Seeking some pictorial Halloween history

Published 11:08 am Monday, October 3, 2016

They’re going up all over town now and have been for the last couple of weeks — Halloween decorations.

Riding down West Hickman this morning, I spotted a doogie Scooby-Doo jack-o-lantern.

At last week’s Meeting of Minds discussion, we delved into the subject of death; so, Halloween came up, its association with the Samhain, All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead.

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That discussion got me thinking about past Halloween celebrations, from “haunting” the streets of New Sheffield, Pa., where I grew up, to recent parties with friends here in Winchester.

I’ve also been looking through some of the library’s books of Halloween collectibles, which have pictures of amazing British, Celtic and German artifacts from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century.

The best thing about Halloween is that it encourages people to be imaginative.

All of that made me wonder if the library has any pictures of past Halloweens in Winchester, and I’m disappointed to say there are none.

I think this is a shame because I’ve seen some world class lawn and porch decorations around here in the past few years.

Sitting on front porches, passing out candy on trick-or-treat night here in Winchester has often been like a fall down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. I think those decorations and costumes need to be documented.

So, if you have Halloween pictures of costumes or decorations that you’d like to share, please bring them in to me. If you don’t want to donate those pictures to the library, I will scan them and return the originals.

Please clearly indicate who pictures belong to, and, if you can, identify any people, places or events pictured.

In the library business these kinds of documents are known as ephemera and they are as important as texts. In fact, they are what finally become texts because they are examples of the lived history of Winchester.

When the pictures start to come in, I will, with the permission of the owner, display them in the library.

If you have any questions about your pictures or materials, contact me at 744-5661 or

All the Halloween costume and decorating talent currently displayed in Winchester did not just spontaneously spring to life in the last couple of years.

It must have a long and delightful history.  Contribute to the history of Clark County by sharing your Halloween images.

Programs this week?

— From 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, there will be a teen home school program in the youth department’s Venable Activity Room.  For more information, call 744-5661, ext. 119.

— At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Kentucky Picture Show presents a 2016 paranormal thriller about a father and son on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special powers. Rated PG-13.

— At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Trivia Night at the Engine House. Jeff Gurnee is a reference librarian who not only has all the answers … he’s got all the questions, too.

— From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Outside the Lines Adult Coloring Group meets in the library board room.Come to the library, make like the autumn trees and leave colorful.

Have a fine week.

Remember to be safe and courteous.