Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Lantern Walk


Another autumn, another Waldorf Lantern Walk.

To elaborate for those of my 6-7 loyal readers who aren't familiar with the Waldorf world -- Halloween is no exception to our general avoidance of commercialized holiday celebrations.

There is no trick-or-treating. There is no candy.

There are costumes, and darkness and light, and a small treat at the end. (Biodynamic raisins, this year.) It's a bit of Halloween, a bit of Martinmas, all rolled into one.

At Rudolf Steiner College and Sunbridge College (the two largest Waldorf teacher training colleges in the US), the students, faculty, and staff create a beautiful Halloween experience for the children of the community. On campus grounds they create scenes from fairy tales, pirate adventures, undersea realms, water fairies, and other imaginative pictures for the children. Years ago, RSC also had a "Perilous Path" for older children, complete with goblins jumping out at those brave enough to walk the path (the children only need say "I am the light!" for the goblins to be dispelled).

Many of the scenes are enacted in silence; some are stories abridged to a few scenes, while others are simply tableaux. In this way, the children's imaginations are inspired. For the youngest ones, just being out after dark, walking along a dimly lit path, is magical!

The college students also get a taste of the work and joy of creating a community festival, similar to what many of them will do once they are teachers at Waldorf schools.

For several years Anthropapa and I participated in Lantern Walks. One year we were the King and Queen of the Undersea Realm, complete with a quite fishy song Anthropapa wrote for us to sing! "Come dance with us, come swim with us, under the sea so blue..." With our fellow students, we swathed a small classroom in blue and green cloth, draped a stack of folding tables for our royal dais, and strewed the room with ocean creatures made of paper and cloth. One student with metalworking skills made us crowns and a trident!

For the last two years, the Lantern Walk has gone right through our backyard...so our jack-o'lanterns are part of the overall decor, and the kids had the thrill of watching some friends put up an enormous (full-size) tepee next door! Our yard is also graced with a small fire ring as a result of the Rumpelstiltskin story taking up residence there last year. But the best part is that tonight from 5:45-8 pm, we had to turn all the lights out in our house. That meant candles, and lots of them. Even pooping before bedtime in the dark!

This year's favorites, according to SillyBilly and Napoleona: Snow White & Rose Red (complete with Bear!); the Witch and Wizard Stirring Their Potions; and the Pirates Digging Up Treasure, Fighting Over Treasure, And Then Making Up And Sharing The Treasure.

6 comments:

Papa Bradstein said...

Dude, now the neon orange cupcake I ate doesn't look so appealing--I want a trident!

Papa Bradstein said...

And, of course, what adorable kids!

Charlotte said...

That's such a great tradition. I love the way Steiner schools foster imagination and creativity.

We have the Laternefest here too, but no Halloween. I'm happy with it that way, but I suppose it would be different for me if I'd grown up with Halloween, which in South Africa, I didn't.

Henitsirk said...

Papa B: That trident was lethal...I believe it was made of wrought iron! Those crowns were damn heavy too.

Charlotte: Now if only I could have found my sheet music to "Ich gehe mit meiner Laterne," I would have won the Waldorific prize!

I'd be just as happy to not have Halloween. There's way too much emphasis on the scary stuff here...my kids have boycotted going to craft stores every October because of the creepy displays.

indianyo said...

Here in the faraway Hungary Halloween is not that popular (let me admit I am kinda happy about that) but now I gained new knowledge about celebrating something not-too-tasty finally filled with meaning and grace. (Our lantern walk is on Martinmas, 11 November btw)
I love the way you used to celebrate it in your college days - even the crown I would have worn with the greatest pleasure lol.

Love your blog, quote it several times on mine. Thanks. Viktoria

Henitsirk said...

Viktoria: It is a little odd that we seem to be mashing up Halloween and Martinmas. But they do come close to each other, both involve lanterns, and it just works well as a way to avoid trick-or-treating for candy!