Monday, November 1, 2010

My Dragon and Halloween

Here's my little red dragon getting ready for the Halloween Walk his Waldorf School hosts every year.

The Halloween Walk or "Friends in the Forest" is a Spring Hill Waldorf School holiday tradition. It's a lovely magical walk through the Baker Park Reserve woods here in Minnesota. The path is lit only by jack - o - lanterns and candles which the kids and families of the school carve. Along the way he met many characters starting with Mother Nature who talked about safety in the woods as her pixies and sprites can leave rocks, roots and sticks in the paths. Next, was Mother Goose sitting by a fire needing help with her rhymes. The kids really loved shouting out the answers to the familiar stories. Then we saw a play about two sister rivers needing each other to have the strength to flow into the sea done by the 4th and 5th graders. Next, was another short play about the North Wind and the Sun. We learned that gentle persuasion is better than force as they both tried to get a traveler to take off his cloak and sit a spell. A shadow puppet theater was next along the path in one of the little cabins sprinkled throughout the woods. Two wonderful mothers put on the story of the Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow and gave the kids a cookie as they left to discover who else they might meet in the woods. This next play confused Sam a bit as it was Jacqueline and the Bean Stalk and not Jack and the Bean Stalk. Why this switch in genders? Well, the eighth grade class is made up of all girls and only 1 boy who wanted to play the chicken who laid the golden eggs. What happened to the goose - I don't know.

As we continued on our walk we ran into a very confused Scarecrow who didn't know which way we should go and told us a story about fire safety as he was scared of fire his being stuffed with dried leaves and all. We then saw a play about 2 stars rescuing the sun prince who had been turned into a dragon and another play with King Arthur and Merlin the Magician both set off by fire light. Next, it was inside again to another cabin for a puppet show of a Native American story about how strawberries came to be told with beautiful Waldorf needled felted table puppets. Lastly, we came to Mother Earth as she was weaving her blanket to keep all her children warm over the winter months. Two stars came out to sing to us and they passed out wooden necklaces to the children, with a moon and a star burned into them, to remember their magical night walking in the woods.

We then went back to the main lodge where our walk began to enjoy some friendship, hot cider and popcorn. Sam wanted to go on the walk all over again, but as it was already way past his bedtime we had to say no to his sweet request. What amazes me most about this Halloween walk is how the children are completely drawn into the plays and puppet shows even though some of the material is in language they are not familiar with. They just soak in the atmosphere and enjoy running to the next production. Sam also enjoyed finding the pumpkins we had carved along the way pointing them out with pride to his friends.

I really feel The Friends in the Forest walk was the best way to experience the holiday in an imaginative, non scary way, which is just perfect for little ones. What events do you go with your children to celebrate Halloween? Although, it wouldn't be Halloween without a bit of neighborhood trick - o - treating. Sam and Dan went out for about an hour teaming up with some other kids, or "new friends" as Sam says, along they way. He was very excited about how much candy he received, but was even more excited about the Halloween Fairy who exchanges a gift for all that candy. Of course Sam kept a few pieces to enjoy, but tonight we will leave out the rest of his candy stash by the back door for the Halloween Fairy. I wonder what she will bring?

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