Like hundreds of libraries around the country, my school library hosts an annual Pumpkin Parade. In early October, we post a letter on our intranet inviting everyone to participate. We describe the activity as “an opportunity for children to celebrate the fall season, stretch their creative muscles, and share a favorite book with our learning community.”
Interested families choose a beloved book and decorate a pumpkin to look like a character or important object from that title. Some children bring their pumpkins to life with paint, glitter, accessories, and more. Families can be as creative as they want, as long as the pumpkins connect to a book in some way and are not carved. Starting two weeks before Halloween, children bring their creations into the library. We end up with a delightful display.
This at-home project is completely optional. Some children work independently, while others prefer to receive help from a babysitter or sibling. Because it is not a contest, it’s all good!
Having the display in our library gives our non-regulars a reason to pop in and visit. This project also encourages children to learn through the library because the librarians are prompting at-home reading, learning, and creating. The pumpkins on parade support passive reader’s advisory, too. Children see what their peers are recommending and they can’t wait to check out those titles.
To me, traditions like this serve as a reminder that you don’t always have to be doing something new or different to make an impact on your community. Our Pumpkin Parade is always highly anticipated, and every year I see innovation in the projects that my students work so hard to create.