Happy Halloween

Halloween is here and for us at the library this is a day we all long for a little extra. Our fantastic colleague Johanna always sneaks in to work extra early and turn our lunch room into a wonderfully scary place with everything from ghosts, cobwebs, vampire blood and hooting werewolves to pumpkins and fun (but scary) sweets.

But why do we celebrate Halloween? In Sweden, it is a relatively new phenomenon, we can see it is already mentioned in the 1950s, but it is only since 1990 that it has became a real holiday tradition for us Swedes.

If we look at Halloween historically, one think that Halloween could first have occurred with the Celts’ contact with the Vikings. When the Vikings went out on their voyages, they brought their customs like “autumn blots”. The Celts had four great seasons, one of which was Samhain. The holiday Samhain was celebrated when the harvest season was over and the winter season began, on October 31st. The Celts believed that invisible forces were in motion, and that the souls of the dead could return to Earth during the night to the 31th of October.

When many Irish immigrants emigrated to the United States in the mid 1800’s, they brought their traditions, including the celebration of the Hallowe or All Hallow’s Eve. However, other elements of other traditions and festivals, such as Guy Fawkes Night, is part of  Halloween looking like it does in the United States today. At the end of the 19th century, the rationalism come to affect the society of the United States and there was no longer room for superstition and folk traditions, which meant that Halloween almost disappeared for some time. It was not until the 1950s that Halloween became one of the real big holidays in the USA, especially for all children who want to go “trick or treating”. 

However, it is important to note that Halloween should not in any way be compared or linked with All Saints Day, which in Sweden is a completely different, and for the Church, very important holiday.

This Halloween, we want to give you some scary book tips that can keep you awake during the night.

Midnatt by Dean Koontz
I den pittoreska staden Moonlight Cove i norra Kalifornien har egendomliga dödsfall inträffat.”>In the picturesque town of Moonlight Cove in northern California, strange deaths have occurred. For some, the city is a paradise; other inhabitants keep a secret so horrible that it can cost people’s lives, both inside and outside the town. In this book we meet four completely different people, drawn to each other to fight the evil in Moonlight Cove.

It by Stephen King..
It’s hard to talk about horror novels without having King on the list. This year we choose the book ItIt’s topical because of the new filming of the book that is in the cinemas right now. In Derry, Maine, a series of terrible murder occurs. A group of children defies the danger and finds that the killer is not human but a monster in the shape of a clown. The clown Pennywise has since the novel came out in 1986, scared many readers over the years.

Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill
Joe Hill is actually named Joseph Hillstrom King and is the son of the horror king Stephen King (above).
Heart-shaped Box is Hill’s debut novel, and in this we get to follow the singer Judas Coyne who collects morbid items. One day he buys a ghost on the internet … a ghost who is looking for revenge. A really good and horrible ghost story.

The woman in Black by Susan Hill
Another Hill which is terribly good at writing classic ghost stories is Susan Hill.
In the The Woman in Black , we will follow London Attorney Arthur Kipps as he goes to a remote country town to attend Mrs Alice Drablow’s funeral and arrange the death boar she left behind. It turns out that the place is hiding an evil secret, associated with the scary figure that unexpectedly appeared at the funeral – the woman in black.

Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin 
When the fog is thick over the northern island of Öland, a little boy disappears without any traces. His family is looking for weeks for him. More than 20 years later, the boy’s grandfather receives a letter without sender, and the letter contains the boy’s sandal Echoes from the Dead  is the first part of four books, in the misty rugged environment of the island of Öland, the atmosphere becomes suggestive and sometimes supernatural.

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist 
Retired journalist Gustav Mahler in Stockholm receives a call from an old contact at Danderyd Hospital who claims that the dead is waking up.
A heartbreaking horror novel of classical incision.

The Circle by Sara Bergmark Elfgren och Mats Strandberg
The Circle is the first part of a triology, commonly known as The Engelsfors Trilogy, as they take place in the little town of Engelsfors. At the center is a group of high school girls who turn out to be witches … The book has a nice (and under the skin) Twin Peaks feeling straight through.

All book tips above are available at the library (most of them in Swedish) . Click on the titles and you will get to Primo to see where to find them.

Sources:
http://www.ne.se/uppslagsverk/encyklopedi/l%C3%A5ng/halloween
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

Text: Christel Olsson
Photos: Signe Wulund
Styling: Johanna Persson