Halloween comes early at my children’s tiny private school. Every year, the classroom is transformed for the occasion weeks in advance, adorned with ghosts, cobwebs, pumpkins, witches, and black cats.
Beyond the decorations, the school also does its magic to integrate educational lessons into its holiday festivities.
Here are five ways our school uses Halloween to teach valuable lessons:
Most kids associate Halloween with trick-or-treating and costumes, but they have no idea how the holiday originated. Students at our school are going to practice their research skills by exploring the history of Halloween. In the assignment, they must provide a brief summary about what Halloween is and how it started.
For more information about the history of Halloween, as well as new ways to celebrate the holiday, check out Alternative Ways to Celebrate Halloween.
Candy is everywhere at this time of year, but most youngsters don’t know much about the sugar content that goes along with it. Students have been asked to look up the nutritional content of their favorite candy — serving size, calorie count, sodium content — and how it fits into recommended nutritional guidelines.
Our teachers used Halloween as a chance to give back to the community by setting up a Trick-or-Treat for Unicef page. They are calling on families and friends to make a small donation to help children in need. The money raised will go towards buying food, water pumps, and vaccines for children in need.
As part of our Halloween parade in class — a tradition at our school — each student will give a five-minute presentation about the character she is dressed as. Kids are encouraged to use their creativity and make up funny, scary, or interesting details to bring the costume to life for their classmates. If the children are dressed as a historical character, they can share facts about that person’s life with the classroom.
Need to make a costume on the fly? Here are some ideas for creative and homemade Halloween costumes.
Our school sends the costume-clad students to visit a local nursery home and talk with the elderly residents, thus sharing the happiness of the holiday with others. It’s been such a hit that the nursing home has invited the school to come back again!
The best part of such creative and well-thought-out Halloween activities is that my children will take home some important life lessons that are sure to last a lot longer than all of the sugary candy. Other schools and parents can certainly learn from these examples and incorporate them into their own celebrations.