Hannah Bagnall, creator of the activity book Hannah’s Enchantments, loves the seasons. To her, each one brings unique delights, from novelty creme eggs and daffodils in the springtime to fireplaces and marshmallow-topped cocoa come winter.
“The seasons mark the time and give cause for special treats and traditions with friends and family or even by yourself,” she explains.
During the pandemic, Bagnall realized that the summer holiday wasn’t going to look the same, but she didn’t want to miss out on those singular summertime feelings. So she sat down to make a list of her favorite things: snow cones, the aroma of chlorine at the pool, morning beach strolls, getting sandy. Taking note of the pleasurable sights, smells, tastes and sounds of the season revealed an actionable agenda that, she realized, would bring her blissful moments.
When friends and family admired her must-do list, she created Hannah’s Enchantments to help share the spirit of the seasons with readers of all ages. Bagnall describes the quarterly journal as “a seasonal workbook to help you celebrate the seasons with intention and childlike wonder."
“I like to focus on the small things that bring big joy," she explains.
Inside the workbook, Bagnall provides seasonal tips—a recipe, media recommendations, and decor suggestions—in addition to activities encouraging individual reflection. She invites readers to consider what will make the season feel full and meaningful to them. With a bit of planning, they can orchestrate feel-good moments and design traditions that foster lasting memories.
Bagnall, who works in childcare and children’s theater, is frequently inspired by the youth around her. “Children engulf themselves in the joy of the little things," she says. "As adults, we too easily lose ourselves in the bigger picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, and suddenly the season is over and you’ve missed doing something you love.”
To jump start your seasonal whimsy, here are five activity ideas to try with the young folks in your life.
Movie Night at Fort Spookypillow
Build a pillow fort in front of the television using blankets, brooms and other creative architectural supplies. Set the mood by adding construction paper bats, a spooky portrait or cobwebs with plastic spiders. Put on your favorite scary movie and curl up inside for some cozy, creepy entertainment. For a sweet treat, mix a few gummy worms (or your preferred Halloween candy) into your bowl of popcorn.
Master of Disguise
Challenge the family to put together a costume from items around the house. Set a time limit and a theme—for example, superheroes, pirates or historical heroes–before sending everyone off for a costume quick-change. Show off your festive get-ups by heading out together to pick pumpkins or partake in a fanciful round of character bowling.
Alternate idea: Set a budget and let the team loose in a thrift shop to find their themed looks.
Find Your Monster Moves
What is the "Monster Mash" after all? Figure it out by choreographing dance moves to the classic Halloween tune. Think about how each of the monsters represented—Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein, Igor, etc.—would get down to that funky beat. You’ll be able to show off your fancy footwork when you make the rounds trick-or-treating.
Make a Graveyard Friend
Cemeteries don’t have to be scary places. Spending time in a graveyard makes space for remembrance and can help attenuate fears about mortality. Choose an old cemetery with historical headstones before researching inhabitants' lives and past contributions. While visiting, discuss what life might have been like in another period and how things have changed.
Alternate idea: If you can’t find a historical marker, pick a tombstone and based on the dates, make up a story of your own.
Have a candlelit family meal dressed up as members o your favorite haunted household. Keep it classic by pretending to be the Addams Family—or, Bagnall suggests, look to literature for inspiration. Read a book with fun characters to play-act, such as Vampirina Ballerina, I Need My Monster or Gustavo The Shy Ghost. Of course, you’ll want to serve something fitting like spider dogs or green-tinted mac and cheese.