Cheryl began teaching in 1979 and retired in 2013.  Within that time frame, she taught in four school districts, and in two states.  Early in her teaching career, it was common for schools to host Halloween carnivals during the school day with students attending at different times for different grade levels.  In later years schools changed the name from Halloween carnivals to fall festivals. Many of the fall festivals still had costume contests.  I believe that now it is the choice of the school district or the building principal to decide whether or not Halloween can be celebrated or even mentioned.
Cheryl taught kindergarten at one school were the teachers could books and sing songs as long as witches and ghosts were not mentioned.  At another school nothing pertaining to Halloween could be mentioned at all by the teachers.  Of course the kindergarten students talked to each about their Halloween plans and costumes. 

Whether or not your school allows Halloween celebrations, many parents will send in trinkets or treats. In school that allowed no Halloween mentions at all, Cheryl would put these in plastic bags and have students put them in their backpacks to enjoy at home.  If special snacks were allowed for Halloween, the students would have them at their regular snack time.

There are several fun activities that substitute well for Halloween celebrations.  One of 
Cheryl's favorites was grade level pajama days with a read in.  All of the kindergarten students and teachers would come to school in pajamas.  Students would bring a pillow and a beach towel or small blanket or throw, a simple board game, and  a favorite book or two from home to be shared or read aloud.  The class would have guest readers including the principal, guidance counselor, office staff, and parent volunteers. After that the students would play learning games that went with the pajama day theme. Then it would be time for lunch and recess.  When the students returned from recess, they would have a special snack to eat,  then they would get into small groups to share their books from home.  They would do this on Halloween itself or on the Friday before Halloween,

You could easily adjust the read in activities to many different themes that would substitute for Halloween or be a special day anytime you need one.

  • Superhero Day
  • Pirate Day
  • Bring a Stuffed Animal to School Day
  • Cowboy and Cowgirl Day
  • Folk and Fairy tale Day
If you can talk about friendly Halloween topics at your school or would like a fun Halloween theme game to share with your own children at check out the interactive PowerPoint game on adding doubles and doubles plus one with a friendly, lighthearted Halloween theme.

    http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=742203" title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up



  1. Great suggestions for non-Halloween celebrations. I'm sure your students loved the pajama day read-ins!

  2. Thanks for a very useful and timely post! This is just the time of year when teachers start stressing over what to do about celebrating or not celebrating Halloween. You've offered some great solutions!

  3. Interesting suggestions. Stressful but fun time of year.

  4. Great alternative suggestions! I love the pajama day idea.

  5. Thanks for this helpful post. Great suggestions for this difficult time of year when kids get their candy fix and become hyper making teacher's lives a little more difficult.


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