A Markel Family…Halloween?

As a family, we’ve never been into Halloween. Not once have the children dressed up and gone trick-or-treating, nor have they gone to any Halloween parties. Sure, we visit the pumpkin patch every year, and we listen to the Baby Snooks 1946 Halloween special and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown multiple times every October. But come October 31st each year, we celebrate Reformation Day instead of Halloween.

Kind of. As the years have gone by, we’ve edged a little closer to a traditional Halloween celebration. I think it all started with Legends and Lanterns, which we’ve visited faithfully every year since its inception. While we still don’t go trick-or-treating (and honestly, we only have one, maybe two children who are still of the age for doing so, anyway!), we have carved a pumpkin (an activity that the children thought was fun to try once, but have no desire to do again!). We’ve also started having a special dinner featuring recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. So I thought this year, I’d take a look at how we’ve come to celebrate Halloween.

Halloween breakfast has always featured either Cap’n Crunch’s Halloween Crunch or one of the General Mills Monster Cereals. This year, it was Franken Berry (while we listened to Baby Snooks):

I also found a special treat to go with lunch…pumpkin pie Rice Krispies Treats:

Of course I had the perfect outfit for the occasion:

And a “Little Luther” thrown in, because it is still Reformation Day, after all!

On to our feast for the day. I made one favorite recipe from the cookbook (pumpkin fizz), and tried three new options…”ghoul”-ash (I came up with that version of the name, and I’m rather proud of it!), and glazed carrots for dinner, and chocolate eclairs for dessert. They were all delicious!

We spent the day watching our favorite movies and TV shows that fit the theme…Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Bewitched, The Simpsons, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch (we watched Meet Me in St. Louis recently, which is a family favorite, and has a great Halloween scene, so we didn’t watch it again today, although we often do on Halloween).

So that’s our not-really-Halloween, Halloween celebration. It’s still not my favorite holiday, but I really do love the fun ways we’ve found to put our own spin on it, and it’s definitely something I’ve come to look forward to each October!

Chickadee Thursday

Chickadee was very excited to receive an abridged version of Luther’s Small Catechism at catechesis yesterday, and she was even more excited to pair it with our Little Luther for Reformation Day today!

Chatting with Chickadee

This morning, while we were getting ready for Reformation Sunday church, I was telling the children about how much my Dad loved singing “A Mighty Fortress,” and how I always associate Reformation Day with him belting it out in German. Well, the first line of the hymn, anyway, because that’s all I really remember him singing auf deutsch. I commented that for all I knew, he only ever learned the first line of the song in German, but he definitely sang that one line with gusto. At which point, Chickadee looked at me and said, “I didn’t know he knew a guy named Gusto!” Hilarity ensued, and now I have an even better story to tell!

A Family Feast Mash-Up

In our house, October 31st is pretty much about Reformation Day, because we’re not really into Halloween (or are we?). But this year, since we’ve been so focused on Harry Potter, I wanted something that was both a nod to the series, which celebrates Halloween, as well something that was a reference to our German heritage/Reformation Day. So I came up with what I think was a good compromise…we had a German dinner of brats, sauerkraut, and kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), with a pumpkin-themed desert featuring recipes from our Harry Potter Cookbook (pumpkin fizz and pumpkin pasties).

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the “Reformation Polka,” reading about Martin Luther while hearing Lutheran hymns, listening to the Baby Snooks Halloween special, and watching The Wizard of Oz, Rick Steves’ Luther and the Reformation special, Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting, and Halloween episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. It’s not really a traditional Halloween celebration, and not only a Reformation Day observance, but it’s very us!

Celebrating Reformation 500 with Little Luther

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is far too big a deal to be limited to just one service! Our celebration started with Luther’s Deutsche Messe at Hope Lutheran in St. Louis on Reformation Sunday, and Little Luther was there with us:

There were other services we could have attended between then and now, but the big event was tonight’s Reformation 500 service at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. We were there early enough to have a nice walk around the campus, and Little Luther got to see all the sights:

Little Luther also joined us for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Seamus McDaniel’s!

The celebration isn’t even over yet…we still have the American Kantorei’s Reformation concert at St. Paul Des Peres on Sunday afternoon!

Quote of the Day

“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarfull of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace – of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel – after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps – suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started… Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.” Robert Farrar Capon

What We’re Reading–Reformation 500

I’ve mentioned books we’ve read during October to learn about the Reformation, as well as books we’ve read to learn about our Lutheran heritage from time to time, but I’ve never put a list together in one place. In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this month, here’s our list…books about Martin and Katie Luther, (and some of their contemporaries) and the Reformation itself, as well as books about and/or by other notable Lutherans, and books about Lutheran theology, for pretty much all ages:

The Basics:

Children’s Books:

Advanced Readers/Adult Titles:

School Resources:

No “What We’re Reading” list would be complete without a few non-book items, such as CDs and DVDs!

Blessed Reformation Day!

Blessed Reformation Day!

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Our Reformation Day festivities started yesterday at church, where we celebrated Luther’s German Mass, and sang many of my favorite Lutheran hymns:

Today, we had our traditional Reformation Day celebration. We read Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World this morning, and watched the “Reformation Polka.” We also had a celebratory dinner…beef stroganoff and buttered egg noodles with roasted carrots, and butterscotch haystacks (instead of Luther’s “Diet of Worms”) for dessert:

I’ve been holding on to this picture of the Fab Five in front of the Luther statue at Concordia University: Chicago since we visited last May…the same statue where I took a picture of Ryan on his graduation day in 2001!

I hope your Reformation Day was as pleasant as ours!

Little Luther and the “Diet of Worms”

Little Luther was spotted at the “Diet of Worms” at the conclusion of our Reformation Day meal:

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I think a new family tradition has been born!