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There's chill in the air at Hays library

For many, October is synonymous with Halloween. Already there are strands of orange lights, carved pumpkins and cobwebs draped over front porches.

Growing up in a rural area, there were only four homes close enough for us to go trick-or-treating -- and we had to drive to each one. I can only distinctly remember three of my costumes (a ghost, Princess Jasmine and a Diet Coke can). The most exciting part of Halloween was the party at school.

For me and my siblings there was no running from door to door, no pillowcases filled with treats and no fanfare. Subsequently, as an adult, I don't get too excited about Halloween. This year, however, I am looking forward to Oct. 31 for a spooky reason.

On Halloween, the Kansas Room is partnering with the Ellis County Historical Society to help deliver a haunted evening in Boot Hill Cemetery. The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a grave dowsing demonstration by Valley Center resident Vince Marshall. Marshall uses homemade instruments to detect unmarked graves. He will explain what dowsing is and how it works, as well as give a dowsing demonstration of Boot Hill.

It should be interesting to see if any bones remain in the nation's first Boot Hill.

Following the dowsing demonstration at approximately 7 p.m., the historical society will commence with its annual Haunted Boot Hill event. Costumed narrators will tell about the lives and deaths of early Hays residents. The entire evening is free to the public and should be entertaining and informative -- and it might just send a chill down your spine.

October also sees the return of two popular events. The first is line dancing with Vanessa North. The third installment of the line dancing class will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Trish Davies Room. If you haven't been to one of the previous classes, don't worry. Vanessa is a great teacher, and you'll have ample opportunity to learn steps from the previous two classes, as well as new steps. Don't be intimidated. We're all beginners, and it's more fun to learn with other people.

Finally, at 5 p.m. Oct. 19, the Kansas Room will host another Trivia Night. If you enjoy trivia, free pizza and the library after hours, then this is the event for you. The game of trivia consists of 10 rounds of trivia with 10 questions in each round. The categories are varied, though you usually can count on some questions about Kansas, literature and pop culture.

Registration is preferred but not required. To register, either give me a call at (785) 625-9014, send me an email at lbain@hayspublib.org or go online to our events calendar at www2.youseemore.com/hays/calendar.asp.

The Kansas Room will be closed Thursday through Monday. I'll be returning Tuesday, but if you would like to use the Kansas Room in my absence, just let the front desk know. Someone will unlock the door for you.

In spite of my lackluster experience with Halloween as a child, October is my favorite month, so make sure you get out and enjoy Kansas in the fall. Visit a pumpkin patch, take a hayride or throw open your windows at night. There's nothing quite like October air.

The Kansas Room is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and by request.

Lucia Bain is Kansas Room librarian at Hays Public Library.