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Happy Blogiversary and Happy Halloween!

Man in E.T. mask carves a pumpkin while a boy with a painted face watches.

Jeff Oshins shows an audience member how to carve a Jack O Lantern in the Library of Congress Whittall Pavilion, October 29, 1982. The collection is AFC 1982/019. The event included Jack Santino’s lecture on Halloween (find the audio in this article), as well as demonstrations by Winston James of face-painting, and by Jeff and Lisa Oshins of pumpkin-carving. Photo by John R. Gibbs.

Happy Blogiversary!  As our longtime readers may recall, the first post on Folklife Today was posted five years ago today for Halloween 2013. That means we’ve been around for five whole years! All of us at Folklife Today would like to thank all the readers out there who have read our posts over the years.

We’d also like to wish you a happy Halloween one more time.  That first post five years ago called attention to Jack Santino’s Halloween article, and updated it with new information and scary collection items. Since then, we have collected Halloween photos, blogged about spooky stories, promoted a Halloween exhibit, featured scary songs, and shared other Halloween treats. See all of our Halloween posts here!

African American musician Honeyboy Edwards, with a guitar and a harmonica.

The icon for our podcast, Folklife Today, shows a frame of 1942 silent footage shot by Alan Lomax of David “Honeyboy” Edwards in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

We also want to call attention to three new Halloween resources and one upcoming Halloween event. The first resource is our podcast, Folklife Today. The first episode is called “Haunting Tunes for Halloween.” It’s hosted by John Fenn and me, and it shares some great songs and tunes with comments and recollections by the two of us, along with Nancy Groce, Carl Fleischhauer, Jennifer Cutting, Nicole Saylor, and Gerret and Jeff Warner.  It also includes a clip from Jack Santino’s classic 1982 lecture on Halloween. Find the podcast at this link, and use the “listen to podcast” link to hear itFind its home on iTunes at this link.

The second resource is the Library’s new Research Guide to Halloween, which collects many of our most popular spooky resources in one place.

The third is yesterday’s blog post, which includes the audio of Jack Santino’s 1982 lecture on Halloween.  That’s destined to be a beloved Halloween resource for years to come!

Finally, the event is “Frankenreads,” a multi-person all-day public read-athon of Mary Shelley’s classic sci-fi/horror novel Frankenstein, which was published 200 years ago in 1818.  The reading will take place all day on Halloween, in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress. It will also be live-streamed on the Library’s YouTube channel.  They even created the nifty graphic, below. I’ll be reading myself, at about 6:30 pm on Halloween!  Find all the information and a link to the stream here.

Library Logo with the head of the Frankenstein Monster

What if Halloween is not your cup of tea? Well, we have now blogged about folklife and oral history for exactly five years, and this is our 527th post. So we have covered all kinds of folklore, and presented rich oral histories with a special focus on the collections of the Veterans History Project. If you’ve joined us recently, please explore all our posts.  We’re looking forward to the next five years!

Our First Podcast Episode–and a Halloween Lecture by Jack Santino!

The Folklife Today Halloween Podcast is Live As we hope you’ve come to expect, we have something very special in store this Halloween. As I mentioned in our last post, we’re launching the Folklife Today Podcast on October 29, and hey…that’s today! The first episode is called “Haunting Tunes for Halloween.” It’s hosted by John […]

Connie Regan-Blake Tells “Mr. Fox” for Halloween (Also: The Big Podcast Announcement!)

Halloween Is Approaching Fast! As you know, we love to feature special content for Halloween, including scary songs, spooky stories, and fabulous photos. This year, we’re continuing our lead-up to the holiday with the classic folktale “Mr. Fox,” told by Connie Regan-Blake. Hear it in the player at the bottom of this post. But first, […]

Pic of the Week: Ghost Pirate!

If you follow our blog, you may know that the American Folklife Center has joined other Library of Congress divisions in creating LOC Halloween: Chambers of Mystery, an exhibition of our scariest collection items. Today we had the congressional and press preview of the exhibit, and Library staff member Joon Yi shot a few photos of […]

The Hair-Raising Tale of “The Witch Who Kept a Hotel”

As we get closer and closer to Halloween, the Library of Congress feels spookier and spookier! Just look at the black cat in our Halloween graphic above! In fact, the Library has just released a new web guide to Halloween resources, which can be found here. The new web page will act as your guide through our rich […]

Ghost Stories in Song for Halloween

Halloween is on its way, and this year the Library of Congress has decided to make it extra-special, with a pop-up exhibition of our best spooky treasures. The event is called LOC Halloween: Chambers of Mystery, and we hope you’ll visit us for the scary fun. As part of the effort, I’ve been looking through AFC’s […]

Bessie Jones Tells a Spooky Story: “Married to the Devil”

With Halloween just around the corner, the Library of Congress is gearing up for an exhibition of our best spooky treasures. The event is called LOC Halloween: Chambers of Mystery, and it’s sure to add both cheer and chills to your All Hallows season. As part of the effort, I’ve been looking through AFC’s collections for […]

LOC Halloween: Enter the Chambers of Mystery!

As our readers know, Folklife Today is particularly fond of Halloween. We launched the blog just before Halloween 2013 with a post updating Jack Santino’s Halloween article. We’ve had special posts for Halloween every year thereafter. So we’re especially happy to announce that the Library of Congress will be hosting a special pop-up exhibition for Halloween […]