How to Participate
How to start a Lantern Walk in your Neighborhood
Lantern Walks are held on the first Saturday of October. SGF Yields offers neighborhoods guidance and resources to organize a Lantern Walk in October:
- limited amount of lanterns and glow sticks for kids that forgot to bring theirs
- limited amount of t-shirts for volunteers
- list with different safety talks for each station
- giveaways such as silicone bracelets, stickers, etc.
- educational flyers
- graphics to use for event promotion on social media and newsletters
- a limited amount of flyers
- assistance with contacting elementary schools for lantern crafting
Community Connections are important. Participating neighborhoods are encouraged to partner with adjacent neighborhoods for joint Lantern Walks. This requires less volunteers builds community connections as neighbors meet one another.
Lanterns can be easily made of cardstock and tissue paper/vellum. Alternatively, plastic bottles and jars can be repurposed into beautiful lanterns! There are lots of great tutorials found online. Ideally, a small flashlight or headlamp is used to illuminate the lanterns, rather than single-use glow sticks. Lanterns can have a handle or be carried on a short stick. Neighborhoods are encouraged to coordinate with their local schools so kids craft the lanterns in class and bring them home with an event flyer. Some neighborhoods also hold a lantern workshop ahead of the event.
Determining a set route is recommended. Till such time when Lantern Walks become common practice, it helps to have a set route so that the participants and property owners know what to expect and where. Routes should be about one mile long. The chosen streets must have sidewalks and street lights and the route should not cross major roads.
There there are different potential formats: A loop walk has the benefit that participants can join anywhere along the route at any time and not miss a station. A loop walk also includes more homes along the way than an out-and-back walk would. And A-to-B type route offers an opportunity for a kick-off event and to finish the route at an interesting destination, like a park or business area. The disadvantage of an in-and-out route is that parking at the start may be limited and anyone joining in along the way may miss some stations. Whichever is preferred, loop or in-and-out, consider the following: If all or most participants leave one location at the same time, the volunteers at the stations along the way will receive the walkers all at once and will not have time to visit and relay safety information to the walkers. Because of that, an in-and-out route should probably have staggered starting times. Here is an example of a route from last year.
Stations should be placed at the near side of street crossing or where the route makes a turn. This allows volunteers to assist walkers as needed.
Time of the event. In early October the sun sets at around 7pm and it gets dark quickly. A 6:30 pm or 7:00 pm start time allows stations to be set up in the daylight and the participants should get to see their lanterns alight in the dark before they complete the route. Rain will damage most lanterns and so setting a rain date may be helpful.
Promotion is most important. This can be done though social media, for example by setting up a Facebook event that can easily be shared. Flyers are also a good way to remind neighbors and school student of the events. Lastly, be sure to inform residents along the route about the Lantern Walk and encourage them to participate by placing luminaries in their yards and to walk along or watch the parade of lights.
For SGF Yields to be able to provide resources, any participating neighborhood must have a group of at least 10 volunteers to help organize and staff the event. SGF Yields is not able to commit to staffing every lantern walk.
A participating neighborhood must sign up before August 1st. Contact [email protected] .
If you would like to bring a Lantern Walk to your neighborhood, but do not have a registered neighborhood president, see if there is a nearby community-focused church that is willing to run the event. However, you can always join in on existing events or build your own!