This is how we celebrate Halloween at Liggett.
The PreK and Kindergarten, in front of an adoring group of parents, faculty and friends, paraded in their costumes and performed songs — one of which they wrote the lyrics for. The little ones were a little shy of the cameras, and sometimes unsure of their words, but when the song ended with a “Boo,” they knew just what to do.
In the Upper School, Community Time was dedicated to a pumpkin carving contest. Advisories competed in the categories of Scariest, Funniest, Most Liggett and Most Creative. Each category was up to interpretation: “College Apps” was carved into one of the entries in the Scariest category. In the Most Liggett category, a stack of several smaller pumpkins spelled out LIGGETT and the sign above them said: “At Liggett, we lift each other up.” A nice sentiment among the other jack-o-lanterns that looked like monsters eating cute little ducks. The entry deemed the funniest pumpkin was actually an orange, identified as “The Incredible shrinking pumpkin.”
In the Middle School, six classes of Spanish students contributed to a Day of the Dead altar — or ofrenda in Anne Serratos’ class. (Hey, you didn’t think the WHOLE day would be devoted to candy and fun, it’s still a school day.) Day of the Dead is primarily a Mexican holiday, adapted by early Spanish colonists from an Aztec celebration. People believe spirits come back to earth on that day to enjoy life for one day each year. The ofrendas are filled with handmade crafts like cut paper and flowers, and hold items like skulls made from hardened sugar and other treats for the returning loved ones.
Other traditional offerings on the altars are candles, food, chocolate, religious decorations, incense and even soap and water so the spirits can clean themselves off after their long journey. There were even beautifully decorated loaves of Dead Bread — a sweet treat traditionally made for this event — that the students baked.
“It’s not a scary thing,” Serratos says, “It’s a way to celebrate those who have passed on.”
On Monday, Serratos’ class will Skype with a class in Montana, and will share their reflections and crafts made for their ofrendas.
But the day leads up to the big event, a Lower School costume parade and performance. All classes stop and the Middle and Upper Schoolers come out to watch the Lower Schoolers march through the hallways, the first graders with their senior buddies in the lead. The seniors, good sports as always, let their first-grade buddies choose what they should wear for the day and there’s some good-natured oneupsmanship going on.
The performance included a demonstration of the results of the Lower School’s new Orff music instruction, a Spanish song and a singalong to “Dem Bones.” Then it was off to classes for parties and crafts and then off to home, where they will hope the rain will stop so things start drying out, before the real event begins.
By the way: In a really smart bit of scheduling, the Lower School does not have classes tomorrow.
See a whole gallery of photos.
By Ron Bernas