Please don’t be my Valentine: Teens put new twist on holiday

By Mary Therese Biebel - [email protected]
The ‘voodoo doll’ part of the Teen Night anti-Valentine party at the Osterhout Free Library on Wednesday evening was all in fun, as 14-year-old Jaair Lowry, of Kingston, proved by decorating a doll to look like a YouTube gamer he admires. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader The ‘voodoo doll’ part of the Teen Night anti-Valentine party at the Osterhout Free Library on Wednesday evening was all in fun, as 14-year-old Jaair Lowry, of Kingston, proved by decorating a doll to look like a YouTube gamer he admires. - Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader
‘I’m making them both pirates,’ Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, said as she added eye patches and a parrot to a downloaded picture of a romance novel cover during the Osterhout Free Library’s Teen Night on Wednesday, which featured an anti-Valentine theme. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader ‘I’m making them both pirates,’ Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, said as she added eye patches and a parrot to a downloaded picture of a romance novel cover during the Osterhout Free Library’s Teen Night on Wednesday, which featured an anti-Valentine theme. - Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader
Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, for years a faithful participant in Osterhout Free Library Teen Night activities, adds pins to the ‘voodoo doll’ she crafted during the teen group’s anti-Valentine party Wednesday. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, for years a faithful participant in Osterhout Free Library Teen Night activities, adds pins to the ‘voodoo doll’ she crafted during the teen group’s anti-Valentine party Wednesday. - Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader
It was easy to create ‘broken heart’ cookies, young adult librarian Laura Harding said, explaining she started with a package of heart-shaped cookies and broke each one in half. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader It was easy to create ‘broken heart’ cookies, young adult librarian Laura Harding said, explaining she started with a package of heart-shaped cookies and broke each one in half. - - Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader
Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, left, and Skyler Stempien, 13, of Plymoth, hold up the anti-Valentine voodoo dolls they made ‘just for fun’ Wednesday at the Osterhout Free Library’s Teen Night. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, left, and Skyler Stempien, 13, of Plymoth, hold up the anti-Valentine voodoo dolls they made ‘just for fun’ Wednesday at the Osterhout Free Library’s Teen Night. - - Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — She broke each sugary, heart-shaped cookie in half, effectively turning them into “broken hearts,” and decorated her party space with crossed-out Cupids and pictures of candy hearts that proclaimed a ho-hum message: “meh.”

Then, just to make sure nobody mistook Wednesday evening’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Party for a frilly, flowery type of event, the Osterhout Free Library’s young adult librarian, Laura Harding, brought more than enough yarn, buttons, glue, paint and tiny cardboard figures for everyone in the Teen Night group to make a voodoo doll.

“Not everyone is lovey-dovey,” Harding said, explaining she thought “why not do something a little different” from the conventional Valentine’s Day party she held last year.

While Harding did supply pins for young crafters to add to the dolls, she explained she intended it to be a just-for-fun sort of activity, with “no ritual, no human hair, no having bad thoughts towards an ex-lover or ex-friend. Just something different.”

The project did seem to be an overall benign experience, with no vicious cries of “Take that!” directed toward any little figures.

“I’m gonna make one for my girl,” said 17-year-old Eddie Karcheski, of Wilkes-Barre, carefully writing “love you” on a cardboard cutout.

“I’m making mine look like H2O Delirious,” said 14-year-old Jaair Lowry, of Kingston, naming a You Tube gamer he admires. “He wears a hockey mask. I’ll make that with white paint.”

Over at the girls’ table — yes, as the evening got under way, the teens did segregate themselves by gender — 13-year-old Skyler Stempien, of Plymouth, and 18-year-old Helen Campbell, of Wilkes-Barre, used yarn for clothes and mismatched buttons for eyes to give their dolls a distinctive look.

Twelve-year-old Avagail Yeger, meanwhile, admitted she was trying to make hers resemble someone she knows who “doesn’t say a simple hello; she just glares at me.”

While 11-year-old Jahlil Lowry and 14-year-old Kanye Currie settled in to play a video game and some late arrivals started their first project of the night, early arrivals who had finished their dolls moved on to another project — “defacing” pictures of romance-novel covers that Harding had downloaded.

“I looked for the most cliched ones I could find,” Harding said, pointing to pictures of men with lots of muscles and women with lots of windswept hair.

“I’m making them both pirates,” Campbell said as she added eye patches and a shoulder-perching parrot to a couple locked in an embrace.

“I made this one look like Krusty the Clown,” Yeger said with a laugh.

‘All about loving’

In at least a nod to conventional Valentine’s parties, Harding had supplied punch that happened to be red and pretzels that happened to be covered in chocolate.

“It’s a staple,” Campbell said of the chocolate.

“I used to think Valentine’s Day was all about chocolate,” Currie said. “Now I know it’s all about loving.”

Harding said the library’s Teen Night takes place every Wednesday, encompassing movies, crafts and educational programs on such topics as anti-bullying, suicide prevention and how to tell facts from fiction.

“I’d like to get more people to see what we have here,” she said.

The 6 p.m. Feb. 20 meeting will include a picture-frame craft and the Feb. 27 meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. with the movie “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.”

The ‘voodoo doll’ part of the Teen Night anti-Valentine party at the Osterhout Free Library on Wednesday evening was all in fun, as 14-year-old Jaair Lowry, of Kingston, proved by decorating a doll to look like a YouTube gamer he admires.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/web1_anti1.jpgThe ‘voodoo doll’ part of the Teen Night anti-Valentine party at the Osterhout Free Library on Wednesday evening was all in fun, as 14-year-old Jaair Lowry, of Kingston, proved by decorating a doll to look like a YouTube gamer he admires. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

‘I’m making them both pirates,’ Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, said as she added eye patches and a parrot to a downloaded picture of a romance novel cover during the Osterhout Free Library’s Teen Night on Wednesday, which featured an anti-Valentine theme.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/web1_anti2.jpg‘I’m making them both pirates,’ Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, said as she added eye patches and a parrot to a downloaded picture of a romance novel cover during the Osterhout Free Library’s Teen Night on Wednesday, which featured an anti-Valentine theme. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, for years a faithful participant in Osterhout Free Library Teen Night activities, adds pins to the ‘voodoo doll’ she crafted during the teen group’s anti-Valentine party Wednesday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/web1_ttl021419antivalentines-3.jpgHelen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, for years a faithful participant in Osterhout Free Library Teen Night activities, adds pins to the ‘voodoo doll’ she crafted during the teen group’s anti-Valentine party Wednesday. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

It was easy to create ‘broken heart’ cookies, young adult librarian Laura Harding said, explaining she started with a package of heart-shaped cookies and broke each one in half.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/web1_ttl021419antivalentines-5.jpgIt was easy to create ‘broken heart’ cookies, young adult librarian Laura Harding said, explaining she started with a package of heart-shaped cookies and broke each one in half. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

Helen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, left, and Skyler Stempien, 13, of Plymoth, hold up the anti-Valentine voodoo dolls they made ‘just for fun’ Wednesday at the Osterhout Free Library’s Teen Night.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/web1_ttl021419antivalentines-4.jpgHelen Campbell, 18, of Wilkes-Barre, left, and Skyler Stempien, 13, of Plymoth, hold up the anti-Valentine voodoo dolls they made ‘just for fun’ Wednesday at the Osterhout Free Library’s Teen Night. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

By Mary Therese Biebel

[email protected]

Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT

Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT