Halloweensie Contest – What’s Under Your Cape

Today I have two very important things to share with you…a fabulous parent-teacher resource AND my Halloweensie Contest entry. (What is Halloweensie you ask? Please scroll to the second part of this post to find out.)

As a parent and educator, I’m always looking for ways to help kids develop a sense of self-worth. Honestly, this is one of the most critical tasks we have. Kids who respect themselves will also respect others. And when every child respects others, bullying in the schoolyards and playgrounds will disappear.

So when I found out that a friend of mine, author and long-time educator Barbara Gruener, had written a book called, “What’s Under Your Cape: Superheroes of the Character Kind” – I knew I had to tell everyone about it.


Right away in the introduction, I found a golden nugget – “Children aren’t born with good character – it develops over time. But they are hard-wired to learn, and their capacity for character is unlimited.”

Wait a minute…you mean we have to TEACH our kids things like respect and empathy and perseverance and unconditional love? You bet your sweet patootie we do. I’ll let you in on a little secret. As a new parent, even though I had been a kindergarten teacher for many years, I don’t think i truly understood that. I knew I needed to be a good role model and set rules and be consistent. But I didn’t realize that we need to teach this stuff…I kind of thought it would come naturally.

Fortunately, I guess I learned pretty quickly – but I sure wish that Barbara’s book had been around then – it would have given me concrete examples of projects to do and tools to use.

Parents have first crack at helping children build character, as well as teachers, daycare providers and other childcare facilitators. According to Barbara, “We must teach the values that we want woven into the DNA of our students’ lives through direct instruction, indirect modeling and daily reinforcement.” And this holds true for parents as well.

And what are those values? Barbara makes it easy to remember – as her book title implies, this is all about the SUPERHEROES our children can become – and her chapters (and the values) follow the letters that make up that word. A few of them are: Service, Unconditional Love, Perseverance, Empathy and Respect.

But when can educators, busy with curriculum requirements, and parents, busy with all of their responsibilities, do this? Barbara suggests that you ‘seize teachable moments throughout the day to infuse character development opportunities into your daily content.”

The book is filled with practical strategies for successfully helping children develop their superhero powers of character, using song and dance and laughter, role playing and journaling and art, school and community and global projects. Here’s an example: a student mentioned that she had taken up knitting and was really enjoying it. This blossomed into a knit-for-service project that the entire school became involved with. To date, the children have knitted and donated over 2000 caps for newborns in need. This project gained the notice of Save the Children who asked Barbara’s group to join the Caps for the Capital campaign. One of the students personally delivered some of the caps to the White House. When children become involved in activities that enable them to reach out and help others, their own characters grow by leaps and bounds!

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to help children build character. What’s under YOUR superhero’s cape?

To find out more about Barbara and her book, please visit her incredible blog, The Corner on Character.

And now, for another treat…it’s time for HALLOWEENSIE!!!!!


Thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill, there will be many superheroes revealed over the next few days…writing superheroes, that is.

Every year, Susanna hosts several holiday writing contests. Halloweensie starts TODAY!

The rules are as follows: Write a children’s story of 100 words or less, include the words ‘broomstick’, ‘pumpkin’ and ‘creak’, post the story on your blog between Monday, October 27th and Friday, October 31st and then link it up OR copy and paste it into Susanna’s Monday, October 27th post. After the contest closes, Susanna and her judges will read all the stories and choose some as finalists. And then the VOTING starts and everyone is encouraged to vote for their favorite.

There are PRIZES GALORE and it is great fun to hop around to the other blogs to read these fantastic stories.

I’ve participated for a couple of years…here is my entry for this year. I hope you enjoy it!



Miss Witch had many things.


Magic wand

Big black hat

But no one to play with.

She stirred her pot.


POOF! A furry spider appeared and scurried off.

She waved her wand.


PLUNK! A coffin materialized. The cover creaked open.

A bony skeleton jumped out and rattled down the road.

She stuck her hand into her hat –


and pulled out a…


Miss Witch zipped over Persnickety’s Pumpkin Patch.

She zoomed through Wildebeest Woods.

She zig-zagged over Cinnabar City.

Down below, she spied little witches and princesses and superheroes Trick-or-Treating.

Here I come, friends!

The End



I HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY LITTLE STORY – DON’T FORGET TO VISIT SUSANNA’S BLOG AND READ ALL OF THE WONDERFUL HALLOWEENSIE ENTRIES: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-4th-annual-halloweensie-writing.html


79 thoughts on “Halloweensie Contest – What’s Under Your Cape

    • You are so sweet, Colline! It was so much fun to write…I’ll be thrilled if it gets in the finals…but there are going to be a LOT of great entries. 🙂 😉 I hope you get a chance to read some of them.


  1. Love the use of creak! I struggled with that one! I really love the fun language here! Wildebeest Woods-I want to visit. I need to check out Barbara’s book. Thanks for highlighting it. I hopefully am signed up for PiBoIdMo. I need to add a badge to my blog! Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup…maybe Wildebeest Woods is the title of my next pb…hmmm. I wonder who lives there…definitely NOT a wiidebeest…is that a wildebeest peeking out from behind that tree? 🙂 See you at PiBoIdMo, Stacy!


    • Thank you, Iza…glad you liked my little story. 🙂 And yes, Barbara wrote an important book…I wanted everyone to hear about it…I think it would make a great addition to every elementary school teacher resource library. 🙂


  2. Oh that’s adorable, Vivian. I was feeling sorry for the lonely witch. Too cute! And thanks for sharing the cape book. I will check it out.


  3. I love your take on character building and you do it un consciously all the time. I think you ARE hardwired into it. I pinned Bruenner’s book to my pinterest board for authors I like. Thanks for introducing her to me.

    And your story is so cute. I Love all the sounds and a lonely witch who finds friends galore down the road is priceless. 🙂 I love it. Thanks for sharing your writing talent with us, Vivian. You did a great job. 🙂


  4. Love the first part of your post, Vivian. I agree wholeheartedly. There are so many kids today that don’t have any role mdels. You’re super de duper. I’ll check out the book.

    As to your story. IT’S ADORABLE! From the sound words to the story problem. Miss Witch warmed my heart. What a fabulous entry. HUG!


    • There are superheroes around every corner, Barbara…and I bumped into one when I met you. 😉 Glad you like the Halloweensie story. I was honored to feature your book…every school should have at least one copy!


  5. What a delightfully fun kid-friendly story, Vivian! I quite like Miss Witch! Love her incantations, and so glad that the broom stuck with her so she could go find some trick-or-treating friends! 🙂 Also love the name of Persnickety’s Pumpkin Patch 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the Halloweensie shenanigans! 🙂


    • You would have to put up a 10 foot barbed wire fence to keep me from joining in your writing contests, Susanna. Glad you liked the story…I’ve had fun reading the ones that are posted in your comments…but people keep adding MORE…it’s like Strega Nona’s magic pot. 🙂 🙂 🙂


    • Oh yes, Disney’s Cinderella…that makes me want to watch ALL of the classic Disney cartoons again…Snow White, Sleeping Beauty…maybe I’ll rent them all and have a feel-good fantasy marathon. 🙂 Want to join me, Pat? 🙂


  6. Hi Vivian- what a sweet character you’ve created in this story! I love how persistent Miss Witch is (just like you!) We know she’ll find some friends out trick-or-treating.

    The book you reviewed sounds like a great find, as well.


    • Hey Kathy…just seeing this comment now…I guess some of the comments were held back by WordPress for my approval if the person doesn’t usually visit…or something like that.
      Glad you like the story…I love Susanna’s contests…they’re a great challenge and lots of fun. 🙂


  7. Vivian, thanks for you review of “What’s Under Your Cape.” It sounds like a great parent-teacher resource for raising kids with character and respect.
    I also liked the sounds, spells, and ending in your Halloweensie “Miss Witch” story! Your writing is fun and upbeat just like you are!


    • How lovely of you to stop by here, Lori…so sorry I didn’t see your comment before. 😦 Barbara wrote a great book for parents and teachers and kids…she’s got an incredible website also. 🙂
      And you are very kind about the Halloweensie story…it was lots of fun to write.


  8. I think you have a winner here, Vivian!
    And I love your grandson’s pictures! The question of what is under the cape is a wonderful question to ask children; that was a topic in my granddaughter’s Girl Scout meeting, and the girls came up with a strong, kind, and touching list of qualities that must be a part of them if they’ll truly be super!


  9. Glad that she didn’t give up after the spider and skeleton ran off! Third time’s the charm.

    I’d never seen cauldron spelled caldron before . . . so I learned a new variation. Yay! Handy the next time I’m playing Scrabble and I’m saving the “U” for my “Q.”

    Love the SUPERHEROES book. Great lessons for little learners. Thanks! And Happy Halloween!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh goodie! After you mentioned about ‘caldron’, I went to check again to make sure I was okay with that spelling. 🙂 Yup…three times a charm. 😉 Glad you liked the Superheroes book, Nancy! Any trick or treaters out your way? We’re on a country road, houses are too far apart for little ones to be walking. I think most parents these days take their kids to a community event or friend’s party. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • We went to a Costume Contest on the island to see the kids in costume. No trick or treaters in our neighborhood. Tomorrow, there’s a parade and a festival at the elementary school to continue the fun.


  11. Oh my goodness, I love this so much. I love the spirit of this character. She never gave up in finding a friend. Now she’s got lots of them. Good stuff, lady. Really good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love your cute story! 😀 I know what you mean about the teaching kids to be respectful and all – my dad kind of did that (not about the respectfulness – he already did that) with music. Because of him, I am (gladly) a “Classic Rock” fan. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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