Although one of our cooks at the soup kitchen scoots on out of the building after one of our after-dark meetings at the soup kitchen, it’s not normally a very scary place. This past Saturday, however, it was transformed into a Halloween-themed hootenanny for the kids. Our fellow volunteer and site-mate, Katie, put together some fun games for the kids including pin-the-nose-on-the-witch, candy toss, and a three-legged mummy race.
The morning began with the kids coloring/painting masks in the spirit of Where the Wild Things Are, a book by the illustrator Maurice Sendak. Some chose to be one of the monsters while others decided to be the disaffected young Max. Yet others chose a more duplicitous option and, depending on whether they were facing you or had their back to you, could be either Max or a monster. If they had time, they could also create a crown to become king of the monsters. (Although, with there being several kings it was a little unclear who held ultimate authority over the monsters.)
After sticking noses on witches and tossing over-sized novelty candy through the gaping mouth of a ghost, it was time to return to the routine and file into the dining hall for some grub. However, it wasn’t just another day at the soup kitchen as spooky sounds emanated from tiny speakers in the back. If one listened closely he/she could just make out a wolf’s howl amidst gusts of wind. But, with the talking and other activity happening, the spooky atmosphere didn’t really seize upon the kids until they walked directly in front of the speakers.
To bring an end to the ghoulish time, we handed out suckers. And that was when the day became truly frightening as a hoard of kids came racing towards me (the sucker with the bag of suckers) with grabby hands jutting out at every angle of the mass screaming for candy. Afterwards all that remained were shreds of candy wrappers and the spooky groans coming out of the tiny speakers nearby.
Maybe next week we can shift the focus to something along the lines of patience and caring for the environment. I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud here.