Celebrating Samhain With Kids

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5 Ways to Celebrate Samhain With Kids

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Celebrate Samhain with your kids!. Image by mediaphotos/E+/Getty Images

Samhain falls on October 31, if you live in the northern hemisphere, and it's the season when the crops are dying, the nights are growing cool and crisp and dark, and for many of us, it's a time to honor our ancestors. If you're one of our readers below the equator, Samhain takes place at the beginning of May. It's a time to celebrate life and death, and to interact with the world beyond the veil.

If you’ve got kids at home, try celebrating Samhain with some of these family-friendly and kid-appropriate ideas.

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Honor Your Ancestors

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fstop123 / Getty Images

In many cultures, ancestor veneration is an important part of the season. Depending on how old your children are, you may want to use this time of year as an opportunity to introduce your kids to the people whose blood runs through their veins.

Study Genealogy: All of us came from somewhere, so why not figure out what that place might have been? Get your kids involved in learning about their forbears, even if it's just something as simple as asking Grandma what it was like to live when she was a child. Take the information you learn, and fill out a family tree chart - if you're feeling really crafty, use that info to make an ancestor altar cloth!

Ancestor Altar: Got photos and family heirlooms? Set up an ancestor altar in a place of honor in your home.

Is your child - or are you - adopted? That's okay - you can still honor your kinfolk, you just have to go about it a slightly different way. Here's how you can honor the ancestors when you're adopted.

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Hold a Family Friendly Ritual

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Celebrate the season with a family friendly ritual. Image by Fuse/Getty Images

Let’s face it, sometimes ritual is hard to get through when you’re little. The trick to keeping young children involved in Pagan practice is to keep them occupied – that means rethinking ritual ideas so that it can fun as well as spiritual. This ritual is designed to celebrate Samhain with younger kids.

Obviously, if your children are older, or you have younger kids who are very focused and mature, you may not need a “kids ritual.” However, for those of you that do, this is a rite you can complete, from start to finish, in about twenty minutes. Also, keep in mind that you are the best judge of what your child is ready for. If he wants to paint his face, bang a drum and chant, let him do so - but if he'd rather participate silently, that's okay too: Samhain Ancestor Rite for Families with Children

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Seasonal Crafts

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Make a group of ghosties to decorate your yard at Samhain. Image by Patti Wigington 2013

This is the time of year when the nights are starting to come a lot earlier than they did just a few weeks ago, so your kids are going to be coming indoors quite a bit earlier than they did during the summer. Why not take advantage of this, and use the season to get crafty? Seasonal crafts are always fun, and with just a few simple supplies, you can create some great goodies to mark the Samhain sabbat.

  • Make a Group of Yard Ghosts

  • Yard ghosts are a fun and easy project you can use to decorate your outdoor space at Samhain. They're not hard to assemble, and won't cost you a lot of money either. Here's how to make your own group of ghosties!
  • Make Your Own Headstones

  • Samhain's here, and it's a lot of fun to set up a graveyard of your own. Instead of burying pesky neighbors, just make these easy headstones with a bit of insulation board and some creativity. Make them silly or spooky, it's up to you when you make your own headstones!
  • Pumpkin Candles

  • Everyone loves candles, and with Samhain coming you can make your own candles out of small pumpkins and squashes. Learn how to do this fun and easy craft in just a few steps. Celebrate the season with pumpkin candles.
  • Apple Garlands

  • This easy apple garland is a great decoration for your home. Make one in time for Samhain, an bring the scents of fall in for the celebration! Here's how to make an apple garland.
  • Painted Pentacle Pumpkins

  • Make these festive pentacle pumpkins to celebrate Samhain. Use craft store pumpkins and spray paint to make a bunch of these for Samhain decorations.
  • Make a Samhain Straw Man

  • This straw man figure can be made to represent the King of Winter. Make him at Samhain as part of your ritual, and then bring him into your home to watch over your hearth over the coming winter months.

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Get Outdoors

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Grab a jacket and go outside!. Image by Simon Kreitem/VisitBritain/Getty Images

Even though it's starting to get dark early, that doesn't mean you can't play outside. This time of year, when the nights are cool, is a great time to celebrate the season with a bonfire or a moonlight walk. For daytime adventures, go for a hike in the woods or visit a nearby cemetery. Be sure to use this as a teachable moment, and help your kids consider questions like "Why are the leaves changing colors?" and "Where do the animals go when it gets cold?"

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Get Silly!

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It's ok to have fun at Samhain!. Image by PeopleImages.com/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Let's face it, for most of us Samhain ties in with our Halloween celebrations - which can be pretty ridiculous sometimes. This time of year is often a blend of the spiritual and the secular, so don't be surprised if your kids are interested in a bit of overlap. You can celebrate Halloween and stock up on candy, and still make room for the spiritual observation of Samhain. Why not get your kids together with neighbors for a celebration? Consider one of these ideas:

  • Neighborhood Trick or Treat Party: Many communities do a scheduled trick or treat for Halloween, but you can make it even more fun by getting your neighbors together and organizing a traveling party. Instead of sitting indoors and opening the door to pass out candy, sit outside and interact with the people who live near you. Offer snacks and treats for adults as well - I have a neighbor who grills hotdogs at the end of his driveway and hands them out to anyone who walks by. Another has a cooler of refreshing adult beverages sitting on his porch, so the grownups can have a good time too.
  • Samhain Goodie Bags for Pagan Kids: Got Pagan kids coming over for your Samhain celebrations? Put together creative gift bags that celebrate your Pagan spirituality and tie it into the Samhain season.
  • Cuddle up by the fire and read together! Check out our list of 9 Spooky Poems for Samhain Night. All of them are classics worth reading at Samhain!