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    October 1st, 2010Musings

    Alternatives to celebrating Halloween

    Now that fall is here, many people’s minds often turn to thoughts of the holidays.  For room moms, this time of year also brings with it the interesting dilemma of how and what to celebrate.

    Halloween is the first of the “holiday challenges.”  For many, this is the time of year set aside for otherwise kind and caring people to scare the daylights out of small children.  In exchange for his participation, the unsuspecting child is given a supply of sugary treats, which will make him so hyper that, if nightmares do not keep him awake all night, the sugar high will. (I’ll even admit, my son missed the day of school after Halloween one year on account of having eaten so much candy he’d made himself sick. He – and I – have vowed never again, on that front!)

    Others will have concerns about the conflict between the “message” of ghosts, goblins, and witches, and the religious principals that they are trying to instill in their children.

    Some families will expect what they will call “a good, old fashioned Halloween.”  The precise definition of which (of course) will vary from family to family.

    What is a room mom to do?  The trick is to provide a treat that is acceptable to all.  A celebration is certainly acceptable.  Costumes are always fun.  A special (nutritious) snack is always welcome.

    Consider having a “Storybook Day.” Children can be encouraged to come dressed as their favorite storybook character, books can be brought in to share with the group, and parents and others might be persuaded to sign up and come in at various times during the day to read to the children in a “story marathon.”  Special prizes could be given for costumes, bringing books, being the best listener, etc., with enough categories to ensure that everyone will win a prize.

    Fall-themed treats for the day might include sliced apples, muffins, or even pumpkin bread. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try one of the many Harry Potter-themed recipes for pumpkin juice or butterbeer that can be found online.

    Art projects could revolve around children sharing their favorite stories in the medium of their own choosing, and then could be displayed in the classroom for all to enjoy.

    Other themes might be a harvest festival, fall games and sports, or “animals preparing for winter,” with children coming as, or acting out, their favorite animal – this could be especially fun for the younger set.

    Each of these scenarios involve literacy, language skills, art, science, parent involvement and nutritious food, as well as the fun of a special day when children can pretend to be someone other than themselves.  The possibilities are endless.  A little thought can provide an October holiday, one that will be fun for all, with no “Boo!” or boo-hoos.

    Special thanks to Cool Room Mom contributor Mary Ellen Lamb for this article, which originally appeared in the Fall 2005 edition of NCAEYC’s Milestones magazine. The article has been modified (with the permission of the author) by Cool Room Mom for this audience.

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