Haunted Library

Haunted Library

All Ages

Number of Attendees:

This program is open to the whole community with no registration & uses the entire building of the library, so there is really no limit. It has become a huge community event and we get about 700 people.


The program always takes place the Friday before Halloween an hour after the library closes from 6:00-7:30. Most prep work is done by the teen advisory board (teen volunteer program) and they must report after school to help set up.


Cheap decorations to hang all over the library to make it look splashy and tons of cheap halloween-themed prizes. The decorations can be stored and used from year-to-year and we have put up a sign for donations, which people have happily done. Some are also homemade by the Teen Advisory Board.

Description of Program:

This annual event is our most popular of the year. We hold the party after hours and use all four floors of the library. It is “family friendly” and not very scary: more carnival than haunted house.


We spend most of the work day decorating as much as we can before the library closes for the day at 5:00. The hour between 5-6 is spent organizing volunteers and setting up spaces unavailable during library hours. We encourage participants to come in costume with a trick or treat bag. They must be accompanied by an adult. As they enter we hand them a plastic grocery bag if they need for prizes and a book of tickets. Each ticket is for the different games and activities with a simple descriptive graphic to ensure that they only play once. The cover of the booklet gives a description of each activity on each level. Every activity has a sign with the graphic matching the ticket to alleviate confusion. The activities and games are run by members of the teen advisory board, who spend two months preparing.
Level A: 5 games in the meeting room and a craft in the back of the children’s room
Level B (main level): Face Painting & another game
Level C: Ghost Bingo (bingo winners get to pick from a prize table of larger prizes-all donated)
Level D: Another game and a dance party with a strobe light in the reference room
Mezzanine: Scavenger hunt for halloween objects and pictures hidden in plain sight. Kids are given a small paper list and golf pencil upon entering the level and a sticker upon completion.
All of the games are homemade and simple (bowling for spiders, throw the ball through the witch’s hat). Because of mess, cost and allergies, we do not serve snack. We do buy donuts and cider for the volunteers and set-up a “greenroom” for them in an unused meeting space. We do not circulate materials during the event. The night is all about the party!


We spend about $200 on cheap prizes from Oriental Trading & donuts and cider for the teens. Most everything else comes out of office supplies.Staff time should also be factored into the budget. Much of our staff works the event. Full-time people get comp time, but all part-time people must be paid. It is worth it. Our patrons love it and it is great public relations.


Our trickiest problem is stroller parking, elevator back-up, and crowded stairs. The stairs aren’t built for such a crowd running up and down and they get very congested. We always alert the police to the event and they send over an officer if they can spare one. Make sure to have a grown-up staff member on each floor and someone in authority at the main entrance. We also have a volunteer positioned by the door to make sure every child exiting is with their grown-up. We set-up our sound system in the middle of the library (through which we play halloween music) in case there is a lost child and to announce the end of the party.

Here is the link to last year’s pictures:

Submitted by:

Kate Nafz, Fair Lawn

Posted - Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 2:19 PM. This article has been viewed 291 times.
Online URL: https://bccls.knowledgebase.co/article.php?id=2052

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