Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vlad the Impaler : the man behind the myth.

The Real Dracula

The region of Transylvania is beautiful.  The Carpathian mountains, rivers, forests, etc., but that's not why it's world famous.  It is famous, or infamous, for being the home of the legendary Dracula.  And it was, but not the Dracula you are thinking about.  The real Dracula was a Wallachian prince, named Vlad III, who ruled from 1456 - 1462.  He and his father, Vlad II, were members of the Order of the Dragon, which was a group with the mission to protect Christianity in Eastern Europe against the Ottoman Empire's Islamic rule.  The Romanian word for Dragom is "dracul" and the elder Vlad was known as Vlad Dracul.  The younger Vlad was Dracula.  When his father was given the throne of Wallachia, young Vlad and his brother Radu were taken as hostages by the Ottomans to assure the father's loyalty.  Vlad became very angry (rightfully so) with the Ottomans and would fight them the rest of his life but his brother joined the Ottomans and became one of his brother's own enemies!  I'm surprised THIS stuff isn't a movie!  Vlad III eventually took the throne of Wallachia, and while he was fair to his own people, he was a cruel executioner and torturer of his enemies.  He became known as Vlad the Impaler because impaling people was his favorite form of punishment.  Sweet guy, huh?  Anyway, there is no record of his turning into a bat, or sleeping in a coffin.  I'm sure he could stand in the sun or eat garlic.  All that was made up by an Irish author, Bram Stoker, who wrote the novel Dracula.  His novel forever changed the meaning of the word Dracula and the tourist industry in Transylvania.  Today, Bran Castle, the supposed home of Dracula in the book, is one of the most visited places in Transylvania.  Do the people of Romania mind? They might a little, but if it brings some tourists to the area they can deal with it :)  So in honor of Vlad III, aka Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula we made a vampire craft.  It's also Halloween in 2 weeks so it works out!

Vampire Candy Holder craft

For this spooky project you will need:
  • empty gallon milk jug
  • scissors
  • sharpie
  • acrylic paints and brushes
  • spray paint (optional)
  • candy
1. Clean out jug and dry it.
2. Draw mouth and eyes .
3.  Using scissors, cut out mouth.Don't forget to make some fangs!!
4. Paint whole things white with acrylic or spray paint. Let dry.
5. Leave white or tape off eyes and fangs and spray purple or green.

6. Use the acrylics and small brushes to add the details.  Spooky eyes, red lips, black hair, maybe a little blood - let the kids have fun alone or help them with the ideas.
 Add candy and make up a little sign that says
"Take one -  IF YOU DARE!"

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