Nov 9, 2011

Book Review - Halloween Nation

Well, it may be a little over a week after Halloween, but I'm still feeling the spirit (could be the candy corn talking). Especially with Creepmas to look forward to! If you want to participate, head over there and sign up to get on the blogger list.

Even though I managed to pretty much continue Star Wars Wednesdays through the Countdown to Halloween, I'm going to be changing things up so that Wednesdays Are Wild! Not really as exciting as it sounds, Wednesdays will just be a day to talk about whatever.

And today, it's....

Book Review - Halloween Nation

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 this is something really missing from today's Halloween bookshelf. There are 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; you get a sampling of diversity. 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 of Black Cat Burlesque and artist Mister Reusch) in the book.

The bibliography is quite extensive and you could build your own comprehensive 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 some of the photos are printed across two pages, with the book binding right in the middle. And it's not because the image is so large it needs two pages, 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 way 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 to wrap it all up.

Having said that, these problems are mine and should not prevent you from picking up this wonderful book. The author did a book signing tour in New England and I met up with her in Salem to get my book signed. She was super nice and talked with me for a bit about the book.

Rating: 9/10 glowing Jack-o-Lanterns


  1. Great review! Sounds like a good read. Something to add to the Creepmas... I mean Christmas list :)

  2. Oh, I'll definitely check this out. I'm from Australia, and although I love Halloween, it's not celebrated much here. It was a real eye-opener being in the blog world this year, and hearing about a lot of Halloween/Autumn festivities and customs, in the US, that I wasn't even aware of.

  3. Sounds like a book I'd dig. Gonna have to check this out for sure. Thanks for the great review!