the characters)

The black cat had big bunny ears, and the white bunny had tiny little kitty ears.

The dog started laughing, “Oh, you both look so foolish!” but he spoke in the tiny kitty voice!

“Oh, what has happened!” Said the cat, and her voice was the powerful voice of the dog.

“Give me back my ears!” she said to the rabbit.

The rabbit was so upset he just started to hiccup.

“It was hic, the boy! Hic, hic, His sneezes, hic, made us like this, hic, hic. They must be magic Hic sneezes.’

“Well then” said the dog, “let’s find him and make him sneeze again so we’ll be switched back!”

So they set off to find the boy. Soon they came upon a strange bird, with lots of feathers coming out of its head.


(As with the ears, the rooster tail and comb are interchangeable)

“Oh my goodness!” said the dog, “What has happened to you!”

“You look ridiculous” said the cat.

“It isn’t my fault!” the rooster crowed. “I was just pecking in the dirt at the side of the road, when a boy walked by and sneezed! Now my tail is on my head, and my comb is on my bottom.”

The dog spoke up. “We’re looking for the boy, so he’ll sneeze again and put us back how we were, you can come along too.”

So they all continued down the path when,


They heard a sneeze!

“Oh hurry!” Called the cat “That must be the boy!”

But just then something came running toward them.


“Eee! A ghost!” the rooster cried. ‘Run away!”

“Wait please, I’m not a ghost, I’m a pig! Only, I’ve just had all of my beautiful pink sneezed off by a child. I’m so embarrassed.”

“We’ve got to stop him” cried the dog “If we can get him to sneeze again, we’ll be put back the way we should be!”

So they all rushed down the street and found the boy.

“Your sneezes have mixed all of us up!” The dog said, “Please sneeze again so we’ll be fixed.”


“Oh, I’m so sorry about that! My sneezes are magical and cause all sorts of trouble. The only trick is I have to sneeze the same sneeze that caused the trouble in the first place! Let me borrow one of roosters feathers to see if we can fix this.”

So the boy tickled his nose with a feather, and started sneezing.



And the pig got his color back! “Oh thank you!”



And the rooster’s tail went back where it belonged. He was so happy he crowed!

“Achoo, Kapoo, Haibloo!”The ears of the rabbit went back on the rabbit, and the ears of the cat went back on the cat.

“Oh try to say something!” The rabbit said to the dog.

“Woof! Woof!” “meow! We’re all fixed!” the cat said.

So they thanked the boy, and went back home where they lived happily together. The rabbit with his big soft ears, the cat with her tiny ears and voice ‘meow”, and the dog with his big powerful voice.” Woof woof!”


The end

This Flannel Friday is being hosted by Sarah at Read It Again!

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