SOLON– It’s Halloween eve, and scarecrow and Mr. Bones are decorating the cornfield with bright streams of orange and black crepe paper. Gaily colored lanterns swing from the corn stalks, and a bonfire sends strange shadows against the moon. Garlands of bittersweet twine around the old cider press, as the apples turn into spicy cider. The smell of pumpkin pie drifts on the smoky wind. A crow perches on the Book of Spells, as a giant owl sits silently in the shadows watching pumpkin man roasting hot dogs for the party. A haunted mirror hangs on the old barn door reflecting the festivities. The party has begun… Trick or Treat.
Halloween is a visually spectacular celebration, full of theater, color and iconic imagery. Rooted in ancient superstition and religion, the holiday began a thousand years ago as early people like the Celts celebrated the end of harvest. Immigrants from the British Isles brought the tradition to the New World, where it became a truly American holiday. Halloween’s “Golden Age”– the late teens and 1920s– was adult oriented, with parties, bridge games and dancing. “Trick or Treating” became an organized substitute for the petty vandalism common to the night, and at this point in the 1930s, Halloween became a children’s night.
The graphic design of the holiday’s decorations, especially prior to 1950, is truly stunning. The library display features some wonderful paper items from the 1930s and 1940s, designed by the legendary Beistle and Dennison paper companies.
The display runs through Nov. 17.