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lesley bannatyneA leading authority on Halloween, Lesley Bannatyne traces our one-time children’s holiday-turned-adult-carnival from its origins in northwestern Europe through its recent explosion in popularity in the States. Drawing on research from her latest book, “Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night”, Bannatyne looks at everything from the holiday’s popularity with Victorian Americans, its incarnation as a children’s holiday, and its transformation into a holiday for everyone—from horror fans to to giant pumpkin growers to whole towns—to discover what makes Halloween so fascinating for so many people.

 It took two years of investigative work for Halloween author Lesley Pratt Bannatyne to add a fifth book to her collection. Traveling across the country, she visited and talked with horror fanatics and fang makers, professional haunters, registered mediums, psychologists, and Halloween enthusiasts ranging from NPR’s Garrison Keillor to Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” writer Mike Reiss, to find out what the increasingly popular holiday means to people and how they celebrate it.

“So much that’s been written about Halloween has been about the holiday’s history or about how to decorate, cook, and costume for it (guilty, all counts), but there’s not been much written about what it is today, who makes Halloween, and why,” writes Bannatyne in the book’s introduction.

Through the course of her research, Bannatyne hunted ghosts with paranormal investigators, participated in a Samhain ritual gathering, World Zombie Day march, the Village Halloween parade, and several off-season gatherings of Halloween fans such as the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention (HAuNTcon). Diving right into the heart of how fear turned into a form of entertainment, she asks: What kind of community does twenty-first-century Halloween create? How does the 21st century relate to Halloween’s icons-ghosts, witches, jack-‘o-lanterns, monsters-and what is that makes Halloween so relevant for so many adults today?

Lesley’s books will be available for purchase and signing.

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