Messages from the Pumpkin Fairy Abode
This article is an accompaniment to the article Autumn Pumpkin Fairy Abodes by Rebecca Riyana Sang in the Autumn edition of Botanical Anthology. A plant lover’s dream, it is a seasonal, plant centered quarterly magazine bringing you over 50 articles from 49 contributors to incorporate herbs in your apothecary, kitchen, foraging and gardening, crafts, and celebrations. To learn more about how to make your own autumn fairy abode, check out the digital copy here and the print copy here.
Messages from the Pumpkin Fairy Abode
by Rebecca Riyana Sang
One sweet October morning, when my daughter was 4 years old, a little pumpkin fairy house arrived on our doorstep. Up until that point, she had a tentative relationship with pumpkins during the month leading up to Halloween– the jack o’lanterns that alit so many door stoops and porches of our neighborhood seemed scary, menacing, and too toothy.
But this pumpkin was different.
There were little mushrooms for the fairies to climb up in order to get to the door, which was decorated with dainty flowers. There was a chimney poised jauntily off to one side. There were smooth round stones around it. And, although there were no direct signs of the fairies being home themselves, they had left her a note:
We are so excited to celebrate the Samhain season with you, which is the time of the year that the veil between the worlds is thinnest and we fairies love to come to visit. We’re hoping you’ll find us to be good neighbors over the next few weeks, and that we can learn all about your autumn traditions. What do you think? If you like the idea, please write us back!
With love, The pumpkin fairies
Over the weeks to come, the fairies did not disappoint– every day they left a new note, sometimes with a small gift like a couple of acorns or a pretty stone. They gave my daughter little adventures to go on and asked her to report back. She loved it, and her relationship with pumpkins and autumn was changed forever.
This project is perfect for small children, but it’s also enchanting for bigger kids and even other family members and neighbors– many folks, it seems, are a little more open to magic at this time of year. Here are some prompts you can use for fairy love letters to the people in your life:
Week One: Autumn Traditions
A short intro letter, like the one above, introducing the fairies and setting up the tone and logistics of the project.
The fairies ask for the child to write them and tell them their 3 favorite things to do in Autumn.
The fairies ask the child to tell them about 3 special things their family does during Autumn.
The fairies leave 3 pretty rocks and tell the child about fairy wishing wells, which, they explain, is where the stones come from.
The fairies ask the child to write and tell them, “if you had a special wish for this Autumn, what would it be?”
The fairies ask the child to tell them about their favorite Autumn treats.
The fairies tell the child that their favorite treats sound delicious, and can they please leave a morsel in a pretty bowl outside the fairy house tonight so that they can try it? (this will require someone to come out afterwards, or the next day early in the morning, to remove the morsel as ‘proof’ that the fairies ate it).
Week Two: Autumn’s Natural Beauty
The fairies write to the child, and tell them they think this time of year is the most beautiful one of all.
Today, the fairies ask the child what their favorite thing in nature is during this time of year.
The fairies have noticed that the leaves are different colors! They ask the child to bring three beautiful leaves and leave them by the fairy house for them to decorate their yard with.
The fairies ask about the trees that those leaves were from– where are they, and what are they called? Do they make any special medicine or have any special stories about them?
The fairies love the sweet fruits of Autumn– they ask the child to bring them a freshly picked apple, cherry, or something from the garden that they could enjoy.
The fairies notice that sometimes the skies of Autumn are bright and blue, and other times, rainy and dark. They would like the child to tell them about their favorite autumn weather and what they might wear or do when that weather is afoot.
The fairies ask the child to set out a glass next to the pumpkin house so that it can fill with rain water when it rains, so they can see how much rain gets made during Autumn!
Week Three: Animals in Autumn
The fairies have noticed a furry companion that seems to be hanging about your house a lot. Could you tell them about your pet(s)? What kind of animals are they, and where did they come from?
They loved hearing about your pets! They’d love to know why you chose the names that they are called, and if there’s any special stories or meanings behind those names.
The fairies have an adventure in mind for you! They would love it if you could go on a walk or a hike, then write down or draw pictures of the birds you see.
The fairies really enjoyed hearing more about the animals around right now, and have a little gift waiting for you (a colorful feather).
The fairies have noticed the animals in the neighborhood doing interesting things– such as burying nuts, or flying in just for the night before leaving again. They would like to know why the animals are acting this way?
The fairies are very curious about other wild animals in the neighborhood. Could you take some pictures, or draw some, to leave for them?
The fairies have another little gift– a bell! They use the bells for magic, but they also know that sometimes humans will put them on their cats, to help protect the songbirds migrating through during this time of year.
Week 4: Halloween is a’coming!
The fairies have noticed that your house looks different than it did when they first moved in– these decorations are amazing! Could you take pictures of other houses in your neighborhood, or draw a picture of the perfect halloween house, and leave it for them?
That was so inspiring! Could you help them decorate the pumpkin house for Halloween? Perhaps leave them something special?
Although Halloween– also known as Samhain– is celebrated in fairyland, it’s quite different there. Can you tell them more about how humans celebrate this holiday?
They love the idea of Samhain costumes! What is your costume? Why did you choose it?
The fairies leave something special as a gift to be used in the Samhain costume.
The fairies let the child know that they’ll be leaving once the Samhain season is over, but that they’ve so enjoyed being here. What has been the child’s favorite thing that’s happened so far?
They love the idea of Trick or Treating! This is a much different way to celebrate than the way things used to be. The fairies would love to know more about what the child has planned for Halloween night.
The fairies have heard that sometimes, Halloween can be a little spooky. Could you share a spooky story with them?
That was scary! Now, can you share a Halloween joke?
The fairies leave some candy for the child – their first trick or treat candy of Halloween– or a special treat, and a final farewell.
Rebecca Riyana Sang is a mama, herbalist and hedgewitch who’s in love with nature. She grows pumpkins every year in her potager garden in Napa, California. You can learn more about her work on Substack and Instagram at @flowers.and.herbs.