Reprinted with permission from http://www.SimpleLiving.org
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Community Pumpkin Patch
For Halloween, we have a community Pumpkin Patch. Our local social service agency has a volunteer-operated community garden. Garden plots for individual use are free, but all takers must help plant and harvest one crop in the community garden to provide fresh produce for the food pantry. These community gardens are located on city land used as a leaf dump, and we have found that pumpkins grow well in uncultivated leaf mounds.Just before Halloween our harvested pumpkins, supplemented by others we purchase, are placed in the Pumpkin Patch where customers trade cans of food for pumpkins — two food items for a small pumpkin, four for a medium pumpkin, etc. These canned goods are given to the local food pantry.
We make money for the food pantry by selling homemade pumpkin baked goods and apple cider. Two local residents set up their apple press and make fresh cider, stimulating sales by giving out free samples.
In addition, volunteer artists paint a cute or scary face on pumpkins for 25 cents. For entertainment the zoo brings animals to pet, and the recreation center provides clowns for face painting.
The Pumpkin Patch has become quite a tradition in our community. It raises several hundred dollars for our food pantry and contributes many canned goods. This project requires little work and lasts one Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
–Mary and Bill Merrill, Columbus, Ohio
All Hallow’s Eve
We celebrate All Hallow’s Eve with a hot dog roast and bonfire. Everyone is encouraged to dress as a saint, but no Draculas are turned away. We play games such as “Pin the Crown on the Saint,” and sing I Sing a Song of the Saints of God (Episcopal hymnal). We end with the service for All Hallow’s Eve around the bonfire.
–Ed, Andrea, Nathanael and Rebekah Wills, Memphis, Tennessee
We hosted a family party encouraging everyone (not just children!) to come dressed as Bible characters or saints. As folks gathered, we sang fun, campfire-type songs. Then we all told who we were and were given the prize of a bookmark.
Afterward, the adults played table games (and they must have really enjoyed it, staying as late as they did!) while the kids had their choice of face painting, guessing the number of pieces of candy in a jar, bobbing for apples, bean bag toss, ping-pong, ball toss, or drawing faces on balloons. We had trouble getting people to leave, so perhaps we’ll have another celebration next year!
–Susan Landis, Cheshire, Connecticut
Family Halloween Celebration
Dress the whole family in costume and visit a pediatric ward. Get permission for your visit in advance, making sure your planned gifts to the children there are appropriate. Balloons, coloring books, or comics may make better gifts than candy or gum. Or, if the hospital has no objections, bake cookies together and take them. Visit a few rooms briefly. The joy you bring to the patients and their parents
is a real gift.
–Joel E. Shirk, Cheshire, Connecticut
Ideas reprinted with permission from http://www.SimpleLiving.org