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Who will you dress up as for Halloween?

By Gretchen Beilfuss Witt

Rowan Public Library

It’s that time again; the time of year when the young and young at heart choose what to be for Halloween. Will they be the latest Disney princess or the darkest Sith Lord, a brain-eating zombie or little Red Riding Hood? When ghouls, ghosts and Marvel heroes populate our streets later this month what mysterious tales will be shared.

In her book “Zombies” of the Creatures of Fantasy young adult series, Amy Hayes describes the increasingly popular phenomenon of zombies. Hayes delves into beginning of the zombie legend with origins in Caribbean voodoo traditions, continuing with creatures from other traditions that resemble zombies, the Draugar from Norse mythology and the Ojibwe tribe’s baykok.

In examining the current status of the zombie in popular culture, she touches on scientific research, movie cult classics and the increasingly trendy “walk of the zombie.”

The first Zombie Walk was held in Sacramento, Calif., to promote a midnight horror film festival in 2001. A few years later, zombie walks were all the rage, drawing crowds of 400-800 in cities across the U.S. celebrating the 2006 remake of the movie “Dawn of the Dead.”

Zombie walks are popular in other countries as well — in 2012, 12,000 people showed up in Santiago while twice that number gathered in Buenos Aires. She rounds out her entertaining narrative by describing types of zombies and how to stop them.

Another book in the Creatures of Fantasy series turns to lighter fare and explains the variations of the “little folk.” They include all the creatures that dwell in the borders of places — the edge of the woods, in the overlap of adjacent worlds. Many among us might describe fairies as petite, female, winged creatures like Tinker Bell in Disney’s “Peter Pan.”

However, fairies can be gnomes, brownies, elves, banshees, leprechauns and other similar characters. The term fairy might come from the French fees which translated to English is “enchanted,” making fairy tales stories of enchanted peoples.

Greg Clinton relays in his book the characteristics and special powers of the fairy, for instance, the control of wealth or time. One such story tells of two fiddlers invited to play for an evening party who find one night’s revel is over 100 years in their own time. Clinton examines the appearance of fairylike creatures in other literature from Tolkien to the elusive Persian/Iranian Peris. Beautifully illustrated, Clinton’s book shares the history of the fairy from changelings to the appearance of fairies in the modern Renaissance Faire.

If your costume selection leans more toward Thor and the Lady Sif, check out “Encyclopedia of Norse and Germanic Folklore, Mythology and Magic” by Claude Lecouteux. It begins with a short explanation of its use and the history of the pantheons of the Germanic world, both Aesir and Vanir.   While the entries define specific terms, many legends and tales are recounted from this lesser known tradition.

For instance, the hammer of Thor, Mjollnir or “The Crusher,” fulfills multiple roles; it is a religious instrument as well as one of battle and in old Germanic law, taking possession of a piece of land involved the throwing of a hammer.

Lecouteux describes the variations of the Wild Hunt, often believed to be about a cult of the dead when the dead can return and the gateway to the otherworld is open. It’s a fun and unusual look at information and illustrations not readily available for the curious reader.

Lego Saturdays:  Legos have been cited for developing creativity, imagination, systematic reasoning and problem solving. The library’s collection will be available for free play or bring your own. 10 a.m-1 p.m., Oct. 22, headquarters.

2016 Bookmark Contest for children: For children 4-11 years old. Entries will be accepted at any library location Oct. 24 through Nov. 5. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place winners in each age group of 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11 years old. See official entry form for more details or contact the Children’s Room at 704-216-8234.

Friends of RPL Fall Book Sale: Today, 1-4 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Spooktacular: Oct. 29, 10 a.m., headquarters. Come and enjoy fun in the Children’s Room — spooky stories and light refreshments.

Spooky Science for Teens: Join us as we look at, create and explore hands-on experiments and activities that will get us in the “spirit” of the Halloween season. It’s science, not scary. All programs 4:30-6 p.m. Oct. 18, headquarters; Oct. 24, East; Oct. 27, South.

Teen Advisory Board: Teens who join this board provide input on the library’s teen programming and selection, as well as discuss current events and issues. Meets once a month at each library location from 4:30-5:30 p.m. TAB members can count their hours of participation towards school community service requirements. Oct. 25, headquarters.

Annual Fall Photowalk: Oct. 22, 10:20 a.m.-noon. Bring your digital camera/phone to take photos together in Historic Gold Hill at the E.H. Montgomery General Store (770 Saint Stephens Church Road). The walk usually ends around noon, but feel free to linger in the village and plan to explore, Morgan Ridge Vineyards is nearby. Registration is requested. Call Paul Birkhead at 704-216-8242 or email paul.birkhead@rowancountync.gov. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes and charge your camera/phone. If it rains, Photowalk is cancelled, no rain date.

Evening o’ Fun & Treats: Monday, Oct. 31, 5:30 p.m. East branch, Rockwell. Enjoy a seasonal film showing and popcorn and lemonade. Costumes welcome but not required. Trick-or-treaters are welcome to stop by the upstairs reference desk for treats – no tricks allowed. All ages are welcome; this event is free and open to the public.

Healthy Living Series: Oct. 17, 10 a.m.-noon, South Regional, China Grove. Final segment — improving human health through foods with flavor and function. The Healthy Living Cooking Series, offered by N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute, focuses on disease prevention and healing through food choices and preparation methods. Discussions will include prebiotics, probiotics, inflammation, PH balance and fermentation. Register at rowanpubliclibrary.org or call 704-216-7734. This event is free and open to the public.

Money Mondays: Protecting against common types of fraud, Oct. 17, 7-8 p.m., headquarters. Learn to recognize and understand common types of financial fraud such as identity theft, tax refund fraud, debit and checking account fraud, credit repair fraud and online fraud. Learn what to do if you are a victim.

Gale Lesson class: Oct. 18, 7-8 p.m. Access your online, free Gale class from the RPL computer lab and get help if needed from an on-site staff member.

Technology Tuesdays: Computer safety, Oct. 25, 7-8 p.m., headquarters. Learn how to keep your computer healthy and stay safe online. Seating is limited. To reserve your spot, please call 704-216-8248 or email info@rowancountync.gov

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Oct. 25, 6-7 p.m. Free, open to the public. We discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme.”The Devil in the White City.” Need a copy? Call 704-216-7841.

Displays: Headquarters, Family Crisis Council — Domestic Violence (purple shoe display) and NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness Awareness; East, historic photos, Tim Linker; South, miniature doll houses, Donna Deal and Terri Correll.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second  language.

Weekly events for children through Nov. 18

Baby Time: A loosely interactive program of simple stories and songs for infants up to 23 months with parent or guardian. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Char’s Little Stars, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Tiny Sprouts, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South, Miss Pat’s Tiny Tots, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.

Toddler Time: Sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills for children 18-35 months with parent or caregiver. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Reading Rumpus, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Tammie’s Tot Time, Mondays at 11; South, Miss Pat’s Wee Readers, Tuesdays, 10:30.

Preschool Time: Encourages the exploration of books and builds reading readiness skills for children 3- to 5-years-old with parent or caregiver. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head Story Times: Children of all ages can listen to silly books and tales together. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays at 4 p.m.; South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

Art programs: Activities and instruction based on various themes and media vary by branch. Pre-kindergarten through fifth grade; 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Bethany’s Brushes, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Emma’s Easel, Wednesdays, 4:30.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children 7-9 can practice their reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Reading therapy dogs registered through Therapy Dogs International are available for beginning and struggling readers to read aloud to them. Reservations recommended, not required. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m., call 704-216-8234 for details; East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m.,  Oct. 24, call 704-216-7842 for details; South, selected Saturdays, 10 a.m., call 704-216-7728 for details.

Chapter Chats Book Club: A weekly club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, but all are welcome. Meets at East branch meeting room, Tuesdays, 5 p.m., through May 2017.

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