HALLOWEEN: From Pagan Worship to Quintessential American Holiday


HALLOWEEN: From Pagan Worship to Quintessential American Holiday

An insightful and illustrated conversation via Zoom by two horror writers on the true and twisted history of the ghoulish holiday! 

What we think of as a quintessential American holiday didn’t start as the celebration for costumed children and fun-loving adults we enjoy today. The strange and true story of the Halloween is long, twisted and oftentimes dark.

Halloween, like a creature made in a mad scientist’s laboratory, has taken form over centuries from ancient mysticism and spiritualism, supernatural and Christian beliefs, folk tales and Gothic horror stories, and Hollywood movies. Although it’s now primarily targeted by retailers at children and parents, its appeal is widespread and it remains a popular and never-ending well for creators of ideas and imagery.

Halloween authority and award-winning writer LISA MORTON and horror writer KATHRYN E. McGEE will discuss and take questions from participants on how and why this strange and fascinating celebration evolved and spread over many centuries, inspiring the works of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Susan Hill, J.K. Rowlings, Tim Burton, Guillermo del Toro, and many others.

This virtual event is suitable for adults and older teens, and is presented free and online via Zoom as a public service by the Friends of the North Hollywood Library and Sherman Oaks Friends of the Library. A link to the virtual event will be sent to attendees.

WHEN: Monday, October 26, 2020, 6PM PDT


Lisa Morton “HALLOWEEN: From Pagan Worship to Quintessential American Holiday”  via www.nohoartsdistrict.com

LISA MORTON is a screenwriter, short story writer, and author of four novels and several nonfiction books, most notably “Trick or Treat.” “A History of Halloween” and “The Halloween Encyclopedia.” She is a six-time Bram Stoker Award recipient, and world-renown expert on Halloween. She co-edited, with Leslie S. Klinger, the anthology “Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers 1852-1923,” and her nonfiction study “Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances,” was also released recently. https://lisamorton.com/zine/

Kathryn McGee “HALLOWEEN: From Pagan Worship to Quintessential American Holiday”  via www.nohoartsdistrict.com

KATHRYN E. McGEE is a horror writer whose stories have appeared in Automata Review and Gamut Magazine, and in anthologies such as “Horror Library Vol. 6,” “Winter Horror Days” and “Cemetery Riots.” She moderates a monthly horror book club at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. https://www.kathrynemcgee.com/

We asked Raul Garza from the Friends of the North Hollywood Library a few questions about their latest event.

Why did you choose these two writers?

Lisa Morton is an LA-based author, prominent Halloween authority, and a bookseller at The Iliad Bookshop, a North Hollywood community-based business. Kathryn McGee is a popular horror writer who also lives in the SF Valley, and someone Lisa knows and feels comfortable with. Featuring more female authors is something we’ve wanted to do.

Why Halloween?

The Friends of both the NoHo and Sherman Oaks Libraries have partnered on community events for adults for two years and started planning in June to adapt to author/book virtual events. We’ve also had Halloween-related activities (such as a mystery book sale) at the Libraries for years. Virtual events are opportunities to encourage community members to read these and other books and borrow items thru Sherman Oaks’ Library-To-Go. A Halloween virtual event can reach a broader audience than in-person events usually do.

What’s coming up for The Friends of the North Hollywood Library? Any more Zoom readings/chats?

The Friends of the North Hollywood Library are supporting a virtual event on Zoom by the Sherman Oaks Friends of the Library on Monday, October 19, at 6:15 PM, featuring author Simon Goodman. We’re also collaborating on events in November and beyond. (Including a pre-holiday food event featuring LA-born author and motivational speaker Victoria Price, daughter of actor, art connoisseur and author Vincent Price! More on that later 🙂

Is there anything you would like to add/highlight?

The LA Public Library provides ADA accommodations in English and Spanish for events if patrons call (213) 228-7430 at least 72 hours prior to the event.

FRIENDS OF THE NORTH HOLLYWOOD LIBRARY and SHERMAN OAKS FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY are independent nonprofit organizations serving their communities by supporting of branches of the Los Angeles Public Library, through advocacy, financial and volunteer activities, and special events such as this.

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