10/29/2014 7:00 pm

A leading authority on Halloween, Lesley Bannatyne traces our onetime children’s holiday-turned-blood-and-guts carnival from its tiny 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 spirit communication to monster culture to extreme haunted entertainments to horror films, to highlight who celebrates Halloween and what makes it so important to so many people.

Lesley Bannatyne is an author who has written five books on Halloween who has appeared on television specials for Nickelodeon and the History Channel (The Haunted History of Halloween, The Real Story of Halloween), in Time Magazine, Slate, and National Geographic, and has given talks at venues as diverse as the 2000 Halloween Convergence in New Orleans and the St. Louis Art Museum. She contributed the Halloween article to World Book Encyclopedia. Most recently, she, with many compatriots, held the Guinness World Record for "Largest Halloween Gathering," from October 2007-09


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