Immersion in rural culture, language and traditions has always been a hallmark of the Manhattan Country School Farm experience. Throughout our student’s childhood at the Farm, they have the opportunity to celebrate customs linked to food, gardening practices tied to the weather and seasonal holidays and observations.
The MCS 6th grade class stayed at the Farm during Halloween. While the urban and rural practice of dressing like someone you’re not and going from door to door for treats is similar, the logistics are quite different. Interviewing the class prior to going out, we all learned something new from each other. Some kids who live in “high rise” buildings receive a list of apartments that are participating. In some city neighborhoods, kids travel from stoop to stoop to be greeted by other costumed people with treats. Some MCS kids start at the top of their building and work their way down, while others do the opposite.
In Roxbury, NY there is a historic main street with a couple of neighborhood streets off it. Many houses are decorated for the occasion with traditional jack-o-lanterns, spider webs, corn stalks and more modern inflatable creatures. Our kids split up in three groups of seven and along with two adults and moved through town. At some houses they were greeted by ghoulish masks or funny faced individuals. Some streets are only lit by porch lights of the houses on the block as there are few street lights. Our groups probably covered more than a mile to fill their bags as opposed to many flights of stairs. One unique stop was to the house of a craft soap maker, who in addition to giving out sweet treats, also offered homemade soap shaped like pumpkins! The night wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the firehouse. Our Roxbury volunteer firefighters provide hot dogs, doughnuts, apple cider and hot chocolate to the revelers.