Two thousand years ago, the Celts dressed in costumes and set alight sacred bonfires to appease and ward off the spirits of the dead. Marked by the end of the summer harvest, this was Samhain, now known as Halloween. Since then, the way Halloween is celebrated has changed dramatically depending on the beliefs and traditions of the culture of the time.
Today is no different. Our consumer and commercially-driven culture has greatly impacted Halloween. Children celebrate by dressing up as the most popular movie or cartoon character of the day and amassing and eating as much cheap candy as they can.
And yet, ask anyone and the best part of Halloween is not the costume or the bad candy, it is spending time with friends going house to house in the cool crisp evening, talking to neighbors and being among community.
This Halloween, why not re-envision the day for your family? Take pleasure in the changing of the seasons and all that nature has to offer. Imagine opportunities to connect by choosing activities that bring the family together. Create a holiday that brings joy and healthy nourishment to mind, body and spirit.
Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Nourishment For The Spirit
What imaginative world would your child enter wearing a fiery red and gold crown of leaves? Perhaps the King or Queen of Autumn? The extraordinarily creative moms at Twig and Toadstool have created step-by-step instructions with photos on how your child can weave their own crown using just the leaves and stems.
Another idea for sparking imaginative play comes from the simple playsilks and dressups at Sarah’s Silks.
“Children … use our toys to dressup, build forts, make puppet shows, be super heroes, dance, play peek-a-boo and much more!” – Sarah Lee, Sarah’s Silks
And, your child will be able to use these beautiful silks for year-round play.
A book treasured through the years for its countless hands-on activities that connect children with nature with ideas for involving the whole family is Celebrating Nature: Activities For Every Season by Angela Schmidt Fishbaugh. For instance, go on walks to find brilliant leaves, pine cones, acorns or seeds and create an Autumn Treasure Chest. Take an autumn picture of your family in a pile of leaves to include in the treasure box.
Nourishment For The Body
If you’re lucky enough to live near organic apple orchards, make time to visit, pick and taste apples right off the tree. Then, buy a bushel and create an unforgettable aroma with fresh applesauce or baked apples with cinnamon. If you’re going to carve a pumpkin to make a jack o’ lantern, use the pulp for pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie and roast the seeds for a super-healthy snack.
A delightful idea from Aimee at Its Over Flowing is a familiar game families can play right at the table. You’ll need some tape (choose one that won’t damage your type of table), small pumpkins, pine cones or acorns. Measure out your tic tac toe squares and let the fun begin. Besides bringing nature into your home and creating a centerpiece, you have a built-in game for family fun at the ready.
Nourishment For The Mind
Some books are so wonderful that they become cherished treasures. These are some favorites.
Wild Child by Lynn Plourde
The Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum
Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky
Christopher’s Harvest Time by Elsa Beskow
Autumn board book by Gerda Muller
All Year Round by Elsa Beskow
Autumn: A Collection of Poems, Songs and Stories for Young Children (Kindergarten)
Autumn Nature Activities for Children by Irmgard Kutsch
This Halloween, make sweet memories with your child that will deepen their love and understanding of the gifts Mother Earth provides and bring your family closer together.