Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tween Scary Story Circle, 10/26

I planned this program back in August, and really had no idea what to expect, or whether there would even be any kind of interest in it. The plan was for kids to show up with their own scary stories in mind, and we would eat candy and go around the circle and share our stories. What happened wasn't exactly like that, but I'm still putting it in the success column because A. people actually showed up to an evening children's program for the first time ever and B. the kids who came (and their parents) seemed to have a wonderful time.

It didn't occur to me until just before the program that people wouldn't show up with their own scary stories. I had sort of counted on that to be the main meat of the program, and thought I could kick it off with just one or two quick stories. But I realized just before starting time that these people had come expecting me to read them scary stories, and that I had to deliver. So... I started with a story about poltergeists from one of Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories books. Then one of the moms recited a poem she had written, which was really good, and then I read Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, because I remembered how much my fifth grade group had liked it last year. At that point, three of the five kids in attendance told stories of their own, which was exactly the intention of the program. I then finished it out with one more quick spooky tale from another Alvin Schwartz book.

I also provided a witch's cauldron full of candy, from which the kids each took a few pieces before they had to go home.

I did wish that my stories were scarier. I could tell these were die-hard Halloween fans, who could stand a lot more spooky stuff than I could, and I think some of the kids were disappointed. But no one said as much, and everyone said a very sincere thank you when the hour was over. I kind of want to try this kind of  thing again, either with a different theme, or with greater preparation. I'd also do it after school next time, so there is more of a captive audience in the building, and a better chance for the kids to feed off each other's energy.

All in all, though, I had a good time, and I definitely think it's a promising sign of more school-age programming to come!

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