I am not a fan of Halloween

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

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Here’s a link to the Flickr album with pics that capture some of it. Photos by me and Andrea Tufts. But mostly Andrea.

ASA - Halloween 2015


  1. LOVE!

  2. Green Gremlin:

    What a wonderful tradition. I love that the costumes are home made and that the focus is fun for everyone. Not a piece of bad candy in sight but so many happy children. You can feel the energy flowing. Well done PDS!

  3. Sam Gusich:

    “It’s OK to expose children to Freddy Krueger and chainsaw massacres but never to germs.” LOL!

  4. Me neither. But I’m tempted to cut out the Brexit horror-monster masks in this week’s New European and make something of them.
    David Nice´s last blog post ..The Estonian Wolf Hall

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