Thursday, October 28, 2004

Fall Festival Spooks Parents

My 5-year-old's school did not have an official Halloween celebration. I guess the recent literary emphasis on Kiddie Witchcraft Academies such as Hogwarts, and Pagan Religion Creep into our culture has administrators wary of celebrating the ghoulish hell-raising aspects of this holiday. But of course kids still like to party, so we have moved on to the Fall Festival Tradition! Now this requires a certain amount of imagination in Florida, as you don't have leaves turning colors, or anything remotely resembling frost. And the whole harvest concept as being connected with fall is a little odd, since Florida is CONSTANTLY harvesting things. There are at least two seasons for harvesting oranges that I know of, and strawberries are available for months on end (unlike the 10 days you get in Buffalo). No, the spooky part about this festival was being a parental volunteer assigned to watch over 16 kids, none of whom are yours, and none of whom have name tags. I was wishing for the ID Implantable Chip of the Apocalypse just to keep track of things! Kidding. I only want the chip for Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Anyway, our "wards" were identified by group tags which hung around their necks. They were assigned to various teams with names such as The Pumpkins, The Skulls, The Witches, The Vampires, the Spiders, Ghosts etc. Now all of these names are fairly spooky except possibly the Pumpkins, and my kid just so happened to be a Pumpkin! However I had nothing to do with his group. I was one of the Vampire Administrators. I felt like Anne Rice. Fortunately the kids were fairly agreeable as far as forming lines, and generally staying together in harvest-garbed clumps. Because honestly, if they all decided to take off running, there is no way we could catch them before the presidential election. It is good that they are too young to realize this. So this festival took place at 12 different outdoor stations which we had to visit in 15-minute increments. There were activities such as Racing for Apples (without smashing them), Spider Tag (you had to tag your fellow students. This involved some minor injuries.), Fall Roundup (catching fake spiders -- note to self: invite kids over to the house to catch real ones as needed), and ANOTHER tag game in which they used bells and were blindfolded. (additional minor injuries, which is almost miraculous, that they were only minor.); Hallowe'en Walk (musical chairs to the tune of Monster Mash), Candy Corn Bingo, Face Painting, Pumpkin Photo Shoot, Trail Mix (one of my Vampires succumbed to excess trail mix and had to be escorted to the Upset Stomach Area), Fishing for Applies (thankfully they use poles for this, not bobbing with runny noses), and Pumpin Patch Calculus.(er, math). It was a big hit, although I honestly don't know how I managed all three and a half hours with no bathroom or water break. I was wishing I had managed a breakfast! (the trail mix was starting to look tempting.) One girl joined our Vampire Outfit about halfway through, and since she did not have a vampire tag around her neck, we just referred to her as the Girl in the Cow Outfit. Actually it was a skirt with a holstein design. Don't ask about names. It was far too confusing for that. Every 10 minutes or so we had to do a head count, and the Girl in the Cow Outfit kept wandering off. I don't think she acquired the Group Identity the same way the other vampires did, so we had to keep finding her and rounding her up with the others. Now the 5-year-old is expecting me to make a pumpkin pie, a pumpkin bread, and maybe even pumpkin side dishes from this mini pumpkin he brought home as a prize. Hubby suggested I do this at night from the canned pumpkin when it was time for his pumpkin to "expire." I was relieved when we were able to turn over all 16 Vampires plus the Cow Girl to their classroom teachers. I could never be a grammar school teacher. I would be too busy counting the children to make sure they were all still there. Now after all this happiness and joy regarding harvesting, my kids STILL wanted to ask questions about Scary Things tonight. Like what are all these Halloween-type characters made of. Yes! It was like Earth Sciences of the Living Dead. They wanted to know if vampires were warm or cold. (I think this came up because the 5-year-old somehow knew that vampires avoid the sun.) Well I said vampires were cold, but then I emphasized that in addition to being cold, THEY ARE NOT REAL. The 3-year-old said they were like dinosaurs. I said no, dinosaurs were EXTINCT, but vampires were not real. Like ghosts. So then they wanted to know what ghosts were made of, and what temperature they existed at. So I said ghosts were made up of clouds and were cold like fog. But that fog was real and ghosts were not. So then we went on to witches, which I admitted were warm, but I claimed they were not real, even though I momentarily hesitated because of the whole wiccan and practicing witch thing. I did NOT wish to explain this, even for the sake of equal opportunity for Evil Religions. Then we went on to dragons, which the boys knew were hot, and the 3-year-old explained proudly, "They're made of GAS." It is only a matter of time before they discover how much hot air I am made up of.

22 Comments:

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I have a halloween sites. They pretty much covers costumes and masks related stuff.

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