On a weekend when boxes of chocolates, sappy love letters and long-stemmed red roses were the staple, the Red Deer Public Library offered teens a different option.
Rather than red balloons, heart-shaped candy and Valentine’s Day cards, the library recognized St. Skeletor’s Day and hosted an Anti-Valentine’s Day party on Sunday.
Skeletor isn’t a real saint, but if the name sounds familiar, it’s for good reason.
Anyone who was a child in the 1980s will likely know Skeletor as the nemesis of He-Man and his crew, a brawny bunch of heroes that spawned both a cartoon series and action figures. Thirty-somethings may even have played with a miniature Castle Grayskull or a plastic He-man toy.
Skeletor — AKA the incarnation of pure evil — was resurrected by British comedian Richard Herring in 1998 to serve as the inspiration for an antithesis day to Valentine’s Day.
No more gushy greeting cards or pledges of undying affection — instead Herring envisioned something with less hearts and more skulls, less love and more destruction.
While it wasn’t exactly mayhem on Sunday at the library, teenagers were encouraged to deface colour photocopies of Harlequin Romance novel covers as part of an art project.
They were also urged to write breakup letters or make anti-Valentines, with plenty of black paper and skull stickers on hand to aid them in their quest.
Breanna See, 12, was busy transforming her romance novel cover from a passionate portrait into a more vicious rendering.
“I’m making it look less romantic and more like a horror,” she said. “I’m making them look as ugly as possible.”
Although just heading into her teen years, See has already had enough of the lovebird’s holiday.
“I don’t really like Valentine’s Day. It’s all about the mushiness,” said the Red Deer adolescent.
Eric Walters, 11, was in agreement.
“All these guys and girls are kissing in the hall and I feel left out,” he said.
He had planned to ask a girl out in time for Valentine’s Day, but then found out she had a boyfriend. “Valentine’s Day sucks unless you have a girlfriend,” he said.
Walters planned to design a card reading “I wish you were mine, NOT.”
As the group of 10 young people created their less than Hallmark-ready cards, music better for a breakup than a romantic date played in the background. The movie 10 Things I Hate About You — an adaptation of the Taming of the Shrew — was set to finish off the afternoon.
Paige Bosch, 15, decided to attend because she said Valentine’s Day is her least favourite holiday.
“My friend is into Valentine’s Day. So I was like, ‘In your face. I can have fun in February too.’ ”
Bosch said the worst thing about Valentine’s Day is PDA, also known as public displays of affection. She said she has had enough of having to watch all the smooching. “It’s nauseating.”
Jennifer Waters, teen services librarian with the Red Deer Public Library, decided to hold the event for local teenagers after reading about the idea online.
Waters said to plan programs for teenagers and make something interesting enough for them to like, it’s necessary to do something edgy. She said the event was an excuse to do something a little different and fun for young people.
Contact Stacy O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org