I’ve never had much use for Halloween. We didn’t celebrate it when I was growing up, substituting other family fun that day, and now I am simply turned off by the ugliness of the symbols. (We didn’t do Easter baskets when I was growing up either, so our now family celebrates a Christian Passover, my boys’ favorite feast of the year.)
But give me a reason to celebrate, and I love inventing traditions! Most conveniently, Reformation Day also falls on October 31st, and is full of opportunities for a day that varies the school routine, gives us an excuse to eat chocolate, and find other ways to honor the occasion.
Last year we celebrated the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the Wittenberg Door, and I invented a holiday at the last-minute, because that’s how I naturally function. I don’t do elaborate crafts or costumes, we haven’t acted out many stories yet, but you certainly could in your family. You do you.
Here are the elements I included last year and plan to repeat:
1. Chocolate for breakfast.
Because, really, is there any happier way to start the day? Last year I did some kind of little chocolates; this year it will be hot chocolate. Really rich, creamy, homemade hot chocolate.
2. A day off of our usual routine.
Or a half-day. It still totally counts as school because it’s educational, but it’s more of a class party without bakery cupcakes.
3. Remember the story.
I read a picture book biography about ML, and found a YouTube video of his life told in Playmobil. This is where you could have your kids act it out, if you choose.
4. Eat traditional/cultural food.
We made homemade pretzels, since Luther was German, and gummy worms for the Diet of Worms, of course.
5. Presents! What’s a holiday without a fun memento?
My last-minute inspiration was to give each child $5 for the Five Solas, then we went to Wal-Mart to spend it. They were thrilled.
I tried browsing Pinterest for last-minute creative ideas that required minimal preparation, and was disappointed that the link to “Pin the Beard on the Reformer” was broken. But after we had read through the story and watched it, my boys were done with that anyway. Another thing I learned? Don’t overdo it. Encourage a narration or discuss the major issues if you wish, but keep it a holiday.
My boys may not remember every detail about Luther’s life, but they do remember the family celebration and wanted to keep the traditions again this year. They suggested candidates, and I’ve settled on William Tyndale. There’s a Torchlighters animated video, or a longer movie, God’s Outlaw. What do I have in my hand? (Exodus 4:2a) Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula has a chapter about Tyndale that is only a few pages long and will make a good introduction BEFORE we watch either movie. I think we’ll also look up a video on the printing press.
For cultural food, I’ll serve scones for breakfast with our hot chocolate. And yes, the five dollar shopping spree just because it’s fun.
And that, Lord willing, is how we plan to spend Reformation Day 2018.
Other ideas, depending on what you have available:
God’s Outlaw: The Real Story of Tyndale and the English Bible (graphic novel). Voice of the Martyrs.
The Hawk that Dare Not Hunt by Day by Scott O’Dell
The Bible Smuggler by Louise A. Vernon
The Queen’s Smuggler (Trailblazer series) by Dave and Neta Jackson