Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Using Halloween as a Teaching Tool

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: October Segment
Using Halloween as a Teaching Tool

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015. This month Sienna and Ashley talked about using Halloween as a catalyst for learning through community-based educational events and resources:

Click here to see video segment.

Use Halloween as a catalyst for learning about local history, strengthening reading skills, music studies, and giving back through service-based learning and acts of kindness!

Feeling connected to where you live is a vital ingredient in the recipe for creating sustainable and resilient communities. Halloween is just one example of a seasonal catalyst to use to help connect you and your family to where you live through community-based learning.


Through self-guided tours and seasonal events, families can explore local cemeteries in order to deepen their understanding of community history. With some local cemeteries pushing their 400th birthday, western Massachusetts’ burying grounds are filled with opportunities for hands-on community-based learning. Read more in our post, Cemeteries Support Learning about Local History & New England Culture.


This time of year, many libraries host spooky story hours for younger kids. Kids can come in costume and connect with their local library and a love for reading and stories. A few Halloween-themed story times coming up:

  • Tuesday, October 27, 4pm: Head to the S. White Dickinson Memorial Library for spooky stories, games, and Halloween treats. For ages 7 and up. Call to RSVP. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road. Whately, MA. (FREE)
  • Friday, October 30, 10:30am: Join the Gaylord Memorial Library for a special Halloween storytime – read Pete the Cat by James Dean, decorate mini pumpkins, and sing songs. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • Friday, October 30, 3:30pm-4:30pm: Children ages 3-6 can attend a special, non-scary Halloween storytime at the Westfield Athenaeum. Come in costume and go on a trick-or-treat parade around the library! Call to register. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)


Two of the area colleges are offering family-friendly Halloween themed orchestra performances, including Smith College Orchestra’s free Halloween Family Concert on Friday afternoon, October 30 and Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra’s Monster’s Ball Kids’ Edition on Saturday morning, October 31. Kids gain exposure to classics like Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals” and The Phantom of the Opera. Go in costume and let Halloween lead their interests while learning about the orchestra. Read more in our post, Halloween Concerts Peak Interest in Classical Music.


Halloween can often be about getting (candy) rather than giving. Here are a few opportunities that give your kids and family kids a chance to give back:

  • Family Volunteer Day at The Food Bank with Hilltown Families on Halloween! Come in costume between 9-11am, learn about the important work of The Food Bank while engaging in community service.
  • Adopt a black cat! Statistically speaking, black cats and kittens don’t fare well at shelters. This Halloween season, practice kindness by adopting a black cat from a local shelter!
  • Donate your Halloween candy. Post-Halloween, candy can be donated as a way of supporting our troops. Families can donate candy to Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to members of the military deployed overseas.

Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be on Black Friday, November 27th!

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