Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Thing Leads to Another

Announcements at the end.

Today's post represents a little bit of what this blog is supposed to be about at its very core  -simple, but creative, ideas that can be used to celebrate (or build) community.  But what makes today's idea especially fun for me is that it wasn't planned.  One thing led to another and here we are.  I like it because I think that's how creativity works.  One idea sparks another, which in turn sparks something else and before you know it, an idea is born.

Don't get too excited.  It's not that what I've created is all that grand.  In fact, you might take one look at it and think, "Big Whoop, I could do that with my eyes closed."  What makes my creation fun is the process by which it happened.  Here's a recap.

Saturday night.  Host Random Acts of Kindness party.  Inform guests that I would love if they could clear my table of all the treats and chatchka.  Because I host the party every year, there are inevitably trinkets left from one year to the next.  Host the party 18 times and you can imagine how many trinkets I have acquired over time.  This is year I wanted them all gone, so I could start anew in 2009.

Guests do a great job of using most everything, but still (when consolidated) there is a large Halloween bowl of trinkets left.  The majority of the trinkets are kid-related items, which makes sense since the bulk of our packages probably went to adults.  Desperate to rid myself of clutter, I move toward the garbage can with trinkets in hand.  

Feeling guilty, I reconsider.  Maybe I could give them to the kids in Matthew's class.  Problem...while I have a few of a variety of items,  I don't have 24 of any single item.

Then I think... Grab Bags!  With grab bags you can do hodge podge.  Yes, I will clear out my clutter while doing something nice for Matthew's classmates.  

Together Matthew and I decorated white lunch bags with markers and festive Halloween stickers.  All the while I was having flash backs to Christmas time in elementary school.  The day before Christmas vacation we would often times have a class grab bag.  They felt magical to me.  There was nothing but hope and possibility with a grab bag.  Grab bags are both luck and skill.  With a grab bag you get to reach your hand in, feel around and make some kind of decision on which of all the items you would most want to settle (books of Lifesavers were always a hit).

But packaging is everything (!), so in what will I put the grab bags?  I don't have a big, black, ominous looking bag.  I could - quick - try to make one (there is no length to which we won't go for great looking packaging).  But I don't really know how to sew and while there is no length to which I won't go, I can't really assume there is no length to which a good friend or neighbor won't go.

Then I remember the box in my garage.  The box immediately reminded me of Halloweens from when I was a kid.  Remember sticking your hand in a box and feeling eye balls (peeled grapes), intestines (cooked spaghetti), a heart (peeled tomatoes), and blood (tomato juice)?  

My idea is developing.

I still have some black spray paint left over from last week's mailing-tubes-turned-magician-wands (see post from 10/21).  I'll spray the box black and cut holes in it.  Matthew and his classmates can try their luck.  Reach your hand in and find eyeballs and guts.  Walk around to the other side of the box and claim your grab bag.

That's it.

The idea isn't going to win an award, but from my perspective it works for a couple of reasons.  First, I can use up all the Halloween trinkets that have been accumulating (and taking up storage space) for the past few years.  Second, I can do something nice for Matthew and his classmates.  Third, it allows me to exercise my creativity and to turn the value of any single item (nickel trinkets, half can of black paint, and cardboard box) into something that feels far more valuable.

Leftover trinkets.  Toss or keep?
Pack away until later or use?
Find a group totaling number of trinkets available or improvise?
Present each kid with different items or disguise items?
Distribute to kids or let them pick?
Pick (automatically makes their bag feel cooler)
Grab bag or Grab box?
Grab Box.
Keep it simple or add holes?
Add holes.  Make it gross.

Gross is cool when you're four years old and it's Halloween.

That's it.  That's the evolution of this idea.  

How about you?  Is anybody doing anything fun this Halloween season?  Do share.  There's still time for us to copy.

  • Blog-a-thon:  We've had 10 people sign up already.  If you didn't tune in yesterday... we are "doing over" the Highlowaha Blog-a-thon.  It s scheduled for Wednesday, November 5, between 10:00 a.m. CST and 10:00 p.m.  CST.  We are asking that each participant register for a 15- minute period of time.  During his/her designated period of time, participants will commit to spending a portion of their time co-authoring a scary story.  Simply read what the person before you wrote and add on.  To sign up for a time, simply make a post in today's comment section.  Click on "Blog-a-thon," listed in the top right hand section of my blog, labeled, "Troop 218's Hot Spots." 
  • Pumpkin Patch: Remember to submit a picture of your carved pumpkin to be entered in Friday's Pumpkin Carving Contest.

Signing off until tomorrow...

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