Happy Halloween! I hope your fall has been as fun and eventful as ours. We’ve certainly gotten into the spirit of celebration this year, bursting with Halloween and fall crafts and stories, adventures, movies, and festivals. Today was the culmination of the harvest celebration. It was a day the kids won’t soon forget.
The best part of any holiday is giving back. Our homeschool group makes missions a strong part of its purpose and we’re making an effort to be more involved in these missions. Today, we joined numerous other homeschooling families in bringing some Halloween cheer to the residents at the Cyprus Village Assisted Living Facility. There were a lot of costumed cuties eager to wish some of Jacksonville’s older residents a happy day. The residents absolutely loved it. The facility provided the residents with candy and we trick-or-treated and wished everyone a happy Halloween. The kids made fall cards to hand out too. It was so precious to see their smiles. Many of the residents don’t get many visitors. It was amazing to brighten their week a bit.
Eight-year-old A truly enjoyed our visit to Cypress Village. “It feels way better to give to someone else than to get and get.” It really sunk in for her how lonely the residents must get living there all the time with few visitors. It was a lovely place, but nothing beats human interaction. We’re looking forward to our next visit. I am grateful we had this opportunity and hope that missions like these teach the kids to truly value humanitarianism and loving other people. If more people reached out and made others feel loved and remembered, what a beautiful world it would be.
The kids loved trick-or-treating this morning. Each child brought home quite a lot of treats. They loved dressing up too. D was so happy to finally wear his giraffe costume. He’s been absolutely in love with giraffes since he was a baby. His favorite toy? It’s no teddy bear, but a well-worn stuffed giraffe. He’s been great about completing his school work well and on time this month and his reward was the plush giraffe costume he’s had his eyes on. He was so happy wearing it today! This will be a costume I keep long after he’s grown too tall. He got so many compliments today. Who can resist a visit from an adorable little giraffe?
After lunch and a Halloween movie, we hit up the zoo for an afternoon of fun. We may not have time for Spooktacular this year, but there’s no reason we can’t enjoy the whole nine yards during the day. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens goes all out for Halloween, decorating the grounds with hundreds of carved pumpkins, decorations, spiders, webs, and creepy critters too. The kids had a blast exploring. There were thing to discover around every bend. E set out to count each and every pumpkin, although he gave up at 327. D was scared of the huge, hairy spider decorations but eventually worked up the courage to touch one. The best part was taking our time to enjoy everything. Spooktacular is amazing at night, but also very crowded. During the day, it’s not too busy at all. The decorations were fantastic. What better way to spend Halloween?
Pumpkins! One simply can’t get enough pumpkins in the Fall. We loved seeing the scores and scores of creatively carved pumpkins at the zoo today. B squealed with delight each time she found one new and different. Between pumpkin crafts and carving our own gords, it’s been a pumpkin-full week! Now perhaps a pumpkin pie with a soon-to-be-on clearance pumpkin after the holiday? What’s your favorite thing to do with pumpkins? I love baking with pumpkin. I intended to incorporate a baking project into our holiday but was quite worn out after the zoo trip. The kids? Not at all. Why is that?
We LOVE ABC Family and have watched so many classic Halloween family movies leading up to Halloween. A is old enough to really enjoy that sort of thing now. I’ve loved revisiting old classics I haven’t seen in years. She’s discovering them for the first time. All of the kids watched The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time this year. It was cool that the zoo incorporated this movie into a theme this year. They did a great and spooky job! They also incorporated Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. Love it! The Wizard of Oz theme was great too, the same as last year. The kids loved exploring Dorothy’s house, “riding” her bike through Kansas, following the Yellow Brick Road, and posing as trees in the forest. It was totally goofy but so fun.
Today was all about fun, a total break from school. I hate the scary side of Halloween, but love that the kids get to dress up as whatever they please and be so silly. There’s a lot of fun to be had. What family traditions do you celebrate this time of year?
Here are our big 5 family traditions for October:
1. Visit the Pumpkin Patch– An absolute must! Hay rides, a corn maze, good food, tons of fun, and quality pumpkins are what it’s all about.
2. Fall Crafts– If the house isn’t decked out in leaves, pumpkins, and adorable hand-print creations, something is wrong.
3. Baking– I don’t bake a lot most of the year because I gain 5 pounds simply thinking about baking, but in the Fall one simply must bake bread and fill the house with the scents of pumpkin and spice. Absolute must.
4. Spooktacular– We’ve gone every year we’ve lived in Jacksonville. Soccer practice fills our evenings this year, so we went during the day. Check! Also, so much less busy.
5. Trick-or-treating– The kids love it and talk about it all year. I’m not a fan of the huge amount of candy they bring home, but they make such great memories. I need to find a way to make this healthier. Any ideas?
The evening finale was the event the kids wait for all year: Trick-or-treating. They couldn’t wait to put their costumes back on and walk the neighborhood. The excitement has been building all month as the neighbors decked out their houses in fall decor one by one, some cute and some downright spooky. A traded her snow princess gown for Army fatigues for the evening’s festivities in honor of her Uncle, who is deployed overseas. She was so insistent about this and so proud too, telling anyone in ear shot that she’s honoring her Uncle who can’t be here today because he’s fighting so we can be free. So sweet!
The kids had an amazing time today. 7-year-old E made me a card with a pumpkin on it and left it on my night stand. “Dear Mama,” It reads, “Thank you for the cool day. You have the best ideas for Hallowing (sic). Love, E***.” Good to know. They are getting too darn big. It won’t be long before they want nothing to do with the cutesy crafts and dressing up. Perhaps this memory making is just as much for me as it is for them. Can’t they just stay little forever?