This weekend marks the opening weekend of Hallowe'en in Greenfield Village in Dearborn. For many metro- Detroiters this is a family must-do. If you haven't attended yet, or you are going to be in town for a hockey or soccer tournament over the next few weekends, try to add this event to your activity list.
This time-ticketed event takes place on weekend evenings, during which the shadows of the streetlight and moon cast a lovely enchantment throughout the village. What it lacks in historical inauthenticity, (trick or treating in America really didn't begin in earnest until the 1920's) it more than makes up for in pleasant family fun. The streets are lined with well over 1,000 hand carved pumpkins lit by candles, providing a glowing trail through the areas of the village open for this event.
This is not a gory, scary, haunted house or terrifying event geared for rowdy teenagers. Yet, it does have suspenseful and surprising elements that might provide frights to very sensitive or young children. However, by asking one of the many workers which areas might provide a challenge, they will be happy to help you steer clear of excessive frights. For the teen? Encourage them to engage their imagination to imagine life in a small town or village in the 1920's or perhaps imagine their own sense of nostalgia for their own earlier thrilling Halloween experiences.
I don't want to give too much away regarding the various stations, but one standout is the Greenfield Village actor performing Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart. I have probably seen this a half-dozen times and still am mesmerized by his performance. With the only prop being a chair, his performance is spell-binding. Be sure to read the story first, to be sure it is appropriate for your child.
While there are trick or treat stations, children expecting a bag full of candy are likely to be disappointed, so you might want to play down this aspect of the event and instead encourage your child to appreciate the costumes, the storytelling, the music and the enjoyment of walking through through history, imagining a time that may not have been easier, but perhaps simpler, at least for this one Hallow's Eve.
Be sure to check for ticket availability as many time slots sell-out in advance.
Family Questions for Discussion
1. When did trick or treating become significant in America?
2. What is the cultural significance of Halloween?
3. What were some of your favorite costumes?
4. What was your favorite pumpkin at the village?
5. How has the observance of Halloween changed throughout history?