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Halloween Guide and Ideas


Featured Halloween Articles Featured Articles
The latest Halloween articles from the staff of Halloween Online.
Halloween Costumes Halloween Costumes
Halloween Costumes, Halloween Masks and Makeup ideas.
Halloween Decorations Halloween Decorations
Halloween decorations you can make or buy for the spookiest night.
Halloween Recipes Halloween Recipes
Our cookbook filled with Halloween recipes, tasty tricks and treats.
Halloween Games Halloween Games
Spooky Halloween games adaptable for both kid's and adults.
Halloween Party Planning Halloween Party
Halloween Party planning and ideas for your festivities.
Halloween Safety Guide Halloween Safety
afety information, tips and suggestions for a safe Halloween.
Halloween Tips 101 Halloween Tips
That's right, 101 great Halloween tips, ideas and suggestions!
Halloween Props & Special FX Halloween Props
Spooky Special Effects and Props for your Halloween haunt.
Pumpkin Carving Pumpkin Carving
Pumpkin carving tips for carving your Halloween Jack O' Lanterns.
Halloween Music & Movie Reviews Movies & Music
Suggestions for the best Halloween music and Halloween movies.
Halloween Crafts Halloween Crafts
Halloween craft ideas and instructions for lots of Halloween fun.
High Tech Halloween High-Tech Halloween
Ghostly gadgets for your computer, cell-phone, Palm Pilot and more!
Halloween Guide and Ideas
Halloween Guide and Ideas


Lesley Pratt Bannatyne is an American author who writes extensively on the subject of Halloween, especially its history, literature, and contemporary celebration.

As one of the nation's foremost authorities on Halloween, Lesley Bannatyne has shared her vast knowledge of the holiday by contributing to the World Book Encyclopedia entry for Halloween, has appeared in numerous television specials including the 1997 History Channel (A&E) documentary “The Haunted History of Halloween” and will be featured in the update, “The (new) Haunted History of Halloween”.

Her latest book, "Halloween Nation. Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night", was published in 2011 and is available at amazon.com.

We had a chance to chat with Lesley about her love of Halloween. A genuinely warm person who loves Halloween as much as we do, here's what she had to say:

Halloween Online: How did you become so interested in Halloween?

Lesley: I've always been a bit of a Halloween nerd and I've never lost the thrill of anticipation that comes around mid-October when the night comes early and the temperature drops. But my research didn't really start until I was looking for material on Halloween for a party and I discovered that you couldn't find the whole Halloween story in any one place (this would be the late 80s; there were other history books - like the Linton's and Edna Kelly's, and more modern research by folklorist Jack Santino and sociologists Joel Best and Sylvia Grider - but no straight beginning-to-end story of American Halloween for a general public). As luck would have it the NY Publishing House Facts on File was looking for holiday books. They had Election Day and Halloween available. I wrote a proposal, sold the book, and spent the next three years researching and writing it (Halloween. An American Holiday, An American History).

Then I dropped down the rabbit hole. Like any subject, the more you learn about something the more interesting it gets. I suppose it could have been rocket science or tree-ring dating, but it was Halloween for me. I wrote a Halloween How-To (2001), an anthology of Halloween literature called A Halloween Reader (2004) and then a children's book, Witches' Night Before Halloween (2007). Last spring I finished Halloween Nation. Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night, which will be out in early 2011.

Halloween Online: What kind of Halloween celebrating did you do as a child?

Lesley: I trick or treated of course, and with my friends out alone at night (very, very fun). And there may be a few houses in suburban Connecticut still digging the toilet paper out of their trees.

Halloween Online: What kind of Halloween celebrating do you do today?

Lesley: I start in my yard around October 1st. First come the legs sticking out of the ground, then the
dummies up on the roof, the spiders in the garden, the crime scene tape around the fence. On Halloween night the chandelier and ghosts comes out, the soundtrack kicks on, and I release the fog. Oh, and I give out full-size candy bars. When I can't be home, I visit Halloween destinations, like the N.Y. Village Halloween parade, where I marched between 30 Richard Simmonses and a flat bed truck full of witches in bikinis two years ago.

Halloween Online:  How did you become a Halloween folklorist/historian?

Lesley:  Folklore and theater have always been passions of mine and much of my journalism involved those fields (I see a lot of theater in Halloween!). For the past 23 years, I've collected everything and anything I can, research-wise, on the holiday and related areas: Celtic literature, witchcraft studies, ghosts, Day of the Dead, etc.). I've also had three great inspirations to help me: the libraries I have access to are beyond amazing; the people I've talked with and interviewed (that is, Halloween people) are the nicest, most interesting, and most generous souls I know; and there are other authors whose
work is inspiring, for example the books of British historian Ronald Hutton (and many others!).

You can visit her web site here

Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History.
The fastest-growing holiday in America may now claim its very own definitive history. Discover the fascinating and diverse origins of the traditions, celebrations, and superstitions surrounding All Hallow's Eve in the only book that tells the whole story.

Halloween, which began more than 2,000 years ago in ancient Druidic and pagan celebrations, has drawn from the traditions of various American ethnic groups to evolve into its modern incarnation.

Young readers and adults alike will enjoy learning the odd facts about pumpkins, witches, and ghosts.

This is a truly great read for anyone who loves Halloween and wants not only the facts but all the interesting history that goes along with the creepiest, scariest, most entertaining night of the year!

A Halloween How-To: Costumes, Parties, Decorations and Destinations.
In this entertaining romp, Ms. Bannatyne discusses Halloween trends past and present, dissecting such fun topics as costumes, recipes, movies, parties, myths and expeditions (Salem or bust!). She even closes with an up-to-the-minute chapter on "what's next" in Halloween observance. (According to the author, disguising yourself as a pillowcase ghost is so very last year, but you can't go wrong with classic monsters such as vampires and witches.)

Ms. Bannatyne also addresses some of the myths surrounding Halloween. Ms. Bannatyne claims, for example, that the razor-blades-in-apples-scare is merely an urban legend with no basis in fact, which is a fact that Halloween Online tracked down years ago.

You can believe what you read in this book!

A Halloween Reader. An Anthology of Poems, Stories and Plays.
Spooky writing for a literary celebration.

This anthology contains the works of writers from the sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries who evoke the night to set a scene, twist a plot, or explain something inexplicable, like madness or time travel.

Here is Halloween as it was imagined: a joyous time for games and storytelling, a portentous time to make amends and wishes, a solemn time to remember the dead.

Included are the works of Robert Burns, H. P. Lovecraft, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and many more. Great for reading alone on a dark and stormy night or around a Halloween campfire to scare the kiddies!

Witches’ Night before Halloween.
A group of witches prepares the nearby town for the visit of their offspring on Halloween. They decorate the buildings with cobwebs and dribble green slime down "every porch stair." Of course, lots of black bats, newts and spiders figure into their plans.

With visions of moist, creeping things in their heads" their parents happily call on ghosties, skeletons, zombies, and banshees to help with the preparations. They even take rather strikingly-depicted photographs of their antics before they head home to rouse the sleeping witchlings, who are exhorted to fly off "toward the just-risen moon." Of course, the story ends with the young witches' exhortation: "Happy Halloween to all and to all a good fright!"



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