Kids today don’t always get this experience. Allergies are on the rise, leading to food being banned from schools. Increased emphasis on maximizing in-school hours leads to fun being exiled from many classrooms.
But there are ways to mark this special day, arguably one of the the most important dates of the year for the elementary school crowd. You have opportunities here to make Halloween an academic experience. So use it!
Make it Math-tastic
So, math is all about the numbers. On Halloween, all that kids care about is how much candy they get AND what kinds they have. Work with that! Create math word problems about getting candy. Have students sort candy into groups. You could even use pictures of candy! From there, you can create graphs or diagrams.
You can also create arrays, visual math problems, or use candy to practice measurement. Just how many candy corns does it take to cover the width of your classroom?
Say it with Maps
Many communities have distinct neighborhoods or sub-divisions. Students can draw up a map of their neighborhood or the place where they normally Trick-or-Treat. They should show houses, roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks. Old kiddos with longer memories could even create a ranking system for the houses based on the kind of candy hauls they collected the year before. Younger kids can draw arrows to show their route.
This is also a great opportunity to review safe Halloween practices: no masks, use a flashlight, stay with an adult, don’t walk in the roads, and don’t go to any houses that are dark. Make sure that your students stay safe this year!
Most elementary school kids enjoy a good song, either in music class or in your own class. There are tons of websites out there with song lists, but I like Songs for Teaching. They have a good variety of Halloween songs that might appeal to all ages and stages.
Singing isn’t seen as learning, but as fun. Studies have shown that kids might learn new information faster when it is attached to a song. It also helps to promote teamwork and collaboration.
Get out the Glue
And sequins. Don’t forget those! Most craft and dollar stores have cute craft kits on sale for cheap. You can also DIY it, using paper, markers, crayons, and whatever else you have on hand. The kids will be thrilled just to be doing art work!
You could even go super fancy, and do a psuedo-paint night style experience in your classroom. Find a picture that is easy for you to paint/draw, then teach your class! Instead of canvas, use heavy cardstock or construction paper. Tempera paint will work just fine. Afterwards, take a class picture with your masterpieces!
There are so many fun and spooky stories available, so read some. Kids love a good read aloud. Some of my favorites are:
- Clifford’s Halloween by Norman Bridwell
- In the Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
- The Widow’s Broom by Chris van Allsberg
- Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett
- Bailey School Kids by Marcia T. Jones and Debbie Dadey
To keep the appeal factor for all students, keep your read aloud on the less scary side and with fewer overt references to Halloween specifically.
Kids tend to get crazy on and around Halloween. For that time of the day when they just can’t even school anymore, pop in a movie. Charlie Brown is always a fan favorite, and is available on YouTube. Other YouTube movies include Winnie the Pooh and a Disney Halloween. Netflix is also a great resource, if you have a subscription.
Movies for school need to be rated G, or PG depending on your school’s rules, and be generally non-scary. Sometimes, schools will stock movies with a variety of seasonal themes or topics. The public library is another great resource for finding kid friendly movies.