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Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.

That’s Distinctive!: Halloween Party Invitations

Check the blog each Friday for a new “That’s Distinctive!” post. I created the series because I genuinely believe there is something in our collections for everyone, whether you’re writing a paper or just want to have a look. “That’s Distinctive!” will provide a more lighthearted glimpse into the diverse and unique materials at Spencer – including items that many people may not realize the library holds. If you have suggested topics for a future item feature or questions about the collections, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

For the entire month of October on That’s Distinctive! I am going to switch things up a little bit. For those of you who don’t know me, my favorite holiday of all-time is Halloween. Things like apple cider, falling leaves, the chill in the air, and the pumpkin patch bring me so much excitement. So, for this whole month (with the exception of next week) and the first post in November, I will be featuring items from our collections that remind me of spooky season.

This week we are going to ease into it with some Halloween party invitations from the Alvin Terry Papers. The invitations, which appear to be handmade, are stored in the collection with their original mailing envelopes. The party Mr. Terry was invited to seemed to have happened annually. One invitation is undated, with the other being from 1967.

From movies, to schools, to universities, and more, Halloween parties have been a staple across the United States for decades. I would have to say my personal favorite fictional Halloween party is from the 1993 film Hocus Pocus. A clip of the famed Sanderson Sisters crashing the town’s party can be found on YouTube. Even if you don’t have a party invite this year, go out and celebrate the return of spooky season and the fresh fall breeze!

Folded orange paper with a black-and-white illustration of a house and the text "Halloween at the Haunted House."
Folded orange paper with black-and-white illustrations of masks and a witch, jack-o'-lantern, bat, and candle, with the words "Halloween Party" with a poem and logistical information.
The cover (top) and inside (bottom) of an undated Halloween invitation. Alvin Terry Papers. Call Number: RH MS 1333. Click images to enlarge.
Black-and-white sketch of three witches with a cauldron, standing in front of a house.
Black text "It's Halloween" with a sketch of a witch on a broom and logistical party details.
The front cover (top) and inside (bottom) of a 1967 Halloween invitation. Alvin Terry Papers. Call Number: RH MS 1333. Click images to enlarge.

Tiffany McIntosh
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