The staff at the LP Fisher Public Library  in Woodstock, N.B., wanted to do something really unique this year to celebrate Canadian Library Month in October. We also wanted to do a Halloween activity, while being mindful of the many families in our community that don’t celebrate it, or are newcomers to the country and might be uncomfortable with some of our more macabre traditions.
Instead, we decided to throw a Literary Costume Party on a Thursday evening the week before Halloween. Everyone still got to dress up, but with a more “bookish” theme.
Staff wore their own costumes for the whole day of the party. The event began at 6:30 p.m., and at 7 we had a costume parade with prizes for Best Group Costume, Best Animal Character, Best Author, Best Fantasy Character, Best Science Fiction Costume, Best Villain, Best Hero, etc. Winners received a certificate and a free book of their choosing to take home. We had a stash of new books donated by a local daycare we used for prizes.
We also had a number of book-themed games. There was the hat-stacking game, based on the book "Caps for Sale"  by Esphyr Slobodkina, in which children had to see how many hats they could stack and balance on their heads. We had a large variety of hats, and they could use their hands to stack the hats, but they were not allowed to use their hands to keep the hats from falling. The record was 16 hats.
There was the fishing game, based on the book "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish"  by Dr. Seuss. The children "fished" for felt fish (with paper clips or washers attached) using fishing rods with magnets.
There was also the balloon game, based on the book "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!"  by Mo Willems. Children had to throw the pigeon (balloons with the pigeon's picture on it) in the bus (a basin with pictures of the bus on it).
We had a number of crafting stations. There were literary paper dolls , where families picked out paper dolls of famous authors and cut out the authors and their clothing, as well as a bookmark-making station.
We also had a photo booth, based on Robert Munsch's "Put Me in a Book!"  Children posed inside a large frame with the title "Put Me in a Book!" and had their picture taken.
Snacks and more
Following the fun and games we served some light refreshments. All of the snacks were based on books, too. We had a chocolate crumble garden of carrots from "The Tale of Peter Rabbit"  by Beatrix Potter and cookies from "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"  by Laura Joff Numeroff and "Who Took the Cookies From the Cookie Jar"  by Bonnie Lass and Philemon Sturges.
There were also some yummy book worms and magic punch. The decorations for the event were made from book covers and pages from discarded books.
We had 28 people attend the event, not including staff, and our illustrious panel of judges included our board chairwoman, our municipal tourism coordinator and a reporter from the local newspaper. It was a wonderful success. The children all got to use their fine and gross motor skills during the event, which contributed to improving their physical literacy as well as aural/oral and visual/text literacy skills.
The best part was when we watched the kids all sitting quietly reading their books after their tummies were full and we had to remind them that we needed to close up for the night and go home!
Special thanks to Kate Waller, library clerk extraordinaire, for her planning, notes and unwavering enthusiasm.