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Helping Kids Be Responsible, Happy, and Successful

HERE COMES MY FAVORITE MONTH!

October is one of my favorite months of the year. For one thing, it is the month I gave birth to my son. For another thing, it’s the month in which HALLOWEEN occurs.

HALLOWEEN is so special, I wrote a book about it called, Taking the Scary Out of Halloween. The book contains a plethora of tips and activities that can help make Halloween safe and fun. A download of the book is yours for FREE at www.joyberryenterprises.com. Enter the code FALLFUN at checkout.

                      HALLOWEEN
 

HALLOWEEN, also called All Hallows Eve, or the Eve of All Saints Day, occurs on October 31st. All Saints Day is a time when Christians honor the early saints who died in order to defend or preserve their religious beliefs. The scary Halloween traditions originated by the Celts 2000 years ago.

SAMBHAIN, which also occurs on October 31st, was the Celtic harvest festival celebrating the death of the old year and the beginning of the new year. People honored the dead but also feared their spirits. They believed that on the eve of Samhain, evil spirits roamed the earth casting magic spells wherever they went.

Halloween Symbols
 

Children are going to come across HALLOWEEN SYMBOLS throughout the month of October and while it might be fun to pretend that the symbols are evil and scary, it is important to remember that in reality, the animals associated with Halloween are actually wonderful creatures. As for other Halloween characters like witches, ghosts and vampires, it’s important to remind children that they are only make-believe.

Here is some fun information to share with your children about some of the familiar HALLOWEEN SYMBOLS:

  • HALLOWEEN TRICK-OR-TREAT is a tradition that comes from an old Irish custom. Poor farmers used to go to the rich families’ homes on Halloween asking for food. The farmers played tricks on the rich people who did not give out treats, and ghosts were blamed for the mischievous deeds.
     
  • HALLOWEEN JACK-O-LANTERNS are carved pumpkins that got their name from an old Irish folk tale in which Jack, a mean man, tricked the devil into not taking his soul. When Jack died, he couldn’t get into heaven because he had been too mean. He went to the devil, but the devil wouldn’t take him either because Jack had tricked him. So, Jack was forced to wander the earth forever, carrying a lantern to light his way through the darkness.
     
  • HALLOWEEN WITCHES can supposedly cast spells over people and objects that can make them do unusual things. Witches were believed to have helpers or companions such as cats, owls, bats, and toads. These animals were called “familiars” and performed helpful tasks for their witches like collecting ingredients for the potions that were used to cast magic spells.

    Since angels and devils were supposed to be able to fly, people believed that witches propelled by their magic brooms could fly. Therefore, witches are often pictured mounted on their broomsticks flying though the Halloween sky.
     
  • HALLOWEEN BLACK CATS often symbolize bad luck. Many ancient cultures believed that cats had magic powers. According to one superstition, a person will have bad luck if a black cat crosses the person’s path.
     
  • HALLOWEEN BATS are supposed to be scary. It was believed that witches used bat parts in their magic potions. In reality, bats only come out at night and their echoing high-pitched sound often frightens people.
     
  • HALLOWEEN GHOSTS are supposed to be the souls of the dead. They were believed to wander on Samhain Eve seeking food and warmth. Since it was thought that ghosts could reveal the future to those who met them, Halloween became a night for foretelling the future.
     
  • HALLOWEEN ZOMBIES are supposed to be reanimated human corpses that are brought back to life by witchcraft.
     
  • HALLOWEEN MUMMIES are people or animals whose bodies have been dried or otherwise preserved. And while they are not alive, they are real. The process of mummification that resulted in the lifelike preservation of human bodies and animals was motivated by ancient Egyptian beliefs in magic and superstitions.
     
  • HALLOWEEN SKELETONS are the bones of human bodies and serve as a reminder that Halloween was once a day to honor the dead.
     
  • COUNT DRACULA was a fictional vampire who, according to legend, slept in his coffin during the day. At night, he would stalk his victims, pierce their necks with his two sharp fangs, and drink their blood.

          HALLOWEEN SCAVENGER HUNT

Halloween Symbols are perfect for a game of I-Spy. But they are also perfect for a Halloween Scavenger Hunt. This hunt involves teams.
 

1. Start out at a mall, large store or another location that is likely to have Halloween symbols on display via signs, merchandise, greeting cards, etc.

2. Divide the group into teams. (A team can be two or more people and each team should include at least one adult or one responsible teen.)

3. Make sure each team has access to a smartphone.

4. Give each team a list of Halloween Symbols and Words. The list might include:

Trick-or-Treat
Jack-o-Lantern
Witch on a Broom
Witches Caldron
Black Cat
Bat
Owl
Toad
Ghost

Zombie
Mummy
Skeleton
Dracula
Tombstone
Halloween Moon
Scarecrow
Candy Corn
Skull

5. Instruct the teams to locate each item on the list and take a photo of the item.

6. The team that is first to take photos of every item on the list is the winner. 

 

A Fun Add-on to the Halloween Scavenger Hunt can include having the teams take turns providing information about the symbols. Award 1 point to a team that provides accurate information about a symbol. The team that earns the most points wins the game.

 

Two-Person Halloween Scavenger Hunt: You don’t need teams to have fun with the Halloween Scavenger Hunt. You can do the hunt with as little as one other person—like your child. Make the hunt more fun by allotting a certain amount of time to complete it.

 

Another Option is to have each family member use a smartphone to photograph the symbols they come across during the month of October. The family member who is first to photograph all of the symbols wins the game.

Halloween Costumes

October 1st is the day children should begin to zero in on what they want to be for Halloween. Why so early? 

First, it’s best to put together a costume when there’s still enough time to get the supplies and make it or while store-bought costumes are still readily available. Nothing is worse than shopping for a costume only to discover that the one your child’s heart is set on is sold out.

Second, since anticipation is the best part of any kids’ event, displaying your child’s costume in the weeks before the big party or trick-or-treat night can exponentially increase the excitement and fun of Halloween.

Meanwhile, because costumes are often the best part of Halloween, here are SIX TIPS I like to give children before they choose their Halloween costumes:

  • TIP #1 – Avoid wearing Halloween masks or costumes that cover your face and make it difficult for you to see or breathe. Instead of wearing a mask, you might want to put on makeup or paint your face with face paint.
     
  • TIP #2 – Avoid wearing Halloween costumes that are too big or too long and might cause you to trip and fall. The most comfortable costumes to wear are ones that are created around your own clothes. Sometimes using something as simple as a plain tee-shirt that you decorate yourself can be fun.
     
  • TIP #3 – Wear comfortable shoes that will not hurt your feet or cause you to trip and fall while you are trick-or-treating.
     
  • TIP #4 – Put together inexpensive and unique costumes with things you get from a thrift store or secondhand store. When you’re finished using the costume, you can recycle it again.
     
  • TIP #5 – Think outside the box and make your own costume. The costumes you create are often more original and fun to wear.
     
  • TIP #6 – Halloween costumes do not have to be limited to Halloween. They can be used over and over again for all kinds of pretend play and at-home performances.

If this newsletter has jumpstarted your enthusiasm for Halloween, my mission has been accomplished. As for the mid-October newsletter, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve got some things up my sleeve that are sure to make October 31st memorable and fun for your entire family. So, until then, HAPPY OCTOBER!

Joy

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