The following was written in part by Senior Cataloging Specialist Sharon McKinley.
Oh boy, it’s Hallowe’en! My Lady Gaga costume wowed ‘em when I came in to work this morning, and my candy corn lights are glowing brightly. The frost is on the pumpkin and the sweet tooth is ready to go. What more do I need? Hmm, frost, pumpkin…how about a Jack O’Lantern? Did you know the Jack O’Lantern was originally a turnip? This grotesque, illuminated vegetable was used to light the way of an unfortunate Jack who tricked the Devil while alive and was condemned to spend his afterlife forever wandering between Heaven and Hell. Or so the legend goes. “Jack O’Turnip” was deemed unworthy of legendary status so a different persona was adapted and Jack O’Lantern became immortal in the world of Hallowe’en.
You can find plenty of titles in the Music Division’s coffers that tell of the lighted squash with which we celebrate All Hallows Eve. It’s Showtime! Sheet Music from Stage and Screen, in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia, is an especially fertile source for your haunted hootenanny:
- The flirting princess (1909) includes the song “Jack O’Lantern,” with music by Joseph E. Howard and words by Will M. Hough and Frank R. Adams.
- The Pearl and the pumpkin (1905), by John W. Bratton and Paul West, sings of “Jack O’Lantern Joe.”
- Lewis Carroll fans will be intrigued by Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough’s 1905 show Wonderland, which includes the number, “Hallowe’en : topical quartette.”
- Harold Arlen and Ralph Blane wrote “Halloween” for My blue heaven , a 1950 musical film starring Betty Grable and Dan Dailey.
In the Library of Congress Online Catalog, you can find bibliographic information for a variety of music, mostly for kids:
- Hocus pocus : a musical journey through the scary, creepy world of Halloween. A piano solo by Lee Evans. (1995)
- Tim Burton’s the nightmare before Christmas, by Danny Elfman (1993)
- Halloween is coming soon ; My costume ; Monster march ; My cat ; Creatures, by Mary Elizabeth Clark. (1991)
The deep tones of the baritone saxophone make it a natural for your haunted house soundtrack. Get into the Halloween spirit with legendary baritone player Gerry Mulligan. Visit the Gerry Mulligan Collection in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia for more photographs of Mulligan, as well as selected scores and recordings. You can also get into the spirit with vampire-themed sheet music, as covered in previous missives from In the Muse: Music to Drink Your Blood By, When the Music Division Rolled her Vampy Eyes at Me, and More Songs to Drink Your Blood By. Read about a possible haunting of the Library of Congress site in last year’s Happy Halloween post. Most of all, stay safe and scary this Hallow’s Eve. But before we put on our costumes, here’s a Hallowe’en bonus from the National Jukebox: a recording of “Games of Halloween” from Lady of the slipper, recorded in 1907. “Hallowe’en” is the 1st song in the medley.