Friday, November 4, 2016

7 Quick Takes: How We Halloween

At just a few weeks shy of turning three, Miss Muffet is at an age now where she will start to remember from year to year how we celebrate certain holidays and occasions. Therefore, this is the first year where we have had any sort of intentional Halloween celebration in our house. Though we decided not to venture out for trick-or-treat (nor did we bother with any of the many local trunk-or-treats), Miss Muffet and Little Bo Peep both had their fill of Halloween fun, as well as opportunities to celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day.


Our go-to method for celebrating any holiday is always to read about it, and we have been reading Halloween-themed books for weeks. We checked out some nonfiction from the library, delved into my own childhood stash, and even listened to the audiobook of Big Pumpkin on YouTube. Reading about Halloween really helped Miss Muffet develop the vocabulary needed to talk about things like costumes, decorations, masks, and being scared, and she really didn't express much anxiety about Halloween at all. She's a little creeped out by skeletons, and did not want to watch the Silly Symphony Skeleton Dance, but overall I think the books helped make her comfortable with the idea that Halloween is mostly just pretend. We also received a small coloring book from her grandmother that came with stickers, which was a big hit.


Grandma sent outfits for both girls which had black cats on them. They wore them during the day, and then at night, we dressed Miss Muffet up in a costume made entirely from things we had around the house. She wanted to be a pirate, so we dressed her all in black, then tied and draped play silks of various colors over her shoulders, around her waist, and around her head. Then we put some beads on her neck and wrist. My husband made an eye patch from felt and twine, and gave her some sort of tool to hold that vaguely resembled a sword. She didn't wear it for long, but we did take photos for posterity, and I was pretty impressed with the end result.

Scavenger Hunt

During the day, while Daddy was at work, I took the girls outside in the stroller and had Miss Muffet do a scavenger hunt for various Halloween decorations. Our scavenger hunts tend to be pretty basic. I draw poorly planned pictures of the objects we're looking for, hand her a crayon, and she checks them off when we see them. On our list for our Halloween hunt were: a small pumpkin, a big pumpkin, a witch, a skeleton, a ghost, a jack-o-lantern, a spiderweb and a bat. We didn't find any bat decorations, but everything else got a check mark.

Cookie Decorating

Instead of trick-or-treating, which I think is pretty much pointless given that we have a revolving door of new neighbors and never get too know any of them, we baked sugar cookies in Halloween shapes and decorated them with frosting and sprinkles. Miss Muffet, who is a cookie fiend, was thrilled with this project and she helped decorate most of them. 

Ghost Candles

I went to a Party Lite party something like ten years ago and bought a set of ghost candle holders. I pulled those out and we stuck some new tea lights inside and lit them for atmosphere while we ate our cookies. Shortly after, we put out the candles and put Miss Muffet to bed. As I said goodnight to her, she said, "Mama, that was such a great Halloween." Mission accomplished.

One Hundred Saints

On Tuesday morning, in celebration of All Saints Day, I brought out our copy of One Hundred Saints, and just paged through it with Miss Muffet. (Bo Peep looked on from the playpen. She is not allowed near books we want to keep intact.) She was fascinated by St. Denis and wanted to know what happened to his head (I forgot he was in there) and she asked a lot of questions about St. George's horse in the image where he is shown slaying the dragon. ("Is his horse okay? Are you sure?") We made it about three-quarters of the way through the book, which was pretty impressive.

All Souls Family Tree

Finally, for All Souls Day, we talked about Miss Muffet's deceased grandfather, great-grandparents, and great-great grandparents (all of whom died before she was born) and made a little family tree showing their connections to Miss Muffet. Then I said the Prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, and prompted Miss Muffet to say Amen. This was a pretty last-minute activity, but I think I want to repeat it in future years.

As always, 7 Quick Takes is hosted by This Ain't the Lyceum.

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