CANDY ALLAN: Construction paper, crayons and traditions

DECORATIONS: These are just a few of the Halloween decorations made out of construction paper around the house. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

DECORATIONS: These are just a few of the Halloween decorations made out of construction paper around the house. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

My house is currently a construction-paper delight of pumpkins, Jack-o-lanterns, bats, spiders and scarecrows, thanks to the efforts of my daughter the other day while I went to the grocery store.

When the kids were really little, before they went to school, I used to make things with them to decorate the house. We still have some of those bats and pumpkins, but they’re pretty faded.

Each year, my kids added to the collection with new drawings, school projects and whatever they asked me to help them make. We have a yarn spiderweb to tape to the window (the plastic spider rings have gotten lost, but we still put up the web). There’s a pipe-cleaner monster hanging from my lamp.

This year, my daughter decided we needed some more Halloween decorations and created a flying witch on a broomstick, an assortment of ghosts and a crescent moon complete with clouds and misty fog.

I didn’t have anything to do with the decorations this year. I wasn’t consulted as to how to make the mist curl around the moon or where to put the spiders. Other than as a needed second pair of hands to hang the spiderweb, I wasn’t involved.

And my daughter was thrilled.

Construction paper decorations are a tradition in our house as long as the kids can remember, from Halloween to Thanksgiving and through Christmas. For the first time, she got to do it all by herself. (My son had other commitments and wasn’t home.)

As a child, I remember working alongside my mother to create lopsided paper pumpkins, handprint turkeys and construction-paper chains at Christmas. It was so much fun that when I had kids, I did those things with them … and learned it was a lot more fun from the other side, the side that doesn’t notice the glue on the table, the scraps on the floor or the paint stuck to the linoleum. But it’s still fun.

It’s so much fun, in fact, my daughter doesn’t need me to do it anymore and it’s STILL fun for her. (She’s currently working on a set of decorations for my mother’s house.)

I can’t take credit for giving her this entertainment. Obviously, my mother gave it to me first.

Someday, maybe if I’m very lucky, I’ll get called over to her house to tour the grand unveiling of her child’s first home decorating efforts.

Let’s be honest, I’ve been making up this parenting thing as I go along ever since my son was born. I know there’s more experienced parents out there and folks with different ideas. Respond to my column by emailing me at callan@pioneergroup.com, and you might see your thoughts in print in an upcoming issue of the Pioneer.

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Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

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