Halloween

England - apple stamps

You will need:

Paper,
Apples,
Orange, black, green paint,
Brushes.

Start by cutting your apples in half and putting your orange paint in a tub that the apples fit in. 
Let your child stamp the orange painted apples onto paper. When dry, add green leaves and black features for their faces.
   Button enjoyed this activity, she made each page of prints a family, giving them all names. 
 While she painted we spoke about the facts of Halloween. How it came about and what people believe. We found out it originated from Ireland, it was Gaelic and celebrated the end of summer and beginning of winter. It was a time to store food, ready for the cold months ahead. People would wear costumes and masks to scare off harmful spirits. 
   We then learnt that trick or treat started as poor children begging for food at doors by singing songs to scare off the spirits. 
   Button found it all really interesting and asked questions. I then explained why we don't believe or take part but that we celebrate Jesus being the Light of the world and have a light party.

Day of the dead in Mexico

You will need: 

Black paper,
Paper plates,
Blackboard pens,
Scissors,
String and hole punch.

Draw out skulls on the black card and plates then cut around them. I would hole punch a hole now as I forgot till half way through and so had to have a hole through Button's lovely designs. 
   Then let your children decorate them with bright colours. 

Button has been wanting to learn more about Halloween for a while now. Probably because we don't celebrate it, it has become a mystery to her and she wants to understand more about it. So we decided to look at it factually. We decided to look at Halloween culturally and historically around the world. We chose to look at why England celebrate it and then picked Mexico. Then we will look at our Christian beliefs on the last week. 
We started with Mexico and the Day of the dead.  
   We learnt that they celebrate their past family members by decorating their graves and alters in their home. They use the time to talk about their loved ones and to pray and sing songs to them. They leave them water, salt and bread incase the spirits visit. They also decorate with sugar skulls and we watched a video of them making some. This is why we decided to make some decorated skulls. Button wanted to write the loved one she was making it for. 
When looking up information on the Day of the dead I found a colour guide to the Day of the dead

Black - the colour of death and the land of the dead. Normally used as a background colour 
Purple- is an acknowledgement of the loss of a loved one. The sign of mourning, grief and pain. Normally purple candles are lit. 
Pink- the colour of celebration. Skeletons are dressed in pink robes
White - is for purity, hope and renewal. They believe the souls have been wiped clean
Orange- the colour of the marigold flower. The colour of sun and light. 
Red- the colour of blood and life.  

We used these as our main colours when decorating but threw in some yellow and blue as well. Button loved it, she really got into the idea of it and wanted to do her past family members proud. She enjoyed it so much we soon ran out of family members and moved on to past pets. One of them was our dog's dad, she decided to decorare this skull with dog stickers and a bone in its mouth. I loved her creativity and excitement over this activity and she was really listening and taking on board their beliefs.

We followed this up by watching Coco. Button had been keen to watch it for a while but we were not sure. However, now Button was informed of the facts, cultures and beliefs behind the film we decided this was the opportune time to watch it.

Pumpkins

We all went pumpkin picking over the weekend. Mummy wanted some nice shots of the children, Button wanted to see her cousin Cornelius who had been away and we all needed pumpkins. The weather was kind to us and the atmosphere was brillant. Unfortunately Buttercup hadn't had her morning nap and so was moody and didn't want to play but Bear was loving it. The queue was rather long so once we picked out pumpkins and Mummy got her photos, Grad took Buttercup back to the car, Mummy queued up with Aunty, Nanny and Bear and Daddy played with Button and Cornelius. From the queue we could see them having great fun running around the pumpkins and throwing straw. It was definitely what we all needed after a few weeks of being poorly. 
   We picked two pumpkins: one to carve and one to paint. For the carving we read a prayer as we did each stage:

Open the mind so I can learn about you - cut off the top
Take away all my sin and forgive me for the wrongs I do - scoop out the insides
Open my eyes so your love I will see-
Cut out two eyes 
I'm sorry for turning up my nose to all that you've given me - cut out a nose 
Open my ears so your word I will hear - cut out two ears
Open my mouth to tell ours you are near - cut out a mouth
Let your light shine in me so others can see -place the candle inside
My happy little pumpkin shows how much God loves me.

As we don't celebrate Halloween we normally don't carve faces and let Button pick a disney film. So we got her to draw the face instead. She loved the poem and could guess what to draw as I was saying it. We then carved a scene from Tangled in our pumpkin. 
   Button helped carve the squares for the lanterns but as she picked a tricky scene we had another pumpkin ready for painting.
 As we have been learning about tigers this month and as tigers are mostly orange, we picked her favourite book with a tiger 'a tiger who came to tea' and she painted his face. She really took her time with this and stayed in the lines Mummy had drawn. We were very proud of her.     
   As we were having a pumpkin day Mummy decided to draw a pumpkin on her face and Button was very excited about this. It was a really nice way to finish our month. We also took some more pumpkin pictures in oyr living room as Buttercup was in a better mood and we had a squash from Riverford that looked cool as well as a small pumpkin Daddy had picked plus our painted and carved pumpkins.

Pumpkin insides

I started by taking most of the seeds out and roasting them so they were safe to eat.  I then placed the insides with a few seeds in two zip lock bags and taped them to the table. 
   Each baby had one each to poke and push. Bear kept trying to push the seeds around or tried to pick up the seeds. Buttercup was distracted by Button drawing near by so I ended up giving her a crayon and she pushed the insides around using that. 
  It wasn't as successful as I had hoped but it was mess free. 
   The seeds were a lot more fun, I gave them a bowl each with seeds, a spoon and a measuring cup. They both poured and stirred for ages. Bear tried to eat a few and soon spat them back out and he picked some up individually to put in his cup then he poured some on the table. Buttercup poured them out on to the table then tried putting them all back in the bowl one at a time. This was a lot more successful and kept them busy for a good 45 minutes.

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