We had such a fantastic time on Saturday! Our moms group, the Holistic Moms Network, hosted a Holistic Halloween party here at the house. The kids ran around the yard and jumped in piles of leaves - really is there anything better? We had a wagon and some hay bales ans we (well, one of the dads) pulled the kids around for a "hay ride" while the kids not riding ran after the wagon. We opened up a pumpkin, and then our children got squirmy about sticking their hands in to take out the seeds. Every one of them wanted to use a spoon to scoop them out! The plan was to take the seeds and toast them, but somehow the pumpkin and seeds ended up in the sandbox...maybe we will have a volunteer pumpkin vine or two next year. There was a little crafts table set up outside with all kinds of materials to explore and create with.
When it began to drizzle, we dragged our stuff inside and ate! We had quite a spread - it was potluck, and with folks with lots of cooking talent and varied dietary needs, it was interesting and delicious. A few of the dads brought fall and pumpkin beers for tasting, we had soup, stew, casseroles, liver, veggies, pies, cakes, and I'm sure things I have missed. The children decorated mini pumpkins, made popcorn hands, and ran around in the playroom all afternoon. When the weather cleared, we went back out to bob for apples. Now in this era of swine flu we couldn't throw caution to the wind and stick our heads in a big trash can like we did when I was a kid, so each child had their own bowl! It was a riot watching them all - some trying to eat the apple in the water, some dunking the apple after each bite like the water was a dip. Of course a few got very wet, but it was warm and we were outside so all was well.
Honey and I were talking afterwards and we both agreed that it was great to have active parents with us. What I mean by that is people who take an active role in parenting their kids wherever they are. You can see them keeping their kids in sight out of the corner of their eyes while they carry on a conversation. At the first hint of trouble, their posture shows they are tuned in to what may happen next, and they can make suggestions or requests of the kids in order to help them negotiate play, get to the potty on time, or keep their dinner from spilling off the plate. The kids learn to deal with social rules and the parents assist but don't take over, rescue, or coddle. Many of the families in our group follow (loosely or otherwise) attachment parenting. The most amazing thing about this is that attachment parenting usually gets a bad rap for just allowing children to run amok. Honestly, I have thought that myself, and I can see how the ideas and principles can be misinterpreted to mean "let your child run wild". To me at least, the tuned in parent can respond in a loving way and help children understand what is expected of them in a loving and connected way.
So a good time was had by all and our house remained intact in the face of 10+ kids from birth to 3 or so and their parents. We successfully celebrated the holiday without a serious sugar overdose, and everyone went home happy. Happy Halloween!