When Pottermore introduced their quiz to find your patronus, I answered truthfully and held my breath as I awaited my result. My patronus is a swallow, and I’ve come to embrace it. So much so, I built a patronus paper lantern for The Great Halloween Lantern Parade. This event, organized by Baltimore’s Creative Alliance, celebrated its 20th year in 2019.
All afternoon, Patterson Park hosts the quintessential fall activities you’d expect of a festival: a children’s costume contest, hayrides, live music, dancers, and an arts and crafts market. There are plenty of hands-on activities for little ones, including lantern workshops. This year, there was a beautiful and elaborate Day of the Dead altar or ofrenda and information on the significance of the collection. There were also hayrides bumping along through the park. Every year, food trucks line the streets and for those 21+, there's also a beer garden.
At sunset, thousands of neighbors, youth, families, and artists come together to march and light up the park. Those with a lantern are welcome to join the parade. Participants can also line the parade route to watch it go by. The route begins at the Boat Lake in Patterson Park, heads east to the annex of the Park, and ends back at the Pulaski Monument for an unforgettable artist-commissioned finale and dance party. This year, the grand finale was a Mexican folkloric dance performance. There were live musicians (in costumes, no less) playing Halloween staples like Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "I Got 5 On It" from Us (2019).
This swallow patronus was my first attempt at ever making a lantern, and unfortunately I don’t have a pattern or full tutorial to share. I used pliers and aluminum wire to create the shape of a 3D bird. I used the illustration below as a reference. I glued tissue paper to the frame on the underside of the bird first, then weaved tiny LED string lights throughout the body of the lantern, leaving some length of (string light) wire and the battery pack out. I covered topside of the bird in tissue paper and trimmed the excess.
Some lanterns are held up by a string, some are held aloft by a pole, and some float up from the tip of a wand. I attached some wire to an old light-up wand that had ceased to work to make it look like the wand-waver is producing a patronus charm.
Thousands of people turned out for the event, which was very pet and family-friendly. It was a joyful and safe environment full of Baltimore charm and an excellent display of this city's boundless arts and culture. Costumes are welcomed, but not required, and many people wore comfortable shoes and casual wear with glowing or light-up accessories. This goes on the must-see list of holiday traditions for anyone in the area.
Learn more HERE about The Great Halloween Lantern Parade or contact Creative Alliance at:
3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, MD, 21224
Box Office & Gallery Hours: Tue-Sat, 11am-7pm
410-276-1651 | firstname.lastname@example.org