Words and photography by Rebecca Lindon.
Halloween can be a difficult holiday to explain to small children - the witches in Grimm's Fairy Tales and the Disney stories are generally portrayed as bad, scary beings and ghosts and ghouls can tip what should be a fun holiday into a reason for littles to become fearful. What's more, the idea of running from door to door and being given sweets and candy is one that I've found hard to explain to my son - it's something of a strange tradition. Last year we dressed up and went trick-or-treating for the first time, but beforehand we baked Halloween cupcakes and we gave one to everyone who answered their door. Teaching kindness and generosity is important in our family and I wanted to help him feel the satisfaction of making something and giving it away as well as receiving.
When we were told about The Fairyland Trust and their Real Halloween celebration, I was overjoyed. Their witch and wizard training workshops and broomstick-making classes take the 'scary' out of Halloween and put the magic back in. It's an opportunity for children to learn about witches' favourite herbs and the animals they like whilst running around the woods in long beards and learning how to fly. Den-building and wand-making offer a real opportunity to spark imagination!
The day comes to a close at dusk with a wonderful storytelling session deep in the woods and a Halloween lantern parade back to camp. It's an event that I hope will become a yearly tradition for us and we wholeheartedly recommend.