The Selbyville Public Library is retiring its tradition of The Haunted Library.

Every Halloween for the past 16 years, the library staff, along with a trove of volunteers, has transformed the Selbyville Public Library into a haunted attraction. The feat took months of behind the scenes work and more than 50 volunteers, and welcomed hundreds of children and their families each year.

In 2018, the Haunted Library saw more than 560 people walk through their spooky and lifelike scenes, including an intricate morgue and an indoor forest, complete with werewolves. The community loved the attraction, which was offered for free, and allowed for some extra Halloween spirit in a library location fabled to be haunted by former owner, John G. Townsend Jr.

“We are really victims of our success,” said Library Director Kelly Kline. “The attraction got so big, that we started having concerns for safety and it’s grown beyond the library’s capacity to house it.”

Kline says the tradition is one that grew since its inception in 2002 by Carrie Lubiniecki under the directorship of Lynn Massey. Over the past 16 years, the event had amazing installations in the name of good fun.

The sets were always evolving and becoming more elaborate, much of it the work of Josh Vickers and other volunteers who dedicated countless weekend hours, often beginning as early as July, to make the one-night-only event better each and every year.

Last year included a “squeeze room” which was an aisle of the library where inflated tarps were built in so people had to squeeze through the entire space. The engineering required properly venting the blowers so they would produce and hold just enough air as people squished through them. Sometimes simple ideas produced scares, too. One year, a man concealed in a body bag quickly sat up as people exited, causing patrons to run out the door sometimes laughing, sometimes screaming.

“There are so many people who have been involved with the Haunted Library over the years who deserve recognition,” said Kline. The Purnell and Vickers families have been long-term volunteers. The Selbyville Police Department also played an integral role in safety by providing an officer on-site for the event for the past three years.

This Halloween, Kline and her staff will hand out candy and free books to trick-or-treaters.

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