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Tag: halloween

Halloween Movies to Make You Feel Young Again

Halloween has arrived and Wellington City Libraries has some spooktacular DVDs in the collection for your viewing pleasure and frightful night in.

Relive your childhood Halloween movie-watching ways with some of our favourite picks from our movie collection below. To complete the experience we recommend a plenitude of popcorn and a whole bunch of blankets to hide under. Even better if you can find your old teddy that used to bring you comfort in the dead of the night.

Let the scare fest begin!

image courtesy of amazon.com1. Tim Burton’s The nightmare before Christmas.

“Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween — but alas, they can’t get it quite right.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com2. Corpse bride.

“Set in a 19th century European village, this stop-motion animation feature follows the story of Victor, a young man whicked away to the underworld and wed to a mysterious corpse bride, while his real bride Victoria waits bereft in the land of the living. Though life and the Land of the Dead proves to be a lot more colourful than his strict upbringing, Victor learns that there is nothing in this world – or the next – that can keep him away from his one true love. It’s a tale of optimism, romace and a very lively afterlife, told in classic Burton style.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com3. Paranorman.

“From the makers of Coraline comes the story of Norman, a boy who must use his special powers to save his town from a centuries-old curse. In addition to spooky zombies, he’ll also have to take on unpredictable ghosts, wily witches, and, worst of all, clueless grown-ups. But this young ghoul whisperer will soon find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com4. Gremlins 1 and 2.

“Billy Peltzer’s father buys him a new cuddly pet. But heed these three warnings: Don’t ever get him wet. Keep him away from bright light. And the most important thing, the one thing you must never forget: no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs…never, never feed him after midnight.” (Catalogue). In the sequel, “A Gremlin is captured by a mad scientist, who not only helps it multiply, but gives it the ability to talk.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com5. Addams Family Values.

“It’s love at first fright when Gomez and Morticia welcome a new addition to the Addams household – Pubert, their soft, cuddly, mustachioed boy. As Fester falls hard for voluptuous nanny Debbie Jilinsky, Wednesday and Pugsley discover she’s a black-widow murderess who plans to add Fester to her collection of dead husbands. The family’s future grows even bleaker when the no-good nanny marries Fester and has the kids shipped off to summer camp. But Wednesday still has a Thing or two up her sleeve.” (Catalogue)

6. The Witches (1989) and (2020). image courtesy of amazon.com

In the 1989 version, “Nine-year-old Luke finds that saving the world from witches is a tall order for a boy who has been turned into a mouse.” (Catalogue). In the 2021 version, “The darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world₂s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe, undercover, to carry out her nefarious plans.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com7. Ghostbusters 1 and 2. 

“The original “Ghostbusters” and its sequel teamed comedians Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis with director Ivan Reitman, to tell the story of a trio of paranormal investigators who must save the world from the evil clutches of the supernatural.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com8. The Goonies.

Another oldie but a goodie! Join the Goonies on a swashbuckling adventures! Following a mysterious treasure map into a spectacular underground realm of twisting passages, outrageous booby-traps and a long-lost pirate ship full of golden doubloons, the kids race to stay one step ahead of bumbling bad guys… and a mild-mannered monster with a face only a mother could love. A family adventure classic from start to buccaneering finish.

image courtesy of amazon.com

9. Labyrinth.

“When young Sarah cavalierly wishes that goblins would take her crying baby brother away, she gets her wish. Now, she must confront Gareth – ruler of a mystical world one step removed from reality, master of the goblins who abducted her brother… and creator of the treacherous labyrinth that Sarah must solve in order to make things right.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com10. Coraline.

“A young girl walks through a secret door that she has found in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life, but much better. When her adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents, including the Other Mother, try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home – and save her family.” (Catalogue).

Extra challenge… from beyond the grave!

Get into the Halloween spirit and dance your socks off zombie-style to Thriller by the late but talented Michael Jackson! Hmmm, I wonder if he would be keen to accept the vacancy of Wellington City Libraries’ library ghost?

Did you know? Wellington City Libraries’  Nao Robots, Frank and Stein, (formally known as Red and Blue) can whip out their own dance moves to to Thriller by Michael Jackson. Read more about them here.

Have a safe and happy halloween!

Halloween series: Books about witches

We’ve got a lot books about witches – usually not about the terrible things that green skinned old ladies do when they cackle over cauldrons (although I’m not excluding them) – but about accusations of witchcraft, noble witches and many more besides.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWitch child, Celia Rees

This is not only one of my favourite books about witches, it’s one of my favourite novels full stop. Mary Newbury is a young woman who sees her grandmother executed for witchcraft; seeking safety, she flees to America with the first wave of Puritans. Unfortunately, she finds that suspicion and superstition are as rife in the New World as they were back home. It’s told in diary format. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it to you to read the book: it’s beautifully written, tense and intelligent. It has a raft of awards, but surely a librarian’s recommendation is all the convincing you need. .

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe raging quiet, Sherryl Jordan

A book from a New Zealand author – and a fantastic one at that. Marnie is married off to support her family; unfortunately her husband’s death, a vicious community and her friendship with a man believed to be the local “idiot” result in an accusation of witchcraft. Again, a tense and intelligent novel about the dangers of superstition and fear – but also a tender and unsentimental novel about finding love and happiness in a climate of fear.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSea hearts, Margo Lanagan

I’ve long been a fan of Margo Lanagan – her short story collections Black Juice, Yellowcakes and Red Spikes are probably some of the best we have in the library. So I was pretty excited to find out that she also writes novels. Tender Morsels is amazing, but I’d suggest that Sea Hearts is the one you really want to pick up – well, if you’re looking for books on witches, anyway. Misskaella is a witch (a real one) who has the power to make women from the seals that surround their remote island. Based on the selkie myth, this is a powerful novel about love, magic and consequences.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTripswitch, Gaelyn Gordon

Three orphaned cousins go to live with their sinister aunt and then discover that things (of course) are definitely not as they seem. It’s nice to find a book about a witch in a more modern context – but the fear and horror generated by Aunt Lureene doesn’t lose anything by being removed from a historical setting. I’m always excited to find books by New Zealand authors. Gaelyn Gordon was an excellent writer (she sadly passed away in 1998) and her books deserve to be better known among the new generations of readers.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAkata witch, Nnedi Okorafor

Another modern witch story! Nnedi Okorafor is an award-winning novelist – so I was pretty excited to find this book in our collection! I hadn’t read it before this post, and I’m cursing (hah) myself now: it’s not only a great book that focusses on Nigerian witchcraft. It’s a breath of fresh air, and the heroine, Sunny, is fantastic. She not only has to deal with her burgeoning powers but the difficulties that come with Albinism in Nigeria. This book has won one award and been selected for two more, for good reason. If you only read one book on this list, make it this one.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBaba Yaga’s assistant, Marika McCoola ; illustrated by Emily Carroll.

Baba Yaga’s my favourite witch and Emily Carroll’s my favourite comic book artist so this graphic novel appearing in the new books section was a great surprise. Baba Yaga’s house on chicken feet is pretty iconic but not many people can name a fairy tale with her in it. And this is another modern story about witches! Masha must undergo a series of tests to make sure she survives the witch and her sinister house.Luckily she’s heard a lot of the stories before, which helps her in her battle with the witch. But Baba Yaga has other plans for Masha, too…

Halloween Countdown!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI love Halloween – in my opinion it’s the best holiday of the year. So every week in October I’ll be doing a round up of the best scary fiction, movies, crafts and other interesting bits and pieces. If I have time I might have a chat to the other librarians and get their recommendations as well.

If you’re like me, you want to get your costume and Halloween prep started early – we’ve got some great books on cosplay and other crafts!

Yaya Han is a big name in the cosplay world and she’s edited this great book of photos of amazing cosplayers – great inspiration for taking your halloween costume to the next level. 1000 incredible costume & cosplay ideas displays the best of the best. If you’re not quite at that level yet (like me) then pinterest is a great place to start.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThere are quite a few awesome Halloween crafting books – it was hard to pick just a few! Here are some of my favourites: Artful Halloween, Creating your vintage Halloween and Glitterville’s handmade Halloween. There’s also the AntiCraft, one of my favourite craft books ever.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy these round-ups. You’ll certainly be ready by the time the 31st of October rolls around…

Spooky books for Halloween

Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, it’s kinda fun to have an excuse to dress up and be scary (or scared). Here are some creepy (creppy!), kooky and spooky (spoopy!) books to help you get excited for Halloween, whether you plan to go trick-or-treating or not.

Syndetics book coverThe Halloween tree, Ray Bradbury

“Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin’s.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs

“A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverAnna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake

“For three years, seventeen-year-old Cas Lowood has carried on his father’s work of dispatching the murderous dead, traveling with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat, but everything changes when he meets Anna, a girl unlike any ghost he has faced before.” (Syndetics)



Syndetics book coverThe name of the star, Maureen Johnson.

“Flip-flop-wearing, Cheez Whiz-eating 18-year-old Rory has left her Louisiana home to spend her senior year at an esteemed London school, Wexford. Her arrival, though, is met by a series of grisly murders precisely mirroring the 1888 killings of Jack the Ripper and Wexner is right in the center of Saucy Jack’s stomping grounds. After a near-death experience, Rory finds herself with the ability to see the shades, ghosts drifting about London. This ability brings her to the attention of a squad of young people with similar talents who are working with the authorities to sniff out the copycat killer before the final murder takes place.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverAsylum, Madeleine Roux

“Dan is thrilled to be spending the summer before his senior year at the New Hampshire College Prep program. He doesn’t mind that his dorm, Brookline, was once an asylum for the criminally insane, in fact, he begins exploring the old passageways at night. At first, Dan and his friends think it’s fun to sneak around in the dark and look at old patient records, but soon the things they find begin to frighten them. When people start dying, Dan is convinced that the killer’s identity is buried in his dorm’s darkest history and that his own strange connection to the institution may be the key to stopping the murders.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverPaper valentine, Brenna Yovanoff

“The small-town community Hannah Wagnor grew up in used to feel safe, but now, during a record-breaking July heat wave, a serial killer is targeting young girls. Depressed since her friend Lillian’s death six months earlier, Hannah goes through the motions of daily life, with Lillian’s ghost a constant presence at her side. As more bodies are discovered, Hannah begins to see ghosts of the murdered girls. Investigating the deaths, she begins to wonder how much she really knows about Finny Boone, the cute bad boy she’s known forever but is only just beginning to understand. ” (School Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverLong Lankin, Lindsey Barraclough

“It’s 1958, and sisters Cora and Mimi are unceremoniously dumped by their father into the arms of Aunt Ida, a haunted, solitary woman who lives in the small town of Bryers Guerdon. All is not well in the dank, depressed village to say the least and slowly, with the help of two new friends, the girls begin to turn up ancient and ghostly clues about a vicious child-stealing creature named Long Lankin.” (Booklist)

Halloween Horrors

The spooky season is fast upon us. And to get you in the mood, here are Nicola’s favourite horror and supernatural themed graphic novels. Be warned: some are not for the faint of heart.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDead High Yearbook

High school can be hell; the old axiom is explored during this often gruesome exploration of the pressures of being a teenager. All these stories are drawn by a different artist, and connected by a single conceit: the dead students of a particular high school tell the stories of how they died. The humour’s black as pitch, so it manages to avoid being too depressing. Although if you’re squeamish, you might want to avoid it, as it gets very graphic in some places.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDracula, adapted by Nicky Raven

The original vampire story, condensed and beautifully illustrated. The original novel is an epistolary book, told in a series of documents. It’s a read that rewards the persistent, but this version simplifies the story while keeping the essence of thriller that’s at the heart of the story. I can’t stress enough how gorgeous the art in this book is; the individual pictures appear beside the text, but never overwhelm it. I love this adaptation; of all the graphic novel versions of classics, this one is my favourite.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSalem Brownstone : all along the watchtowers, by John Harris Dunning & Nikhil Singh

A young man is called back to his ancestral pile after the death of his father, only to find that his father wasn’t the man his son thought he was. A nearby circus filled with eccentric characters help him negotiate a strange magical world. The stylised black and white illustrations lend this graphic novel an eerie feel. I’ve never seen a graphic novel quite like it. Absolutely worth a read if you’re looking for horror fantasy that’s utterly unique.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCourtney Crumrin, Volume 1, The Night Things, written & illustrated by Ted Naifeh

A unique take on the “magical girl” trope, this graphic novel has a bit more darkness than many of the others. Courtney is an anti-social teenager who has moved with her parents into her rich uncle’s house. Unfortunately the Crumrins don’t have the best reputation in the wealthy neighbourhood, and Courtney’s attitude doesn’t make it any easier to fit in. There is some foundation to the dark rumours, however: Uncle Aloysius is a magician, and Courtney borrows some of his magic books. However Courtney misuses them, and gets herself into a world of trouble.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWoolvs in the Sitee, by Margaret Wild

Something strange has happened. It is never explained what, but the narrator, Ben believes it to be “the woolvs”. Ben explains, in slightly mangled English, that these “woolvs” have chased off everyone and now “nuthing is rite.” Clearly, something has gone terribly wrong, but Ben isn’t the most reliable of narrators…this book is an eerie read, the text adding to the rough depictions of Ben’s world. While the rest of these graphic novels deal with explicit supernatural threats, the nature of this one is never really clear. It’s both fascinating and chilling.

And with that, Happy Halloween!

Books for Halloween

Halloween is not so spooky in New Zealand, largely on account of the bright, perky evenings and the fact that pumpkin’s not really in season. Here are some book suggestions to fill the void:

The teen blog slightly random-ish list of quality fiction about horror and ghosts.

Some zombie books that are a little bit gruesome.

A list of good Halloween reads from The Horn Book (if the picture books don’t interest you so much, look further down for an excellent selection).

An updated list of recommendations from allhallowsread.com.

Or you can read up about Halloween at history.com.

Scary Books for yoof

Imagine a .pdf titled ‘Neil Gaiman Recommends Scary Books to Give Readers This Halloween’. Imagine no longer! For it is a reality.

Did you like my trick/treat? (The trick is that the .pdf is really, really big.)

Anyway, read the rest of the All Hallow’s Read before … it’s TOO LATE

Who you gonna call?

Anyone who dresses up as a ghost or the ghostbusters this Halloween and goes into a library is a legend…