I have vivid memories of fall carnivals hosted throughout my childhood by churches and Boy Scout troops and schools. There are moments and people that jump to the front of my mind during this time of year — moments and people that mean a great deal to me. I easily visualize the youth group at our church in Cabot, in costume and armed with every imaginable carnival game — ready to entertain the crowd of kids pouring in the door. I don’t have to squint to remember the scene in our living room as my brother, sisters, and I would gather for a group photo in front of the fireplace — strategically posing so as to maximize the on-camera effect of our costumes and makeup. I can hear the laughter and voices of these events as if they were yesterday.  It’s all a welcome and important reminder that sometimes silliness is the best way to celebrate.

Colt is young, but I hope we’re already laying the foundation of those memories for him.

[typography font=”Copse” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]School Carnival [/typography] [typography font=”Copse” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Church Carnival [/typography]

What I wasn’t truly able to fit into the frame of my camera is the cake-walking, glow-rope-wearing, face-painting zoo that was our weekend of carnivals. These two events went on within 24 hours of each other, and added up to quite the weekend.

His school carnival was held at the school with booths in individual classrooms. Which meant the hallway — plenty wide enough for weekdays of school children passing back and forth to class — became a gauntlet. Loud, crowded, no defined traffic pattern — it was every man for himself. Once you ducked into a classroom you could toss bean bags or play Bingo in peace, but you knew it was back to the gauntlet if you wanted a prize from the next booth down the hall. The boys had a ball and even after talking all week about “the haunted house! In the basement!” they didn’t put up a fight after we got some important word-of-mouth intel from a few other parents that The Haunted House may not be perfect for kindergarteners. Next year, boys!

This year, our church put on a carnival for families at a local shelter and transitional facility. It was all hands on deck, and while Colt was busy catching all the “pretzel fish” at the fishing booth, Jeff and I were working the football toss — so not many photos of everything. The weather forecast threatened to ruin the fun, but it turned out to be the perfect night. The kids had fun and all went home with their little bags bursting at the seams with candy and prizes — the true measure of a successful Halloween.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. — Dr. Seuss

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