Franklin Park Zoo Howl 2021

On Halloween, Speak for the Trees was honored to participate in the annual Franklin Park Zoo Howl, a daylight trick-or-treat event for children of all ages. Zoo staffers led the kids in educational activities, judged costume contests, and, of course, passed out candy! With at least 300 children and family members visiting the Speak for the Trees booth alone, we can say with confidence that the event was a success for our organization as well as the zoo.

Our Community Outreach Manager, Jerel Ferguson, and MassCEC Intern, Erin Baker, set up our table at the Zoo Howl.

At the Speak for the Trees table, we had some surprises in store: we gave away coloring pages, showed trick-or-treaters how to do leaf rubbings, and offered a few free trees to interested visitors! The trees were a pleasant surprise to many of the adults – even those who could not bring a tree home to plant were visibly excited to learn about our organization and interested in learning more about our work in the Boston community.

This family was so excited to plant their new river birch.

Trick-or-treaters gathered around our table, sometimes standing in line, to get a chance to do leaf rubbings with our staff. We supplied them with crayons, paper, and a handful of leaves to choose from. Children picked their favorite leaf and our staffers showed them how to create beautiful pressings of the leaves they chose. Our activity was so popular that we actually ran out of paper two hours before the event ended, and zoo staff was kind enough to loan us some of theirs.

Erin and our Education Coordinator, Eva Paradiso, demonstrated to young trick-or-treaters how to do leaf rubbings.

By the end of the event, we had engaged with hundreds of children and adults of all ages – from 2-year-olds that needed help holding a crayon to older adults that signed up to volunteer with us. If you were at the Zoo Howl and visited our table, we appreciate you supporting our efforts to grow Boston’s urban tree canopy.

Two trick-or-treaters show off their creative interpretations of leaf rubbings.

Are you interested in doing a leaf rubbing activity at home? It’s a fun, easy way for children (or adults) to connect with the beauty of nature even in the middle of the city.


  • One or more flat leaves
  • Paper (the thinner the better, but standard printer paper works just fine)
  • Crayons, oil pastels, or colored pencils (unpeeled crayons used sideways are best for younger children or anyone with limited dexterity)


  • Lay your leaf or leaves on a flat surface.
  • Place a sheet of paper over the leaf.
  • Pressing down lightly on your paper, use your crayon, oil pastel, or colored pencil to rub the area of the paper above the leaf. More pressure can be applied to the crayon as needed, but pressing too hard may snap the crayon or damage the leaf.
  • Watch as the details of the leaf begin to appear on your paper.

Our tree giveaways and tree planting events are over for this fall, but we’ll be starting up again in the spring. Follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when we’ll be out and about in Boston.