ALBANY — An early preview of the spirit of Halloween was in evidence at the meeting room of the Albany-Springfield Branch of the Livingston Parish Library on Oct. 3, when the branch hosted its fourth annual Pumpkin Decorating Evening, an event that drew a capacity crowd of youngsters accompanied by parents and family friends.

Kellye Raye, youth services coordinator for the library, said, “This is a fun, family holiday event that many in the community enjoy each year. Our Pumpkin Decorating Evening is another opportunity for us to bring patrons to the library for an enjoyable evening of creativity and fellowship." 

Raye said that a modern library is more than just books.

“Our libraries offer many programs that attract patrons who are then exposed to the many resources that we have. Perhaps the best thing ... is (our resources are) free. It’s great to see the turnout we had tonight and to hear the laughter and joy that the pumpkin decorating is creating,” she said.

Raye said that registrants quickly filled all the available slots. “We have at least 25 kids here decorating their pumpkins, and many of them are accompanied by their parents. We have a room full for the evening," she said.

Participants were asked to bring their own pumpkins, and the library provided paints, glitter, string, stencils, cutouts, ribbons and other supplies for the children to apply to the pumpkins.

Samantha Fontenot, one of the parents assisting her children, said, "This is just one of the great things that the library does for our citizens." 

Michelle Montelaro, working with children nearby, said, “I just love it! I come here often and bring my children. We participate in many of the activities that the library has to offer, and we are never disappointed. The library is an important part of our community."

Other parents and their children added their appreciation for the library’s pumpkin decorating activity and other programs offered on a regular basis.

Kaycee Brescher said, “I just love our library. I come here regularly, and I bring my three children. There’s always something to do, and we always learn something when we visit the library.”

Raye had three teens assisting with the activities — Tyler, Madison and Joshua Lopez. “They have been a tremendous help," she said. "I could not have pulled off this program without their help.”

Tyler Lopez said, “I am having fun helping the children decorate their pumpkins. I come to the library for activities all the time. I also like to read, so I really appreciate the library.”

Joshua Lopez said he volunteered because he enjoys participating in library activities. “It gives me something to do, and at the same time it’s fun, and I like helping out when I can,” he said.

At the evening’s conclusion, more than two dozen children left with decorated pumpkins.