There’s nothing quite like being a child at school – in the dark – at night – with your family. This week children and families gathered at school for a pizza party outside on the playground. It was such fun to see parents getting to know each other and children playing together. After supper, the pumpkin carving began. We have stone planters along the pathway, a perfect spot for carving and transforming pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns.
And then, it became dark. We lined up all the jack-o-lanterns, lit them with candles, and stepped back to admire the many different faces.
This is what I wrote to families later that night:
Tonight was special. There was a moment, as the sun was setting and jack-o-lantern carving was almost finished, that I looked around and saw parents smiling and laughing with other parents. Children were busy and happy with their families and friends. It was a moment when I knew this was indeed a magical night. The sky turned pink.
Then, all the jack-o-lanterns were lit and glowing along the planter for everybody to see. That was extraordinary.
When we gathered to sit in a big circle with our jack-o-lanterns and sing songs, it was nearly dark. That was exciting! Being at school in the dark with your family, surrounded by classmates and families with jack-o-lanterns, is an experience that will be remembered. It is magical. I felt it. Teachers felt it. I hope you did, too.
The end of the playground is a large grassy area, perfect for running and playing soccer… and perfect for sitting together in a giant ring to sing Halloween songs. Children were snuggled together with their moms and dads. I played the autoharp as we sang “The Jack-O-Lantern Song.” Then we waved glow sticks and sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” There was a feeling of mystery and magic. These were the moments that mattered. Memories were being made, right then and there. Magic.
After singing, it was time to go home, but no one wanted to leave. Neither did I. It was such a lovely feeling to just be. We sat together a bit longer, soaking up the feelings, taking in the wonder of the moment and the night, and putting this magical memory deep inside.
As we were leaving, this is what happened, with a little backstory:
Eamonn is a dad in my class, and we have quite a history together- starting when he was a student in my class. He did his high school internship with me many years ago. I remember it well, and remember how much he enjoyed the experience. Later, he worked with me at Summer Camp, and then became my assistant teacher. He left to continue his education and become a pediatric nurse. As a dad in my class, he has come full circle. When I said goodbye that night I asked, “Do you remember this, Eamonn? Do you remember the night?” He was pretty choked up and said, “Oh, yes.” It was hard for him to get those two words out. And he said, “And the song…” I was a little choked up, too.