How are your parents preparing you for Halloween? Do they take the classic candy-by-load route? Pass out paper straws or pretzels? Instead, why not give your parents something serious for your early autumnal celebration? These five little pieces of culture will certainly cut into your sugary intake, and in the process, give you a better portrait of the type of behavior you’ll need to get through the rest of the school year.
Begin with World War II propaganda, “We Will Win,” which encourages young Americans to turn against Hitler. The text concludes with the following tribute to America: “Keep alive the memories of all your blessed years, and when we come home, make us proud to tell other nations about us, because we had enemies that dared to fight for their freedom.”
Bring out black and white images that show the horrors of World War II and the heroism of the troops who fought in it. One gem: these photographs of American soldiers on a train and another of an armored car filled with supplies and a prisoner of war. A poignant touch is the hapless man in the donkey costume. The scene evokes the escape of General Oden Cass, a fourth-grade soldier in an elite Navy unit and symbol of the pioneering spirit of the men who fought on the Western Front in World War I. His photo is known as “The Kid.” He died fighting at Aisne-Marne in 1918, aged 22.
Thinking about spring, why not take a look at the Children’s Bureau’s animated short film, “It’s a Scary Time,” about a baby bird who hatches into a kestrel, the smallest avian predator in the world? You’ll get a true sense of the pull of mortality from its confronting narration, which strives to lighten its darkness. Because “migratory birds are what put food on our table,” it reminds us we cannot alone grow the food we need. So remember to start your day with “We Are Strong!”