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Penetanguishene library taking on Halloween with a flick of the wand

Contests based in the Harry Potter universe and the more traditional Halloween pumpkin carving will be taking place during October.

The Penetanguishene Public Library is challenging all local wizards.

"It's a tri-wizard challenge for kids aged six to 11," said library CEO Linda Keenan. "The kids can pick up their challenge kits at the library for $4 each. Once they've done their challenges, they can bring them back in to show us or send us a picture."

From Oct. 26 - 30, kids can come into the library (by appointment) wearing their costumes to have their picture taken with the dragon or one of the various other props staff have prepared.

"When they come in to show us their completed challenges, they get to put in their name on a ballot for a prize," said Keenan. "And the parents can put in their name on a ballot for a wreath."

To generate excitement, she said, staff are currently doing Facebook live readings of the Harry Potter books in both English and French. Listeners can tune in Monday to Friday at 11 a.m. for French readings and 1 p.m. for English readings.

Following that, Keenan said, they're inviting library users to join in a pumpkin decorating contest.

"Participants can submit their photos via email," she said. "We have three different age categories and each one will win a prize. They can paint or carve their pumpkins and the most creative pumpkin will win the prize."

The age groups are from five to 11 years old, 12 to 17 and 18 and older.

All submissions need to be in by Oct. 28, Keenan said, as voting for the best pumpkin in each category will be held the morning of Friday, Oct. 30.

"A lot of kids may not be able to go out trick or treating this year, so we wanted to acknowledge that and supply somewhat of a traditional Halloween," she said.

Before these Halloween-themed contests kick off, Keenan said, the library is hosting a virtual Amazing Race contest to celebrate Ontario Public Library week from Oct. 19 - 23.

"It's like the show but people are going to have to team up with other families in their social bubble," she said. "They can register at the library for free starting Oct. 5, and they will pick up their kit (a week before) at the facility. To play, they will need some kind of social media because it's being run through our Facebook page, where you can also find other events."

All contest requests and photos can be emailed to the library staff at [email protected].

Once Halloween wraps up and Remembrance Day passes, Keenan said, the library staff will begin decorating the building for Christmas.

"We have a total of eight (trees) this year," she said. "It's going to be a true winter wonderland in the library. I think we need that. Our morale needs a boost. We've been through so much with the pandemic that we need some form of normalcy and tradition in our lives."

As well, Keenan added, she will have more information at that time around two big announcements for library goers.

For more information on all contests, library hours and regular programming, visit the library's website.