Wanting Some Halloween Spirit? We Got You, Boo.

It’s fall, y’all, and the Library is kicking off the Halloween season with a monstrously good mashup of haunted local history tales, scary story recommendations, spooky special events, and frightfully fun family festivities.

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Our librarians have used their dark literary magic to conjure a cauldron  of terror-inducing titles and quirky, spooktacular reads to get you in an appropriately fearsome mood for Halloween. 

New & Spooky Books for Kids >


Creatures don't just dwell in nightmarish fictional swamps; sometimes they're real people working in Hollywood. On Tuesday, October 8, horror film producer and literary podcaster Mallory O'Meara visits the Library to share the true story of Milicent Patrick, one of Walt Disney Studios' first female animators (most notably for the Night on Bald Mountain sequence in Fantasia) and the long-uncredited designer of the eponymous Creature from the Black Lagoon. O’Meara discusses her book, which is part fascinating and infuriating biography, part autobiography, part detective story, and part censure of sexism in the male-dominated movie industry.

There's some frightfully good family fun for all the little goblins at various Library locations this month. Even daddies and mummies can enjoy the offerings. A few highlights:

Dino O'Dell's Not-So-Scary Halloween Show
Whether they extol eating spiders, fixing spaceships, or counting monsters, Dino O’Dell’s Halloween songs and tall tales engage curiosity and inspire the imagination. Come in costume — and your dancing shoes. Appropriate for all ages.

►  Friday, October 18, 2019  |  6:30 p.m.  |  Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.   |   Details/RSVP
►  Wednesday October 23, 2019  |  6:30 p.m.  |  North-East Branch, 6000 Wilson Rd.
►  Monday October 28, 2019  |  6:30 p.m.  |  Waldo Branch, 1201 E. 75th St.
►  Wednesday October 30, 2019  |  10:30 a.m.  |  Trails West Branch, 11401 E. 23rd St., Independence, MO

Friday Night Family Fun: Halloween Boo-Bash
Get a head start on Halloween, enjoying games, a haunted house, face painting, and trick-or-treating in the Kid Corner of the Plaza Branch Yes, you can come in costume! For all ages.

Friday, October 25, 2019  |  6:30 p.m.
Plaza Branch
, 4801 Main St.


All Kids & Family Activities >


What’s Your KC Q? is an ongoing series in which the Library and The Kansas City Star  partner to answer reader queries about our region. In the spirit of October, we asked readers specifically for Halloween-related questions. Reader Kyle Romine, who went to the area’s haunted houses as a high school student some 20 years ago, wonders about their origins. He asked:

"How long have the haunted houses in the West Bottoms been in business? Did they have predecessors?"

ANSWER: Kansas City and haunted houses have a long history. At one time, we were considered the haunted house capital of the world. We still have what is billed as the oldest commercial haunted attraction in the country. And on Oct. 1, America Haunts — the organization of the nation’s premier haunted attractions — ranked The Beast the No. 1 haunted house in the country for 2019. "These expert 'fear generators' have a lifelong gift of scaring and dare-devil ingenuity to inflict fright," American Haunts writes.

Read on for more macabre tidbits about KC's haunted house history... if you dare. 

Explore more answers to KC questions at kclibrary.org/KCQ >

An October 1978 advertisement in The Star for haunted houses. Kansas City Public Library         
An October 1978 advertisement in The Star for haunted houses. Source: Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library

Movies: Screaming, Streaming, and Screenings

Scary movies are a Halloween tradition. The Library offers a number of ways you can satisfy your horror habits.

Browse our catalog for devilishly delightful DVD titles that you can sink your teeth into.

Prefer to be creeped out with a crowd? Catch a movie at various Library locations with fellow horror movie fans.

Our streaming service Kanopy gives you instant access to cinematic catacombs full of films ranging from contemporary horror flicks like Hereditary and The Witch to classics such as Nosferatu and House on Haunted Hill.


Kanopy horror and thriller films