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Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night Paperback – April 5, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A sophisticated yet playful celebration of all things macabre, morbid, and marvelous . . . Bannatyne makes a great case for celebrating Halloween everyday, all year long. . . . It's an energetic, thorough, and breathless salute to everyone's favorite horror holiday." -Chris Alexander, editor in chief, Fangoria magazine

"After reading this book, I've added about thirty things to this year's 'Halloween to-do list'! Halloween Nation is the perfect source for hundreds of different ways to celebrate our favorite holiday!" -Richard Christy, writer/producer, The Howard Stern Show, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio

From the Author

Halloween Nation is my attempt to understand why Halloween is so important today, who makes and celebrates it, and why it matters. It's my fifth book, and my favorite. There are those who say that Halloween is an over-commercialized holiday that's lost its meaning. After talking with scream queens, prop-designers, pumpkin carvers and growers, pumpkin beer brewers, ghost hunters, home haunters, mediums, witches, zombie scientists, dark artists, craft artists, musicians, morticians, and many, many others, I can tell you that Halloween is very important to a lot of different people, and for reasons that go way beyond how incredibly fun it is. I really hope you enjoy this.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589806808
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589806801
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lesley Bannatyne is an American author who writes extensively on Halloween, especially its history, literature, and contemporary celebration. Bannatyne is also a freelance journalist who's covered stories ranging from druids in Somerville, Massachusetts to relief workers in Bolivia. Her most recent book, Halloween Nation. Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. She has written four other books on Halloween including a history, an anthology, a children's book and a How-To. Read more on http://www.iskullhalloween.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Probably the best book on modern Halloween traditions I have read. Lesley not only covers what Halloween means NOW, but also gives us in depth information on it's origins. She takes us on a grand investigation on what current traditions and activities Halloween enthusiasts are creating for our modern times while also keeping the ancient beliefs and rituals alive. You really get a sense of genuine interest from Lesley and she translates the true passion that the people she included in this book have for this holiday.

If you are a Halloween enthusiast or even have just a basic interest, this is the best book for you to read and own.

5 out of 5!
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Format: Paperback
An entertaining (and spooky!) look at modern-day Halloween. The book covers it ALL (history, haunted attractions, zombie walks, decorations, pumpkins, parades, costumes, props, etc.). If you are a fan of Halloween, there's no question: This book is a MUST have.
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HALLOWEEN NATION is not just a terrific new book on Halloween, but one that also explores our culture's love with dark art and the paranormal. The book sets out to explore how Halloween and popular culture have cross-pollinated, and topics include our fascination with zombies, ghost investigations, and even horror-themed tattoos. The book is extremely well-researched, with dozens of first-person encounters and interviews (the notes and bibliography are also excellent), and the accompanying color photos are superb. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in popular culture, horror, or - of course! - Halloween.
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Format: Paperback
First, if you're a Halloween enthusiast, you need to get this book. Not only does it briefly cover the origins of Halloween but more importantly, it looks at Halloween through modern eyes. I feel is something really missing from today's Halloween bookshelf. There's plenty of books on the origin/history of the holiday already and that helps to set this one apart from the rest.

Halloween Nation gives you a taste of different aspects of the holiday, who celebrates it and how they do it. It's like a walk around Disney's EPCOT but for Halloween. The people interviewed range from artists, zombie walkers, pumpkin growers, goths and even burlesque dancers. Being from the Boston area, it was great to see a couple local celebrities (Devilicia and Mister Reusch) in the book.

The bibliography is quite extensive and you could build your own Halloween library just from the books listed there!

I do have a few problems with the book, however. The major issue I have is that a lot of the photos are printed right smack in the middle of the book binding. Frequently this results in you not being able to take in the picture in its entirety as well as you could if it was on a single page. I'm presuming it was done this was done to keep the page count down but I would have been happier with smaller photos if it meant keeping the image intact.

The second issue I have is a bit minor. I felt like I hit a wall at the end of the book. I came to the end of the last chapter not expecting it to be the end of the book and that was that. With the variety of aspects about Halloween that are talked about I would have liked to have had an afterword or some kind of epilogue as the finishing touch.

Having said that, these problems are mine and should not prevent you from picking up this wonderful book. I would give it 4.5 stars if possible. The author is doing a book signing tour in New England and I'm planning to go meet her in Salem to get my book signed.
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Format: Paperback
This isn't merely a look at modern Halloween symbols and figures; this book also provides information and educated speculation and interviews to support how these symbols have changed over time and what they mean to modern day celebrants. The author discusses not just the history of Halloween, but also the cultural significance of everything from spiritualism to zombies, and how they resonate with us today. It's a fascinating look at modern Halloween, and also includes a wealth of information about modern parades, festivals, and theatrical events that have taken adult celebrations by storm in recent decades.

This one is a keeper.
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Format: Paperback
Full disclosure: Lesley and I are friends. We weren't always though. There was a time, when I just a fan, in awe of her writing talent and knowledge of Halloween. But over time, we have e-mailed, talked, danced together in costume and even shot authentic Kentucky bourbon in Louisville. Okay, I sipped it and couldn't even finish it. Lesley, on the other hand, shot it back, slapped her cash on the bar and dashed out the door to a haunted attraction tour. She's quite a lady!

I usually approach non-fiction books with a bit of trepidation, dreading text book type passages, dry words and language or concepts that are over my head so I have to re-read them three times to grasp the content. But Halloween Nation is filled with plain ol' Halloween fun.

Halloween Nation is Lesley's more than usual immersion into the world of Halloween. The New York City Greenwich Village Parade, zombie walks, naked pumpkin runs and Halloween and Vine are just a smattering of the places explored. Musicians and organizers and witches (Oh my!) enlighten us on their views and activities of the holiday. Lesley delves deep into a few mythological aspects of Halloween such as Jack-o-lanterns (don't worry-still not dry) and how the internet has changed the holiday. What I loved best is that I felt I was right alongside her. Her voice is friendly and fun and her writing is clever and fresh. She's self deprecating, inquisitive and charming. (I know, you're probably thinking I only wrote that because she's my friend. But if I felt any different I wouldn't have said anything at all!) The book went by very fast. I would sit down only intending to read a page or two and before I knew it chapters sped by.

Interspersed within the pages are quotes and gorgeous photos.
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