Have you heard of the Halloween Switch Witch? She goes by many names. Some know her as the Sugar Sprite or Halloween Elf. Every Halloween, after all of the children have been tucked into bed and are sound asleep, the Switch Witch leaves a very special gift on their doorstep--perhaps a beautiful storybook or a magical wand from Elfland--for the child to enjoy all year long. All that the Switch Witch asks for in return is that children are generous and share some of their trick-or-treat-ing candy with her, so that she has enough to last her until next Halloween! (The Switch Witch can only eat sugary things, you see.) She understands that some children won’t want to give her all of their candy, but she needs all the sugar she can get before she goes home to Elfland and is willing to offer very special presents to the boys and girls who help her.
There’s just something so very magical for little ones about a visitor from a faraway land leaving something special, just for them, during the night. I wanted to limit the amount of sugar my children ate, hence why I sought out the Switch Witch's help in the first place, but it quickly became an exciting annual ritual for them and they didn’t mind dumping their candy into baskets at the end of the night, which we then put outside on the front porch for the Switch Witch to pick up. I also know some families who let their children keep some of their trick-or-treating candy, to be rationed out slowly over a few weeks, and trade the rest with the Switch Witch--it’s whatever works for you!
When it came to selecting gifts for the Switch Witch to leave for my boys, I kept my ears open to things they might have been hoping for, but mainly I tried to maintain a running theme of magic or fantasy in all of the treasures. My youngest son loved dragons, so one year the Switch Witch left a pair of beautiful dragon pajamas made by a local artisan, and another she brought him a My Father’s Dragon book by Ruth Stiles Gannett, which he devoured and re-read over and over again. Another favorite gift was a diabolo (a Chinese juggling toy), which was something they could all practice together and improve at over time.
Beyond trick-or-treating, there are so many other ways to celebrate Halloween and so many other aspects of the Holiday to focus on besides getting candy. A local Waldorf charter school always puts on a Fall Leaves Festival in early October, where we carved pumpkins and bobbed for apples and celebrated the harvest season! Our Waldorf school, Summerfield does a “Sprites Night”, which is a fun event for all ages! At Sprites Night, teachers, parents and students set up different magical scenes for the younger children to walk around and watch, collecting treasures at each different vignette.
As we were chatting about Halloween memories around our studio, one of our team members, Sarah R., commented that the week of Hallow’s eve has always been believed to be a time when the veil between worlds is lifted, and there is an extra amount of magic and wonder in the air. I hope that however you celebrate this year, whether you decide to invite the Switch Witch to your home or not, that your Halloween is overflowing with magic and whimsy and good cheer.