by Barratt Miller, Crook County Library
In August, my Teen Library Commission (TLC) members began regularly volunteering at the library as part of their membership duties. While some of the teens tidy the Children’s Room and others provide a bilingual storytime, the main focus of the group is planning and providing Teen Late Night, an after-hours program for teens in grades 6-12 held the first Thursday of every month. The first program they planned together was the October Late Night–traditionally, our Halloween program.
One of the teens suggested the theme “Monsterwood” (monsters + Hollywood). They decided they needed to create a Wall of Screams and hold a Moscars award ceremony. My colleague Kristen, who coordinates our teen volunteer program, and I worked with the teens to refine their ideas and complete the various stages of the project during their volunteer hours. We had four weeks of prep time and a $20 budget.
When teens arrived at the library, their first stop was the lobby due to its tile floors and proximity to the bathroom sinks. We set out yellow stars and pans of red paint. Teens made handprints or painted a fun design on the stars, then signed their name. The stars were later assembled into a Wall of Screams displayed at the library. While they waited for everyone to finish their turn at the Wall of Scream station, teens used red and black frosting to decorate marshmallow ghosts. They also took turns playing “Pin the Stake on the Vampire” to win handfuls of candy corn.
Once we’d finished the appetizer phase, we gathered the teens around the fireplace for popcorn and a game of “Scary Movie Charades.” Volunteers acted out the titles of famous scary movies. Audience members who correctly guessed the movie title received a piece of Halloween candy. Once all the teens who’d wanted to act had their chance in the limelight, the TLC member who planned the activity awarded five Moscars awards in categories like Best Actor and Scariest Performance.
We took photos of the winners, followed by a group photo. Some of the teens came in costume per library tradition, but we raided my supply of extra cowboy hats and feathered masks so that everyone had something Halloween-y to wear. Finally, the most anticipated activity of the evening arrived: Humans vs. Zombies! We split the teens into groups of four and explained the rules, which we borrowed from K’Lyn Hann at Newberg Public Library. Then we secretly identified a zombie and let the games begin!
Despite a couple of kerfuffles over accusations of cheating and pushing, the game was a huge hit. The teens are already asking me when we can do it again. We had just enough time to clean up the inevitable popcorn detritus and distribute candy before it was time for the teens to go home. Not only did they have a great time, we had 19 teens attend! I can’t wait for live-action Hunger Games!