Celebrating Halloween

Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays.

Sure, I did trick-or-treating with My Favorite Domer when he was little, and we decorated the house and enjoyed candy corn.

But too much mischief takes place at that time, all under the disguise of “harmless fun.” And too many adults try to take over the dressing up from what should be a kids’ occasion (something about seeing a “witch” behind the teller’s counter at my bank doesn’t sit well with me!)

But my fondest memory is when Domer was little and in day care. There, they learned by heart a darling story by Erica Silverman called Big Pumpkin.

“Once there was a witch who wanted to make pumpkin pie. So she planted a pumpkin seed. She weeded and watered, and after a while a sprout poked through. And then a pumpkin grew. And it grew. And it grew. And then it grew some more.”

The witch tries to yank the pumpkin off the vine but fails. Along come, in turn, a ghost, a vampire, and a mummy. All these characters try to remove the pumpkin from its vine, but they, too, are unsuccessful.

Finally, a tiny bat appears, acknowledges the size of the pumpkin, and volunteers to help.

The witch, ghost, vampire, and mummy survey the size of the little bat in relation to that of the pumpkin and start to laugh.

“I may not be big and I may not be strong but I have an idea,” the bat says.

By holding onto one another and working together, the creatures are able to remove the pumpkin from the vine. The witch makes pumpkin pie and invites the others to her place to have a slice.

Then she takes one of the seeds and plants it for the next time.

The story’s not scary, the rhyming is age-appropriate, the lesson is reasonable and something most of us want our kids to hear.

So, instead of competing to see who can dream up the scariest costume or get away with the most mischief or gorge ourselves on the most sweets, perhaps we might consider curling up with our little ones and introducing them to a good book.

How do you celebrate Halloween?