Halloween Family Day- Your Favorite Ghoulish Gourds

On Saturday, October 22, the Library of Congress hosted a Halloween Family Day, featuring Goosebumps author R.L. Stine and Magic Tree House author Mary Pope Osborne discussing 30 years of their series.

Clay Smith, dressed as a mummy, moderates a discussion with R.L. Stine and Mary Pope Osborne.

Clay Smith, Library of Congress Literary Director, talks with R.L. Stine and Mary Pope Osborne in Coolidge Auditorium.

The Library’s Informal Learning Office also hosted spooky art and reading activities for families in the Jefferson Building before the author program. One featured Carol M. Highsmith’s photographs of painted Halloween pumpkins from the Prints and Photographs Division. Carol M. Highsmith has been donating her photography to the Library of Congress since 1992! Learn more about her life and work here.

One hundred and thirty participants voted for their favorite ghoulish gourds in the LOC pumpkin patch and the results are in! Click on each image below to learn more.

1st place

A large pumpkin, painted black with purple tentacles, sits on a wooden deck. Atop the pumpkin sits a mannequin torso and head painted to look like Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

Giant decorated pumpkin representing Ursula the Sea Witch, a character in the movie The Little Mermaid, in the fishing and lobstering port of Boothbay Harbor, Maine.


2nd place

A 620-pound pumpkin, painted with skeletons, lays on its side. A mossy ground covering and 3-dimensional black haunted house sit atop the pumpkin.

Crystal McLain’s painted 620-pound pumpkin at the annual Pumpkinfest, a colorful fall festival in Damariscotta, Maine.


3rd place

A large oddly shaped painted pumpkin has a face with a large nose and pointy teeth. Right in front of the scary mouth full of teeth sits another pumpkin. The small orange pumpkin in front has a scared face, fearing it is about to be eaten by the big pumpkin.

Glenn Chadbourne’s startling creation from a 1,683-pound pumpkin at the annual Pumpkinfest, a colorful fall festival in Damariscotta, Maine.


Thanks to everyone who attended the event and voted for a pumpkin. We look forward to seeing you again soon at the Library of Congress.

For more about R.L. Stine, Mary Pope Osborne or Halloween, explore these Library resources:



Baseball History: Reflections & Family Story Activities

The Informal Learning Office recently finished a summer reading partnership with the Washington Nationals baseball team. Over the course of the summer, we met over 600 participants at Nationals Park. During the program, we shared Library of Congress collection items with children who came to celebrate reading with relief pitcher Sean Doolittle. Children learned the […]

Halloween Puzzles from the Library of Congress’s Newspaper Collections

This post was written by Malea Walker, a reference librarian in the Serial and Government Publications Division at the Library of Congress. It was originally published on the Headlines & Heroes blog.  If you’re looking for a Halloween treat, take a break from the spooky and the scary and enjoy some of these Halloween themed […]

Halloween Family Day at the Library of Congress: Resources & Collections

This post was written by Monica Valentine, a program specialist in the Library’s Informal Learning Office. Research assistance was provided by teen summer interns This fall, the authors of two beloved Kid Lit series—Goosebumps and Magic Tree House—are celebrating thirty years of their popular series at the Library. We invite you to join us on […]

Recipes and Collections for “October, the Apple-Scented Month”

“October is the apple-scented month… Apples into boxes, into baskets, apples in transit; gold and scarlet pyramids and in the market place….Apples for bowls, apples for lunchboxes.” These lines from a 1959 newspaper column perfectly sum up the sight in stores, farmers’ markets, orchards and roadsides at this time of year. Apples are everywhere. There […]

Children’s and YA Latin American and Latinx Literature: Webcast and Family Discussion Questions

This post was authored by Sasha Dowdy, a program specialist in the Library’s literary initiative team. Last year, the Hispanic Reading Room partnered with the the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) to  celebrate children’s and young adult Latin American and Latinx literature with a virtual webcast. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we […]

Meet Caneisha Mills, the 2022-2023 Library of Congress Teacher-in-Residence

This post is by Caneisha Mills, the 2022-2023 Teacher-in-Residence at the Library of Congress. Mills has worked in education in Washington D.C. for over a decade, and was awarded the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s D.C. History Teacher of the Year Award in 2022. This post was originally published on the Teaching With the Library of Congress blog. […]