Sunday, October 24, 2010


As I mentioned last year, I know that many Orthodox Christians do celebrate Halloween and many don't. I, personally, see nothing counter-cultural in simply abstaining from Halloween celebrations, but think that doing our best to transform our celebration of Halloween into something holy is the most Christian thing we can do. In addition to last year's suggestions, here are some activities to enjoy with your children:

Dress Up--Next to the candy, this is the most fun part of Halloween, is it not? My advice is to just avoid any dark-themed costumes like vampires, devils and the like.

Pumpkin Carving--I liked Elizabeth and Michelle's idea from last year: carve crosses into your pumpkins. For little children, let them paint the pumpkins. Sure, it's messy but a lot less risky!

Games/crafts--Apple Bobbing, blindfolded 'feely' box (great idea, Elizabeth!), pin the tail on the donkey or some other variation (pin the face on the pumpkin--everyone can be a winner with this one), make popcorn balls, etc. The Crafty Crow has a large selection of Halloween crafts to do (I particularly like the different pumpkin themed crafts).

Trick or Treating--Whether you choose to do this probably depends on your neighborhood and how 'thoroughly' your neighbors get into their decor. We avoid scary homes, but do allow our children to trick or treat. If you choose not to trick or treat, I would suggest doing a variation of an easter egg hunt in your house but hide candy bags instead. Another option would be to give each child some clues and they have to use the clues to figure out where their candy is hidden (this might be helpful in making sure candy is evenly distributed).

Feasting--Feast on caramel apples, hot apple cider, popcorn balls, and other autumn-y treats!

Prayer--Most important of all, say special prayers with your family. I suggest singing 'Christ is risen from the dead' and to say prayers for the departed and light candles for loved ones who have passed from this life.

Happy, holy Halloween!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Prayer and School

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that it is very easy to work prayer into the day. Every school day, we begin with morning prayers followed by saying a prayer before our lessons. It is a wonderful way to start the day and I really believes it helps me to be more patient than my nature otherwise tends to be.

However, not everyone has the luxury or the desire to homeschool and finding prayer time is probably much more difficult to do as a family. I was wondering if any of you have a consistent routine of morning prayers with school children and what kind of routines you have to make that possible. It would be wonderful if you could share them!

I think that prayer is so important before school because it is a reminder that learning is character forming and the disciplines of learning affect our spiritual life. Learning to be diligent and disciplined even if the desire might not be there is of great value and will serve us all well in our spiritual walks. It is important for us parents to help our children incorporate prayer into their daily lives. I know it can be difficult with how busy we can all be, but it is not only good for our individual spiritual health but our families as a whole. To be united in love for Christ is the most incredible treasure a family can have. So let's seek that treasure and hold on to it!

*Don't forget the links on the right have a variety of crafts and activities to do as a family for various feast and fasting periods. My apologies for not having any recent activities to present.