Halloween is a holiday that many American children look forward to every year, and this year children might be experiencing a range of emotions about the upcoming holiday. They may be worried about what they can’t do (like some towns are not allowing trick or treating) or they may be sad about not celebrating with their friends or they may be excited for one of their favorite holidays. It is important to check-in with students and families to see how everyone is feeling and pick your activities carefully. Additionally, not all families celebrate Halloween and you need to find out from families what they are comfortable with.
No matter what type of setting you are teaching in this year, books are a great equalizer. These are my favorite Halloween Books! As mentioned, not all towns are trick-or-treating this year, so I might skip books that highlight that, and instead focus on “monster” books. For your convenience, you can find these books on my Amazon storefront! My all-time favorite is Room on the Broom! Normally I have students cut out puppets and retell the story in class, but not all families may have access to a printer (if you are at teaching remotely), so I made a digital version! Plus, Netflix has a video special that I love to watch with my students after Halloween when they are tired and sugar crashing.
I love letting students explore with pumpkins, but I want to guide their exploration to add more literacy, math and science. In this booklet, students can observe their pumpkins, count the lines and seeds, and measure the stem and circumference of the pumpkin. Normally, I invite parents in to support this learning. If students are at home, you could share this with families as an optional activity (I wouldn’t make it mandatory because not all families may be able to get a pumpkin or want to get one). If you are doing more pumpkin learning, you may want to check out this bundle of digital and printable activities and emergent readers.
Counting is a huge skill we focus on in kindergarten, and it is easy to take similar activities and connect them to different themes. Changing up the activities to new themes help keep the children engaged, while practicing the same skills. I love these counting activities for hands-on learning and digital activities.
Counting candy can be extremely relevant and engaging for students, but I don’t do it in my classroom. First, food is not allowed to be used in our school for celebrations or to be shared with students (mostly due to allergies). Second, I don’t want students eating excessive candy at school and having sugar crashes later. Third, not all families want their children to trick or treat or have a lot of candy. So instead, I like to use fun counters like spiders, ghosts, or pumpkins.
Besides the books already mentioned, I like to let my students write and draw a story about a made-up monster. They have a lot of fun with this activity – some students like to make scary monsters and some like to make happy or silly monsters! This includes everyone, even the students who find most Halloween “monsters” scary. You can find the digital version here or you can just get the printable version.
Another fun literacy activity is my Halloween syllable powerpoint! My students loved practicing identifying the number of syllables with fun Halloween words!
I also usually have my students complete a page for our class book on Halloween costumes. However, this year, with so many towns not trick-or-treating, I probably won’t complete this activity with them. Even if some children may dress up at home, some families might now. Again, you could send this as an optional page to complete and not turn it into a class book.
While this Halloween will be very different from years past, we can still do many activities that we know and love. It will be important to get to know our students, families, and their plans for the holiday, before making plans for activities. We want to be sensitive to their plans and feelings and give our students a chance to talk about how they’re feeling. Keep in mind, if you are teaching younger children, they might not know “what they are missing” so keep it positive and highlight the activities you will be doing, instead of the ones you aren’t doing.
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