Everybody loves tall tales for Halloween (or any other day of the year), whether it’s long or very, very short.
Creating and writing stories together is great fun and can tap into your best inventive, inspired imagination! Plus, telling tall tales is an activity that grows with your daughter—you can make up stories together, no matter how old she is. As the years pass, the tales tend to get longer and more interesting—and no less fun.
Here is one simple way to start, from my book The Dads & Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship.
Pick a topic, any topic. Then simply start telling a story about it. After about a minute of riffing on the story, turn it over to your daughter and listen closely to where she takes the characters and plot. After another minute, she tosses the story back to you, and back and forth you go, wherever your joint imaginations and the characters lead you.
Keep in mind that the first few times you do this activity, it may seem a little flat. And the first few exchanges in any particular story may (or may not) be a little flat. Don’t sweat it or think you’re failing. Instead, think of these initial efforts as first drafts. Most “real” writers hardly ever use first drafts—we do first drafts to get the pump primed and the juices flowing.
When our daughters were 10, we drove from Northern Minnesota to Disney World and back, with some detours to visit relatives, friends, and historic sites in Atlanta. That trip was the first time the girls ever saw a Waffle House restaurant, and they were fascinated—because they loved waffles.
So when we started making up a fairy tale in the car, it became known as “The Waffle Story,” starring Ann Tellet (a work colleague of my wife’s who took a real shine to the kids), who solved mysteries and went on adventures. Her biggest adventure was into the world of dinettes. Why? Because we drove past a store that was called (really!) “The World of Dinettes.”
My point is, there is nothing too silly, illogical, spontaneous, or tangential to include in a talking story riff. Run with it as long as it feels like you’re both still being creative and stimulated. Just stay in touch with your three Is: inventive, inspired imagination. Long road trips are a great time to trot this activity out. You may have so much fun, that you and your daughters will remember that story decades later!
Joe Kelly is the best-selling author of Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter and 5 other fathering books. He co-founded New Moon Girls.