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I have a confession to make. I'm an elementary teacher who does not like Halloween. Honestly, I find the whole thing kind of distasteful. The focus on evil/scary/ugly things is just not something I can appreciate.
For a lot of teachers, this is not an issue, because so many schools do not celebrate the holiday. Mine does. We make a Halloween craft. We read Halloween books. We allow students to wear their costumes to school and celebrate with a parade through the classrooms. Parents send candy and cupcakes and all sorts of goodies for their kids to hand out to their classmates. Our Principal even wears a costume, and teachers are expected to wear costumes, as well.
After all that, we try to teach, when all the kids can focus on is the candy waiting for them at the end-of-the-day party. Seriously, what are the chances that any learning will take place that day? For several years, I had a BAD attitude about Halloween. Yes, I wore a costume. But I didn't have to like it! Once, I got the flu, and I was almost happy to be throwing up, because I could avoid the whole day!
Then I started really paying attention to my students during October. Their little faces would simply light up when they described their costume to me. They didn't want to be evil, they just wanted to be a ladybug. Or a Superhero. How could I dislike something that brought them so much joy?
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I take their picture and have them write about their costume. I look on Teachers Pay Teachers for non-scary activities that address the standards we happen to be learning. And when it's over, I give a BIG sigh of relief, wash off my whiskers, and put my hat away until next year.
I also try to incorporate Halloween into other things that are happening in October, like Red Ribbon Week. So we say "Boo" to drugs, and make ghosts (cute ghosts, not scary ones!) with our hand prints and some googly eyes. I found this ghost craft idea on Pinterest, of course. You can find the original pin here.
Now that I'm routinely sharing things on Teachers Pay Teachers (many for free), I decided to go ahead and make monthly calendars with seasonal and holiday clip art, so teachers can have a choice of which to use. For October, I have two choices: an Autumn theme, and a Halloween theme with happy jack-o-lanterns. Nothing too evil or scary =) Click on either picture if you would like these free calendars to use with your students.
Happy Teaching at Halloween,