Halloween admirers start getting ready for the holiday as soon as the calendar gets flipped to the October page. So did the participants of the Smashing Pumpkins no school day program at the Souris Valley Museum on Monday. That day kids were learning about Halloween by participating in games, crafts and other Halloween-related activities.
“This is all about learning about the history of Halloween,” said Mark Veneziano, Souris Valley Museum’s executive director.
Both morning and afternoon groups were filled to capacity. And the main question of the day was why we actually use pumpkins for Halloween.
“It keeps spirits away during the evening. It scares spirits off, that’s why they used pumpkins and carved them into jack-o'-lanterns,” explained Veneziano.
Kids travelled through an early history of the holiday and talked about why it is celebrated, made little monsters, talked about the day of the dead and painted some pumpkins.
Actual pumpkin smashing was the culmination of the day, and kids had an opportunity to explore what’s inside the fruit.
“It’s just a fun program for … kids who are off school to come out to the museum to learn a little bit of the history of why we do things such as Halloween,” said Veneziano.
It was the first no school day Souris Valley Museum program this year, and there are more coming.
“We encourage people to look at our website, all of them are posted and registration is currently open for those as well,” said Veneziano, noting that people can also register online.
No school days at the museum are a great opportunity for kids to learn something new in a fun manner and also meet new friends from other schools. The workshops are developed for kids ages six to 10.
“We have topics of the day… Parents have an option to send their children to the museum for half the day, either morning session, or afternoon session. Or they also have an option to send them to the museum for the full day,” said Veneziano.
Activities in the morning are different from activities in the afternoon, but everything is organized around the same topic.
The next no school day will be at the beginning of November. It’s called Amazing Adventure and will teach some skills and tips for when travelling.
The Souris Valley Museum also has their I Am series every month for children ages three to five. And for the older audience, they have the after-school program called the Young Historical Society, which runs on the first and third Tuesday of each month for the school year.