I am not a fan of Halloween.
There – I’ve said it! What a killjoy, spoil sport, and miserable curmudgeon!
Ok – to explain: First – It’s not a part of my childhood tradition. My personal mental furniture of memory for this season trends toward Bonfire Night, November 5th. I do remember once bobbing for apples – a game now out of fashion as too unsanitary and dangerous. (It’s OK to expose children to Freddy Krueger and chainsaw massacres but never to germs.) Apple bobbing was kind of fun but I had no clue why we were doing it.
My childhood October 31st was entirely pumpkin, candy and costume free. Ok – so I had a deprived childhood. (Not so.) But it may relate to my distaste for the commercialized licensed mayhem of so many Halloween “celebrations” – the faux shock and horror, ghouls, goblins and all the rest of the candy extravaganza blackmail of tricks or.treats
But I am a big fan of Halloween at Poughkeepsie Day School.
And that’s because the focus is community, imagination and fun for everyone. It’s a real coming-together-bunch-of-super-silliness – where the oldest kids can be, well, kids again – and everyone has a role and gets to have some fun.
It’s playful and inclusive and not focussed on fear and creepiness. The smallest children parade the school. This year they were in self-made costumes as animals that they had spent time with and studied at Sprout Creek Farm. And they were, of course, adorable.
And then the Halloween all-school activity is a tradition everyone looks forward to. And especially our high school seniors who are the stars of the event.
It’s about pumpkin carving: Younger children create the design, older ones manage the carving.
And it’s about high fashion. Using a ragbag collection of paper scraps activity groups dress their seniors and give them fantastic and ridiculous names.
Then – we all gather in the James Earl Jones Theater for a seasonal song and the Senior Fashion Parade.
The culmination is the great pumpkin reveal. The carved pumpkins – having been carried behind the stage curtain – are lined up and lit. The theater lights go down. There is silence in the house. The curtain opens….. And , wait for it …..Aaaaah! And …..Ooooh!
It’s playful, childcentric, magical and everyone has a good time.
This year the pumpkin flesh will become goat food. The seeds were extracted and will be washed, roasted and served as a lunchtime snack.
And then to cap it all: Maker-in-chief math teacher Li Pipman Denaut created a breakfast for the faculty in Kenyon that was – well ridiculous. I will write about that separately.
Maybe I like Halloween after all
Here’s a link to the Flickr album with pics that capture some of it. Photos by me and Andrea Tufts. But mostly Andrea.