For Little Friends

By Claudia G. Remington


Waiting for Pumpkins

To every thing there is a season[:] … a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted (Eccl. 3:1–2).

In the spring, Jason planted three pumpkin seeds in the corner of the garden. His sister, Ellen, planted three tomato plants, and his brother, Tom, planted a row of corn.

The warm sun shone. The rain fell. All the plants grew, but Jason’s pumpkin vines grew the most. They spread all across the garden and had large, green leaves. By July, they had beautiful orange flowers. Jason kept busy pulling the weeds from around them and watering them with the garden hose.

Ellen’s tomato plants blossomed, too, but they had only small, yellow flowers. Before long, though, little green tomatoes appeared on them. And ears of corn began to grow on Tom’s cornstalks.

“Where are my pumpkins?” Jason asked.

“Look under the leaves,” Tom told him.

Sure enough, tiny green pumpkins were growing there.

Soon the first of Ellen’s tomatoes were large and red. Mother sliced some for sandwiches. Then Tom’s ears of corn grew big and plump, and they roasted some on picnics. The tomatoes and the corn were delicious, and Jason wished that he had planted them, instead.

“Just wait,” Ellen told him. “The pumpkins will get ripe.”

The pumpkins got bigger, but they were still green and hard when Tom and Ellen started back to school. Tom’s corn had all been eaten or quick-frozen for winter meals by then.

One night there was to be a frost, so the whole family went to the garden and picked all the tomatoes—even the green ones—still on Ellen’s plants. They would be made into spaghetti sauce or preserves.

“What about my pumpkins?” Jason asked.

“They’ll be all right. Pumpkins like frost,” Father said.

The next morning Jason ran outside and across the white, frosty lawn. “My pumpkin vine is black and dead!” he cried.

“But look at your pumpkins,” Mother pointed out. “They’re turning orange.”

Soon the pumpkins were bright orange. They were huge. Father cut one from the vine, and Mother made it into delicious pumpkin pies. Then, on the Saturday before Halloween, the rest of the pumpkins were cut from the vines. A couple of them were canned for winter pies and pumpkin bread, then all but three were given to friends.

The last three were for Tom and Ellen and Jason for jack-o’-lanterns. Tom and Ellen made scary faces on theirs, but Father helped Jason cut a big grin on his. Jason was very proud—pumpkins were worth waiting for!

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dick Brown

Halloween Bugs

To make each Halloween Bug, you will need: paper plate, crayon or colored marker, scissors, aluminum foil, and glue.

  1. 1.

    With crayon or marker, make eyes on bottom of plate a little above center.

  2. 2.

    Cut small circles out of foil, and glue in center of eyes.

  3. 3.

    Cut slits—only through ripply part—around edge of plate.

  4. 4.

    Push every other tab up, the rest down.

Party Fun

If you are having a Halloween party for your friends, ask them to come in their regular clothes, then try one or both of these activities:

  1. 1.

    Ask your friends to bring old black-and-white pictures—extra school photos or snapshots—of themselves that they are willing to part with. Provide different colors of grease pencils (crayons aren’t as good but will do), and have your friends draw Halloween costumes on their own photos. Then mix up the photos and have your friends guess who each one is. The altered photos are delightful party favors.

  2. 2.

    Assemble a large number of costume pieces—old clothes, hats, jewelry, empty glass frames, false noses and beards, magician/fairy wands, crowns, toy swords, etc.—many could be made of paper, cardboard, cloth scraps—and have your friends create their own costumes. If you have a camera that takes instant pictures, the photos make great party souvenirs.

Spider Cookies

wafers

shoestring licorice, cut into 2″ (5 cm) lengths

frosting

tiny cinnamon candies

brown and orange sprinkles (optional)

  1. 1.

    Frost flat side of two wafers for each cookie.

  2. 2.

    Stick just ends of four licorice lengths into frosting on each side of wafer (see illustration); top with second wafer, frosting side down.

  3. 3.

    With tiny dab of frosting, “glue” on cinnamon-candy eyes.

  4. 4.

    (Optional) Frost top of spider, and cover with sprinkles.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dick Brown