Friday, October 13, 2006

Pumpkins and Palms














The Methodists on the corner of Riberia and King in St. Augustine really have the October spirit. I was driving downtown last week after breakfast with my folks and I couldn't pass this up.












Take a look at all those great pumpkins. Imagine how it LOOKS through the eyes of that little boy in the middle picture.

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It always amazes me when parents or organizations get stressed out and paranoid over Halloween, Harry Potter, goblins, witches, etc.

I want to shake them and say, " GET A LIFE! DID YOU FORGET TO TEACH YOUR KIDS A SENSE OF WONDER AND IMAGINATION? DID YOU SKIP THE PART ABOUT SEPARATING REALITY FROM FANTASY? ARE YOU RAISING LITTLE MUSH MINDS WHO CAN BE TURNED TO THE DARK SIDE BY A WITCH COSTUME AND A BAG OF CANDY?!!!"

You won't believe this, but it's true. About a dozen years ago, the county I live in banned Halloween from the public schools. No pumpkins, no Halloweeny type writing assignments, no spooks allowed ...

At the time, almost the entire school district administration went to one local church of a ... ahem ... very southern ultra conservative branch of the Christian faith. Very nice people individually, but their group mind was a closed one.

Anyway, we suffered through it for that year, but the publicity and public ridicule from the national and state news finally brought them to their senses.

At our house, (where MY evil children live) October means it's time to put up the Halloween Tree. They're big kids now, but when I mentioned our little tradition last week, there was a chorous of, " Of course we still want the Halloween tree!"

It should be up some time this weekend ...

21 comments:

rick said...

santa,tooth fairy,halloween,easter bunny,their still part of our family. How boring life would be without them

Mark said...

I think it's a Presbyterian church in my home town that covers its front area with pumpkins. We have no kids, our neighbors have no kids that trick-or-treat, our dog and cat aren't much for Halloween celebrations, but I'm pretty sure we'll still put out some kind of pumpkiny thing.

Wayne said...

I'm not sure I can top a county-wide ban, but there is a resident crazy who writes a letter two or three times a year to our little weekly newspaper, and as many others across northeast Georgia, deploring Halloween, Easter Bunnies, and even Santa Claus. She apparently hopes to accumulate enough grassroots support to ban them all.

It's funny to read about the Halloween Tree. My own tradition has been to harvest the birdhouse gourds and carve faces into them, then light a candle inside. I place them into some of the low trees in the pathway, and float them on the ponds. I can make really scary faces.

Trouble is, our place is really too far down the beaten path and we never get any visitors. We have fun though.

roger said...

is that halloween tree a bay tree with wishing leaves?

isn't it a wonder that very nice people can have such closed minds.

robin andrea said...

We didn't celebrate many holidays in my house when I was growing up. As secular Jews, life was pretty quiet, and we never hung any kind of decoration in our windows. But on Halloween my dad would bring home four huge pumpkins (he was in the produce business then) and carve them. He would use other vegetables for eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. He created wonderful, beautiful, scary vegetable monsters. Then, he would take them to our school, and put one in each of his kid's classrooms. I was so proud. I haven't thought of this for years, FC. Thanks for reminding me.

Sharon said...

Can't wait to see your halloween tree. It's my favorite holoday- all fun and no stress.

vicki said...

I want to see that tree, too. Halloween is a wonderful holiday as is Día de los Muertos, the original. It was my favorite growing up. My father made over a hundred hard red candy apples and the same number of popcorn balls from scratch and our house was always a big hit- before the times when people got all weird and anxious around trick or treat. We worked on our costumes and pumpkins for a couple weeks and when the big night came we were out with pillow case sacks for hours, sometimes stopping home to empty them before heading out again. The best houses were always the ones that decorated in scary fashion.

Mrs. S said...

Oooh! I can't wait for pictures of the Halloween Tree - it sounds very exciting!

I would also like to know what your favorite Halloween candies are - to give to kids, and to eat yourself. Please and thank you, if you've got time to tell me ;)

Laura said...

They banned halloween in the schools here, too. Santa is also banned, as is any mention of God.
don't even get me started....

I can't wait to see your halloween tree!

and beautiful pics of the church!

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Three cheers for open minds!

ImagineMel said...

Ouch. I'm one of those nice closed minded people. I don't think I have mush-minded children. :(

mjd said...

Well, the motto of the Methodists is Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors. Other faiths celebrate All Souls Day on the 31st and All Saints Day on November 1st. Unfortunately, some look on the celebration of Halloween as evil. I guess those that see evil in Halloween should not celebrate the holiday, but let those who have a different mindset celebrate the fall holiday.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I'm with your way of thinking, all the way and I can't wait to see your Halloween Tree.

That church with all those pumpkins is quite a scene. I love seeing everyone's display of pumpkins everywhere by the truckloads.

My gosh, there is nothing wrong with a little imagination and play acting. It's fun for all and I'm sure that most parents teach their children what is real and what is not.

I've been ridiculed by a certain person about buying my grandson Harry Potter books...but hey...it keeps him interested in reading and he knows it's make believe. Besides those books aren't small and he reads the whole books.

pablo said...

I know a family that has a huge Halloween tree each year. She must have hundreds of dollars in her ornaments and decorations.

I understand the Puritans did not want to celebrate Xmas because it was considered a pagan thing to have such an observation. Now there is a supposed "War on Xmas" and yet part of our American heritage is not to celebrate it.

Floridacracker said...

Well, I spent 15 minutes typing my usual personal response to each one of you wonderful commenters and then Blogger lost it when I clicked publish.
Everybody say "AARRRGGGHHHH"

Love your comments, ALL of them. I think we should not look for wisdom in country music, but there was a song out not long ago that had a refrain that went something like, "You do your thing, and I'll do mine"
That could apply here.

When the Halloween Tree is up, I'll post it :)

Deb said...

My kids have read Harry Potter, even played the video game, and not come away warped from the experience, so all I have to say is...

that church looks nice, especially with the pumpkins. The palm trees do add to the picture quite nicely.

Betsy said...

Thousands of people are being slaughtered in Darfur ... children are living in poverty and hunger in dozens of countries around the world ... and these people can't think of something more useful to do than ban Harry Potter??

Floridacracker said...

Betsy,
I hear ya.

threecollie said...

LOVE the picture of the church with pumpkins...reminded me of Brautigan's The Pumpkin Tide, which always evoked lovely pictures in my mind.
"I saw thousands of pumpkins last night
come floating in on the tide,
bumping up against the rocks and
rolling up on the beaches;
it must be Halloween in the sea."

We suffer from fear of fun here in NY too, although we still have religeous songs at our "WInter Holiday" concerts. I think this is brought about by a brave chorus director, but I like it.

SophieMae said...

Well, just so ImaginaMe doesn't feel like a lonely little petunia in an onion patch, I'm one of 'those people' as well. Then again, I'm a 'Noles fan. What can I say? 8-}

Floridacracker said...

ThreeCollie,
Uh oh... I'm demonstrating my cultural illiteracy by not having heard of that before, but the mental picture is great.

SophieMae,
Imaginemel is a good friend of mine in real life. She is a wonderful mom. Her children are smart, wonderfully imaginative, and a joy to be around. In fact, her son slept on my couch last night (Jr's super buddy).

I think that proves my point about we all just need to do our own thing while sharing our common goals, and agree to disagree without being disagreeable when we need to do so. That is what occurred here and I welcome other points of view.

I made a committment to myself when I started this blog to never pull punches on issues and to NEVER be politically correct. Even my nomme de plume is controversial. So be it, those offended can click somewhere else, no hard feelings.

Now, when I look at this post, I do see that I stepped into the religion-politics puddle, something I usually avoid. Also guilty of generalizing. Maybe I was just feeling fiesty.

Noles fans don't bother me, this is casual Gator fan Mr. FC's blog, not crazy-eyed fanatic Mrs. FC's blog.

Thanks for inspiring me to respond thoughtfully as I tried last night before Blogger ate my post.

Can I come out of the corner now?

:)