Monday, October 16, 2017

Library GrabBag: The Midnight Society

One evening, way too late for a work night, I started googling Nickelodeon TV shows from the 1990s for no particular reason.  Don't even play like you don't find yourself down random internet rabbit holes when you should be sleeping...The search led me to some of my favorites - which in turn led me to searching my library consortium's collection to see if anyone ha the shows on DVD.  Lucky for me I got to watch the first two seasons of Hey Dude and my all-time favorite, Are You Afraid of the Dark?.  It was a glorious and unproductive weekend.

And thus was born an idea for a library after hours event that we hosted this month - The Midnight Society. The description on our online calendar reads: "Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, we present..." a spooky fun evening at the library with ghost stories, games, and more -  a horror-filled way to spend Friday the 13th.

Vague, just how I prefer it so that I have time to mold and sculpt the program to my liking.  After some super-sleuthing, Jessica over at Book Plots & Polka Dots found some decent screenshots of the board game of the same name.  We were able to take a peek at the instructions for the game and started brainstorming a way to make it life size and awesome.


5-5:15pm            Introductions / Expectations / Icebreaker
5:15-6pm            The Midnight Society: Horror Filled Game
6-6:30pm            Food! (We served Little Caesar's pizza)
6:30-7pm            Ghost Story Fun
7-7:30pm            Capture the Flag
7:30-7:45pm       Sardines
7:45-8pm            Goodbyes

The Midnight Society: Horror Filled Game

Participants were divided into 5 teams of 5 players.  Each team was given 5 minutes to search for "Experience" points hidden throughout the building (Knowledge, Courage, Strength, Evidence, Witness)A buzzer sounded to alert the teams that the 5 minute time period was up.  They had 45 seconds to return to the game room or all of the points they found were forfeit.  (This little rule was included to keep the game moving.  Sometimes working with teens is like herding cats...)

"Experience" points are needed to earn "Luck" points throughout the activity.  The team with the most points by the end of the activity would when free books.

Then the stories began.  We read a series of ghost stories found here.  Teams would "survive" the ghost stories if they had a certain combination of "Experience" points.  To earn additional points throughout the game, teams were sent the teams on missions.  It broke up the game a bit, gave the teens a chance to run around the library and have some fun, and let us incorporate more of Are You Afraid of the Dark? into the fun.  Each mission was based on some of my favorite episodes.

Here's a link to the full missions. (There are 5 copies of each, staggered so each team was working on a different mission during the breaks).  And here's a link to the info needed for Mission #2 and Mission #5.  The other missions don't require additional information.


Mission #1 : The Tale of Laughing in the Dark

Prove you're brave enough to enter the Laughing in the Dark Fun House and steal Zeebo the Clown's nose.

(1) point of COURAGE for each team member who makes it through the obstacle course and back to TeenHQ wearing the nose before time is up.

Location: Look for the "Laughing in the Dark Fun House" on the 2nd floor.

BONUS: If you re the first team back, you earn (3) STRENGTH points.

Reminder - you have 45 seconds to return to TeenHQ after hearing the buzzer or all points earned during the mission are forfeit.

Ghost Story Fun

We needed an activity that would give the teens time to digest their pizza before Capture the Flag, so we thought we'd have a little more spooky fun.  We gathered the teens in a circle, dimmed the lights, and started a ghost story.

At the high point of the story we stopped, divided the teens back into their teams, and had them each write an ending to the story.  The team with the scariest ending won a prize.  (Here's a link to the story we used.)

The rest of the evening was just organized chaos.  We love offering a time where the teens can experience the library in a new way - running around, shouting, and having fun without being shushed.  Then of course, the most popular activity of the night (which takes zero planning which is SO annoying)...sardines.

It was a great program, and gave us a little bit of a change from our usual after hours events.  We bought our own copies of the TV show to circulate at the library (for those without a consortium library card), and if I've done my job right, I've introduced some teens to some excellent 90s television.

[And did you know that D.J. Machale, author of the Pendragon series, was the show writer?  I didn't!]

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