This year, our two Heritage Elementary Schools will have slightly different celebrations. Heritage Williams will have Harvest Fest on Oct. 25, while Heritage Glendale will hold a Fall Parade and partner with Turning Leaf Community Church for Halloween Extreme.

The celebrations have much in common. We started Harvest Fest to provide a safe, affordable way to celebrate as families, rather than sending children into the night on an occasion that becomes more adult oriented every year.

We have games and contests – some athletic, some creative, and others just happy fun – to keep the students active, and because October’s early evenings in Arizona are wonderful. We also want to emphasize the overall bounty of the harvest, not just candy, with food booth choices that are simple, yet filling and fun to eat. After all, a dad does not live by candy corn alone!

Halloween Extreme follows this idea, providing a single safe venue not only for Heritage families but for those in the church community as well.

Here’s one more reason to celebrate: As parents/charter school educators, our lives are all about cultivation and growth. We must put in individual effort, day in and day out, for our children to show progress by the end of the season. You can’t shortcut or rush it. You can only provide consistent stimulation and a fertile environment, coaxing a child to sprout and bloom.

Yet every so often, we can put our hectic schedule on pause, and see our season of work reflected in the glowing faces and curious minds around us. This is the real bounty of Harvest Fest, and it warms the autumn night.