Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Version of Halloween- Increase your Imagination

Please Use Your Imagination!
A great book by Bart Vivian

Imagination is obviously important. When we use our imagination we are in a moment our senses are not being used to perceive, but instead our mind.  It is an important role in the learning process helping us to make sense of the world. Imagination has provided humans with the creativity to advance society in art, music, dance, writing/stories, science, psychology, and much more. And it's just fun. I can't really fly to any tropical islands right now, but I'm so there whenever I want in my mind. And since we have something called the internet which came about through creativity, ideas, dreams and imagination, I can use google images to find pictures of my tropical island to advance my own dream. 

So what am I getting at with this? Well we know that Halloween is pretend and features imaginative creatures and characters.  My problem is that I'm just not a fan of the scary stuff.  Although it's creative, it doesn't add a lot of improvement and inspiration to my life.  In fact it just plain causes me anxiety and encourages me to want to take all sorts of self defense classes. I've been this way since I was small. Every year something different scared me out of my mind for several weeks before Halloween. The scariest costume I ever had was a cute witch.  I'm sure I'm not alone in this.  There's plenty of people who enjoy the scary, horror, haunted house type of stuff and there's plenty who are like me.  My oldest is 4 and although he says he enjoys spooky stuff I know that he's quick to change his mind when he's sees the scary monster pictures, even though he does know and understand that it's pretend. 

I don't want to just throw out Halloween completely.  There's a lot of great imaginative things we can still do. For those of you that can't get enough of the haunted house scene, enjoy away! For us who don't care for it, you might enjoy some alternatives where you can still participate in the holiday.  There's plenty examples out there already such as the different pictures you can trace and carve on your pumpkin. Last year we had Elmo and this year we hope to have Cookie Monster. We definitely don't just see scary faces on front porches!
    I was reading up on the origins of Halloween and according to wikipedia there are several.  The two main ones I posted below along with the link to read more.  Most of it seems nice except for the Gaels bonfire to ward off evil spirits. The exact quotes will be below with the wiki link. Here is a list of things we like to do to enjoy our Halloween experience.

  • Decorate the downstairs with autumn decor. 
  • Read books about imagination on Halloween.
  • Put up pictures of family and friends who have passed away to remember and honor them.
  • Put up pictures of people we view as heroic, dead or alive.
  • Imagine ourselves as storybook characters and have a parade
  • Attend fall festivals and pumpkin farms.
  • Bake cookies, pies and more!
  • Carve a pumpkin of course :)
  • Trick or Treat!

During the moments when our kids get scared we all search for our own methods of comfort to lift them up and help them to understand what reality is. Old Papa Bear put it quite nicely in this story which is part of one of our favorite series. Papa explained to Sister that she was afraid of the dark because of her imagination rather than what was really there.  When Sister remarks that she wished she did not have an imagination Papa explains that our imagination is very important.

There is a great song called Imagination by Hugworks.  It's a good song for a wide range of elementary students.

Would love to hear about anyone else's Halloween traditions! 

Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-an orsow-in)", derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning "summer's end".[1] Samhain was the first and by far the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish and Scottish[2] calendar[3][4] and, falling on the last day of Autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead.[1 There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen.[3][4] To ward off these spirits, the Gaels built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice.

Halloween is also thought to have been heavily influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints' Day (also known as HallowmasAll Hallows, Hallowtide) and All Souls' Day.[5] Falling on November 1st and 2nd respectively, collectively they were a time for honoring the Saints and praying for the recently departed


Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Apples and Pumpkins- Anne Rockwell, Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell

It's Pumpkin Time- Zoe Hall, Illustrated by Shari Halpern

The Littlest Pumpkin- RA Herman

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever- Steven Kroll Illustrated Jeni Bassett

Pumpkins- Mary Lyn Ray Illustrated by Barry Root

Four Friends in Autumn- Tomie DePaola

Growing Vegetable Soup- Lois Ehlert

Book Making
Find pictures on google images to make a book about autumn fruits/veggies, leaves, or what ever you want!
See ours below under "our experience".

The Leaves on the Trees- Rachel Rambach- Listen & Learn Music
All About Autumn- Rachel Rambach- Listen & Learn Music
Autumn Leaves are Falling Down- To the Tune of London Bridge
Monster Mash
Dry Bones
Costumes on Parade- Rachel Rambach-Listen & Learn Music


Salt Dough Leaves from That Artist Woman

Cue Tip Leaf Painting from La Classe Della Maestra Valentina

Cork Print Tree (could also use thumb prints) from Frugal Family Fun

Apple Cider
Apple Brownies
Apple Sauce
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie Cake

Decorating the house- tablecloth, door decoration, cornucopia center piece, candles

Visit a local pumpkin farm/apple orchard.  Being out and away from the neighborhood in a new farm/orchard setting is exciting in itself.  Some include pony rides, train rides, crafts, and more. Bring cash just in case. Some take cards and some don't.  Find one near you at Pick your own




Our Experience

Salt Dough Leaves

Zachary                                  Adelyn
Cue Tip Trees- They had their own ideas in mind :)

Adelyn's Leaf Painting from school

Autumn Fruits Picture Book

Sugar Cookies with Halloween Colors

Cookie icing project directed by Aunt Michelle!

Cue tip Trees

Cue Tip Trees

Cue Tip Trees

Cue Tip Tree Painting

Posing for a picture because Mommy wanted us to

Climbing the Haystack Maze

Fishing for Bats!

Library Halloween Activities- Balloon swinging

Littlest Pet Shop and Buzz Lightyear

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rainbows and I Am Special


The Crayon Box that Talked- Shane DeRolf, Illustrated by Michael Letzig

A little girl overhears a box of crayons arguing and being unkind to each other. She buys the box, takes them home and teaches them about how everyone is important.

I'm Special, I'm Me- Ann Meek, Sarah Massini

A little boy learns that his ideas are important and unique because they are his and that he can be whatever he wants.

Rainbow Rob- Joe Rigg, Simon Mugford

Rainbow Rob doesn't like being black and white so he imagines himself as different colors and discovers who he really wants to be!

Polar Bear and the Rainbow-Moira Butterfield, Illustrated by Sanja Rescek

Ben the bear wants to be a different color because he thinks white is boring, but he learns about the importance of being the color he is.

The Little Engine that Could- Watty Piper

The popular story of learning to believe in yourself.

I Like Myself- Karen Beaumont

Learning to like the qualities of yourself!



Tissue Rainbow Craft
1. Cut a paper plate in half by folding and cutting on the line.
2. Cut a small semi circle out of the bottom.
3. Start with purple around the bottom!

Rainbow Rice


Rainbow Crayon Melt


Visual Aids-Easy to Make


Rainbow Cupcakes

Taste a Rainbow
Family Fun

Amanda's Cookin' st. patrick's day cookies
The Crafty Crow   Plus at this site there are more rainbow ideas.

Our Experience