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There are excellent recommendations regarding safe trick or treating, tasteful costumes, and candy/food concerns around celebrating Halloween as well, but as an educator this is how I approach the whole thematic unit.
First of all it is Fall. A fantastic season full of apples, gourds, pumpkins and falling leaves. Even if you don’t have all the drastic change in season (as is the case where I live), there are many activities you can do and fabulous books.
Some of the books I use in this Unit are:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Brown
Why do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro
Painting with apple halves, making a classroom tree with children’s hands dipped in paint for leaves, foam painted spiders, cutting a classroom pumpkin together…the list goes on.
The other theme is Real vs. Make Believe. This is particularly important as we get closer to the “scariness” of Halloween.
Go Away Big Green Monster ,by Ed Emberley ,is a great book to put the scariness of Halloween into a book unit by reading about it, making a big monster face and gluing it on a paper bag and have the monster eat shapes. A cute song is Shape Monster,
Shape Monster, Shape Monster
Munch , Munch, Munch
How many Shapes will you have for lunch?
Then substitute the word Shape for a square, circle etc. and have the monster eat the shapes.
Character Parade: Since I teach little ones, instead of a Halloween Parade, we have a character parade. We are learning about characters in books so I ask each child to dress as a character in a book (sometimes it is also their Halloween costume) and to bring that book to share in the class.
Fall is an incredible opportunity for learning . Too Spooky or Not too Spooky-that is the question. Sorry-couldn’t resist.