Tag Archives: Halloween

Trick-or-Treat … Halloween 2017

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“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care” … oops, wrong holiday! Just kidding!

We were ready for our little neighborhood goblins by lunch time with front porch and walk swept of fallen leaves,  and pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, gourds, and mums decorating the steps and porch.

5:40pm: For years I have blogged Halloween so tonight is no different. And for all my readiness, I was caught off-guard when our first neighbor kids came by — four of them, all girls, dressed as a scarecrow — really liked that mouth! — and a giraffe, a cat, and a witch. They were heading to the church festival after making the rounds of the neighborhood and, as their mom and I stood out front and talked, the girls thanked me for their candy and wandered up the driveway. Treats for all!

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6:18: Darkness is settling in and, as I went outside to take photos of the lights and jack-o-lanterns, neighbors came walking down the street, pushing a stroller with their little one while the four-year-old walked alongside his parents. They called out across the yard, “Happy Halloween!” I turned to see who it was, I laughed and told them I would know who it was by the dog! They have a huge dog that is recognizable to everyone, and she was walking with them. After stopping at the neighbor’s to get her to join them, they walked across to get treats at our house.

All were dressed for the night in a theme — dad as a red dragon, mom as a princess, and the boys as knights.

As the dragon, the princess, the two knights, and Luna the dog headed back up the street, our neighbor came on in to visit for a while … and while she was here we had no trick-or-treaters. Slow year.

7:45: As we walked outside as our neighbor was leaving — it’s mild at 46 degrees — we could hear coyotes running on the ridge behind the house, howling and yipping as they chased down something. It was eerie on Halloween … sounded like werewolves in the dark night. Spooky!

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8:10pm: Two more little goblins, our last of the evening, dressed as a SWAT team guy and a Special Ops guy. They were little, maybe seven and nine, and very polite. Treats for all!

This is about as late as we’ve had them in the past so not sure we will get anyone else. Total: eight trick or treaters for 2017.

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Happy Halloween!

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Mr. Candy Corn Goes to Richmond

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This is Mr. Candy Corn standing at my front door ready to go to Richmond. But first a little background….

In the autumn of 2016 my sister Lori spied this little fella at Blue Ribbon Nursery in Broadway as he stood amongst the fall and Halloween wreaths and décor. He was cute and she like him but we ended up leaving him behind.

Fast forward to autumn 2017. Lori hasn’t been able to come up to the Shenandoah Valley to chase autumn like we did last year so my friend Barb and I went traipsing through the countryside in September, buying chrysanthemums, pumpkins, gourds, and other autumn décor.

When we walked into Blue Ribbon, there was Mr. Candy Corn, again standing amongst the holiday decorations. I excitedly said hello to him and told Barb about Lori’s attachment last year. As I wandered through the aisles looking at the holiday goodies, my eyes kept seeking out Mr. Candy Corn.

And that’s how he went home with me. I just had to get him for Lori, and so he rode back to Staunton with Barb and me, sitting on the back seat like a proper Candy Corn, excitedly watching the view out the window.

When my sister, her husband, and daughter Emily went to New York City for a week in early September, I loaded Mr. Candy Corn in the car to take him to his new forever home.

Here he was at my front door ready to go!

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He paused on the steps for me to take pictures …

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Back In the Homeschool Classroom: Halloween

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I had the pleasure of educating my children at home for sixteen years until they both graduated from homeschool high school. They graduated from university and now have homes of their own but I remember with fondness homeschooling at this time of year.

Autumn was one of our favorite times and we would decorate the house with hand-made pumpkins, ghosts, and leaves. Outside we would hang decorations in small trees, and play in fallen leaves. Carving a pumpkin jack-o-lantern was always a special event that took place on the front porch in the cool October weather, usually accompanied by a fall supper.

In our classroom, I would cut out a construction paper brown tree trunk about four feet tall and tape it to the wall, and the kids would decorate cut-out autumn leaves — maple, oak, elm — to put on the tree. Each day as I read out loud from a favorite book, they would color and decorate a few more leaves and tape them to the autumn tree.

I probably miss reading out loud with my young children more than anything else. We devoured books of all kinds, and poetry. One of our favorite poets was Robert Frost and every season we would read his words describing spring, winter, fall, or summer.

Their favorite fall poem from Robert Frost was “The Last Word of a Bluebird (As told to a child)” … daughter Katy memorized it and still recites it when prompted:

As I went out a Crow
In a low voice said, “Oh,
I was looking for you.
How do you do?
I just came to tell you
To tell Lesley (will you?)

That her little Bluebird
Wanted me to bring word
That the north wind last night
That made the stars bright
And made ice on the trough
Almost made him cough
His tail feathers off.

He just had to fly!
But he sent her Good-by,
And said to be good,
And wear her red hood,
And look for skunk tracks
In the snow with an ax–
And do everything!
And perhaps in the spring
He would come back and sing.”

In our Calvert 2nd or 3rd grade curriculum, we found a Halloween poem that became a tradition right through 12th grade. “Little Orphant Annie” was written in 1885 by James Whitcomb Riley and later inspired the Little Orphan Annie comic. Even now it’s fun to read it out loud, complete with the rising and lowering voice and spooky overtones that I used for 16 years — kind of like riding a bicycle … one never forgets. While reading, we would all join in together at the end of each verse with, “An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you ef you don’t watch out!”

This year pumpkins and mums are on the front porch … gourds are in baskets … decorations are throughout the house … but there’s no fall tree on the wall or reading out loud as in the past, or decorations on an outside tree placed there by little hands.

But I pulled out the poems today and remembered … and read “Little Orphant Annie” out loud just as I did for so many years. I could almost hear two young voices join in the last verse, “An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you ef you don’t watch out!” Ah, memories.

Happy Halloween!

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 31, 2016

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Lynn Mitchell educated her children at home for 16 years and was part of leadership in North Carolina’s Iredell County Home Educators (ICHE) and Virginia’s Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes (PEACH). Her son graduated from Harrisonburg’s James Madison University (JMU) in 2007 with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Creative Writing. Her daughter graduated from Staunton’s Mary Baldwin University in 2012 with a BS in Sustainable Business and Marketing. Lynn and her husband live in Augusta County in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Other titles in the “Back in the homeschool classroom” series by Lynn R. Mitchell:

Reading out loud to our children (July 2015)
Did Terry McAuliffe understand the ‘Tebow Bill’ he vetoed? (April 2015)
The Virginian-Pilot is wrong about homeschool sports ‘entitlement’ (February 2015)
’50 reasons homeschooled kids love being homeschooled’ (November 2014)
Grown son’s first home (April 2014)
Support group vs Co-op (February 2014)
Where it all began … blazing new trails (January 2013)
Grown son’s first home (July 2013)
Staying in touch with homeschool friends (July 2013)
New Year’s Eve (December 2012)
More sleep = homeschoolers happier, healthier than public school students? (April 2013)
Using Shenandoah National Park as your classroom (March 2013)
Rainy days (May 2013)
A chance encounter (June 2013)
Autumn (October 2012)
The rain rain rain came down down down (April 2012)
Why we teach our own (April 2012)
Casey (April 2012)
The wedding … letting go (September 2012)
The pain of grief (August 2012)
When faced with a challenge … no whining (April 2012)
The simple wisdom of Winnie the Pooh (August 2012)
First day of school (September 2012)
The rise of homeschooling (February 2012)
Hot summer days (July 2011)
Constitutional lessons and the Judicial branch of government (March 2012)
Mary Baldwin commencement 2012 … SWAC Daughter graduates with honors (May 2012)

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Halloween 2015 … trick-or-treaters stop by for goodies

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By Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s Halloween 2015 and we’re ready for our little goblins to stop by for treats.  The weather is overcast, windy, and 51 degrees as we begin with the first one.

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Frost on the Halloween jack-o-lantern

HalloweenBy Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s Halloween 2015! There was heavy frost on the jack-o-lantern this morning as temperatures dipped to 29 degrees in my corner of the Shenandoah Valley and we enjoy this last day of Daylight Savings Time for the year. Some trees are bare and others still sport colorful fall leaves, littering the ground with the hues of autumn.

As  a sign of the season, Hallmark began airing Christmas movies last night at 10:00 that continued all night and into today, setting the mood for … Halloween? It’s a reminder that Thanksgiving is less than four weeks away and Christmas is in two months. The next eight weeks are going to fly.

We’ve got things ready for tonight. Candy treats are by the door for our little neighborhood goblins … jack-o-lanterns wait on the porch to help set the mood as dark falls. Brunswick stew is in the crock pot for tonight’s dinner, ready for overnight company … wine is chilling in the fridge.

It’s Halloween in the Shenandoah Valley….

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My parents

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????My parents came to visit this week for five days of spending time together enjoying autumn in western Virginia. Not only did we enjoy lively conversations and a visit to the Dayton Farmers Market but they were here for Halloween and our trick-or-treaters.

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