Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPIB: Monster Fest

Today is October 1 which means Halloween is right around the corner.  So it’s time to get your spook on with some wicked (and wickedly cool) programming.  For this this event we are going to look at monster inspired crafts, food and games and turn October into Monstrober, a rip roaring Monster Fest.  You can have a one time event or pick a day of the week and invite teens to drop in each, let’s say Monday, and do some monster inspired activities.

1.  Pumpkin Monsters
If the thought of pumpkin carving in the library sends chills down your spine, try the less frightening alternative: pumpkin painting.  Give teens some pumpkins (small ones will do) and some acrylic paints and instruct them to create their version of the most fearsome pumpkin creature known to man.  They will have to leave them in the library to dry so put them up on some higher shelves and use them to decorate the library.  And if you want, allow teens to vote on a winner.  You can take pictures and share them on your social websites as well as allow voting in house.

2.  Shrinky Monsters
Did you know that you can do Shrinky Dinks in a toaster over?  You can buy blank packets of Shrinky Dink paper, colored pencils and leave teens to it.  Simply follow the instructions on the package.  Your Shrinky Dink monsters can be made into magnets or jewelry.  Or, string them all up as garland to decorate your teen shelves during the month of October.

3.  Exquisite Corpse
If you read my posts, you know that I have mentioned this activity not once but twice before.  But it is a FREAKTASTIC monster making idea.  Divide your teens into teams of 3 or 4.  Give them either individual sheets of paper or, for more ghoulish fun take 1 long sheet of paper (think table covering size) and fold it into 3 or 4 sections (1 for each person on the team).  The rule is this:  each person on the team can not see what the previous person has drawn.  So person 1 draws the head, person 2 draws the torso and person 3 draws the legs.  What type of monstrous creature will they come up with?  When all the components are put together you will see some wicked creativity . . .

4.  Zombie Prom
As far as monsters go, there are none quite to popular right now as the zombie.  Invite the undead to come to your library for a zombie prom.  Libraries everywhere are jumping on the zombie bandwagon, and it is good to strike while the trend is hot.  The Newport Public Library zombie prom in 2009 invited teens to come dressed in the best zombie prom gear (think altered thrift store clothing, shredding and blood stains provided by your teens) and had a variety of activities including crafts and a zombie themed photobooth.  I would recommend getting teens to do the Thriller dance by Michael Jackson and bring out the new Calling All the Monsters video by China McClain on The Disney Channel.  Of course, a little Monster Mash might be fun, too.  Here are some great ideas about making a zombie costume.  And here is a video on cheap and easy zombie make-up.  Everyone loves cheap and easy, especially librarians with shrinking budgets.

5.  Mini Monster Felties
With some cheap felt scares, needles, stuffing and thread you can invite teens to make mini monster felties similar to these.  Pair this with some of the other monster themed crafts.  And again, these can be strung up to create monster themed garland.

6.  Clay Monsters
Of course, what you can do with felt you can also do with air dry or bake clay.  Check out these Fimo clay monsters and be inspired.  You don’t have to include the poo which was, well, gross.

7.  2×4 Monsters
The Keeping it Simple blog (linked above in title) has a great craft idea using 2x4s.  You can create individual monsters using individual 2×4 or create a collaborative project which could once again be sued to decorate your teen space.

From the Keeping it Simple blog at http://craftskeepmesane.blogspot.com/2011/09/spooktacular-2×4-halloween-characters.html

8.  Freaky Heads

You can buy some Styrofoam white wig heads at Amazon.com and give 1 to each teen to make terrifying.  Make sure to provide a wide variety of scrap materials and let creativity reign supreme.  My example is not monster themed because it was for a different type of activity (which I will soon write up in a theater themed program), but you get the general idea. 
9. Monster Treats
Think of all the fun monster themed treats you can make.  Here they made some monster pops by adding candy to a lollipop.  Here you can learn how to make edible googly eyes – they make a great addition to these spooky haystacks.  Here are some Frankenstein inspired Rice Krispie treats.  Here are a ton of spooky cake pops.  In fact, if you google “spooky food” you will get a ton of hits.  I do an image search to see what the food looks like and if it looks interesting follow the link to see if it will work in a program.
10.  Monster Games
Kick of your spook fest with a rip roaring game of eyeball golf.  You can use a floating eyeball ball and set up a mini golf course either in your meeting room (fun) or your stacks (funner).  In fact, one of your craft activities can be having teens design and decorate the various course holes.  Note:  Bookends make an excellent foundation for a mini golf hole.  Then add in some bean bag eyeball toss (or head, whatever you want to make them), some zombie freeze tag, and possibly some zombie survival games (think Nerf archery).

P.S. – Don’t forget that a lot of these crafts can be used to make jewelry.  Just add in some hemp cord and beads.  Voila, you have some scary bangles and baubles.

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