—by Kolleen Taylor

We celebrate Halloween here in Story City on Thursday this week, and we are looking forward to seeing all the children dressed up in observance of this fall holiday! Miss Julia’s pre-school story-time group are invited to dress up for their Thursday morning pre-school program, and we will have a treat for them! This will be at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday and always culminates with a parade around the library to our great enjoyment!

According to our book Celebration, written by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley, Halloween has its roots in an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. Samhain marked the end of summer and was held on the 31st of October. It was seen as a time when evil spirits roamed the Earth causing mischief. Trick or treating door to door, which has become a North American tradition, comes from the belief that the spirits would use their powers against people who failed to honor them.

Although Halloween isn’t a holiday which closes governmental offices and postal delivery, it’s a fun day for people to celebrate at work, at home and with family and friends. Ghost stories, children dressing up as princesses or super heroes or scary witches and ghosts are all traditions for many organizations and agencies. Some of the activities to celebrate Halloween began earlier in the month, and special haunted mazes and haunted houses are open throughout Iowa. Even the Story City recreation department hosted a Halloween event this past Saturday, where Miss Julia told stories in the midst of the different activities at the Recreation center.

Veterans Day, a much more somber holiday, is celebrated on November 11. As each generation grows to understand the significance of this event, this is a major contrast, it is a somber, more reflective day established to honor our fallen soldiers and surviving veterans who have sacrificed time, life and limb to defend our country. Whether one agrees with the reasons for each of the wars in which we’ve been engaged in, no one can argue that those who serve have stood in support of all of us. And for that we should be humbled and thankful.

For those who don’t know the stories of the men and women who have served their country, we encourage you to check out the vast collection of history books we have on our shelves, as men and women share their experiences, mapping their memories, explaining the many challenges these different generations have encountered. We have books from local residents, such as Bail out over the Balkans written by our own Richard and Kay Munsen, in addition to shelves and shelves of books that have been written by others who have experiences from these wars. These are important stories that should be read, and heard and shared.

One of our most recent books on World War II, The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel, retells World War II from a different angle. This is the story of the individuals who tried to save monuments and works of art that were threatened during the massive war. As noted in the credits, this has been an untold story, and now the rights have been purchased to make this into a new movie about World War II.

We also want to remind everyone who is interested in knowing more about the Affordable Care Act, that we will be hosting a workshop on Saturday, November 2 from 10 a.m. to noon. As we listen to the news, and explore the many options, the ISU Extension and Outreach offices will try to help everyone understand key health insurance terms and concepts, help you know how to compare policies and your health care needs, introduce the new Health Insurance Marketplace website, and help you understand the tax credits and cost reductions available to those who qualify.