A Different Beast: Why I bring Halloween into school

Ira Cross Jr

I am an elementary educator working in Columbus, Ohio in the US. I have a passion for innovation in education and also for collaboration with teachers, parents, and most importantly students. Working together is the best way to achieve anything, especially in education

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Website: innoedus.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1 Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tremendously fantastic editor James Cain wanted me to make sure that this article was "a different beast" from my previous Halloween article. My instincts would not allow me to title this article anything other than what it is. With Halloween 2015 fresh in our minds, my intention is to highlight some suitably authentic ways to incorporate the occasion into the classroom. These are things I have seen, some I have done, and some things I would like to do. I do not see any of these thoughts being limited to one grade level or group of grade levels since as a teacher flexibility is not only key but also a necessity. I also want to highlight why I feel that using Halloween in school and in the classroom is a good idea.

Reasons to Incorporate Halloween in Schools:

  • Gives students the chance to make some memories through an experience that is not academically driven (Let’s be honest. Kids want experiences, not lessons).
  • It shows the parents and students that you can have fun at school - very important.
  • Halloween is an opportunity for collaboration (Classroom teachers can team up to come up with various ideas for their students).
  • It is also “an opportunity for generosity”. Kids get the chance to share with each other, and the school is able to show that it can share the spirit of letting kids be kids.
  • Families can be given the chance to come into school to participate in activities, help run various activities, or just to watch and support the experience. Who doesn’t love seeing grandpa dressed up in a fun outfit for the kids?

Reasons to Incorporate Halloween in Classrooms:

  • Allows students to be creative within their classroom walls.
  • Allows students the chance to express themselves with little judgment.
  • It allows for teachers to show their students that they can have fun and be creative in a way the students may not have seen (Kids love seeing adults have funand be different. It relaxes them so that they can be who they are as people too!).

Ways to incorporate Halloween:

Maths - I wanted to start with Maths because is a subject that much of the world just does not like. Telling people that “I love Maths” as a subject immediately sparks comments of disdain. I have also heard teachers say they have a tough time being creative with the subject. In regards to Halloween, Maths can be a great way to review past concepts. Students can dress as a number, an equation, a formula, or a shape. In the words of Mean Girls’ Cady Heron, "the limit does not exist".

English - English is probably a bit simpler to show some creativity. Students can dress up as their favourite literary character or theme, all while reading a book or some pages from their character's series or book.  

Social Studies - Social Studies can be incorporated into Halloween's hullabaloo through history and even current events. Students dress as their favourite person or theme or era in history.

Science - Science, to me, seems as though it could be difficult to be creative for some people. Students can dress as any animal, plant, chemical composition, element, or atom. Again, in the words of Cady Heron, "the limit does not exist".

Please do not limit yourself to my thoughts and ideas. I encourage anyone reading this to try some different things that I may or may not have mentioned. I consider myself an expert on fun but love hearing new ideas. So if you have any different ideas to celebrate and incorporate Halloween into schools and classrooms, please share them with the rest of our fantastic teaching colleagues around the globe and with me.

Any suggestions for Ira? Share them below!

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