The Time I Forgot About Halloween …

The funniest thing happened to me when I got to my Reading Part 1 course tonight. I was a few minutes early, and sat down at one of the tables with some other teachers talking around me. The instructor came up to join us, and people were chatting about their busy day on the day before Halloween. Oh my goodness! I took out my iPad and quickly texted my teaching partner, Paula. I can’t believe what we forgot as we planned ahead for tomorrow: we totally forgot about Halloween.

There’s a little “interesting” in this forgetful moment.

  • Very few students today discussed Halloween. We didn’t prohibit the topic of conversation. We just didn’t start it. A couple of children spoke quietly to their friends about costumes and a few children brought some special Halloween treats in their lunches today. That was it though. Nobody painted pumpkins, drew bats, made scary costumes, or wrote Halloween stories. It kind of makes me wonder, how much of an interest do they really have around this holiday?
  • As others discussed the “craziness” of today, I had to admit that our class was actually quite calm. In fact, it was one of our best Mondays yet! It was a very routine day, and seemed to possess the right combination of sensory options, problem solving possibilities, and choice, to make the day pretty close to perfect! 

Reflecting now though, I can’t help but wonder about Halloween (and really holidays in general). Is it sometimes our mentioning of the holiday that produces the dysregulation? If children indicate a limited interest in the celebration, why do we push it? I know that tomorrow, all of the students will show up in costumes, and many are eager to partake in the parade. But what happens after that? Maybe the students will be just as eager to settle into routine, or maybe the conversations will change to Halloween, and the play will also change. As Paula mentioned in her follow-up text to me tonight, “I guess we just need to go with the flow.” There’s something to be said for that. With a little luck and a few deep breaths (likely my own), maybe Halloween won’t be so crazy after all!


6 thoughts on “The Time I Forgot About Halloween …

  1. looved this LOVED this, Aviva!! Just love everything about it from the title to the last sentence! SO speaks to providing rich, meaningful, purposeful, intentional learning based on needs and interests of the kids NOT the calendar! Made my day! Thank you again for sharing your thoughts so openly and honestly. Oh – and happy Halloween!!)))))

    • Thanks for your comment, Jill, and your kind words! Your comment made me think about the times already this year that students have dressed up and come to school. They did when it was meaningful to them. A great reminder to really be responsive to kids, and not necessarily the calendar. Happy Halloween to you too!


  2. Aviva:
    Thank you for this. I think that Paula’s answer about “go with the flow” was the right one. Did any parents ask if they could send treats in for today? Were there questions around wearing a costume or not? I’m fascinated. Last year with my 7/8’s, I knew there would be a dance, but didn’t plan anything else specific. My students were a little surprised (and a little cranky) when the day arrived, that I hadn’t set up a party… I asked them if they had asked for one, or what they should bring. They thought for a minute, and then said “but it’s what we’ve always done, and everybody else is doing it”. It led to some good discussion about assumptions, and communication. I think we need to get more used to letting our students drive this kind of activity.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about what comes next. And I’m going to be thinking all day about whether we bring the chaos on ourselves.

    • Thanks for the comment, Lisa! We let parents know that the school was having a parade at 9:30 this morning, and children could come in costume, but needed to bring a change of clothes for after that. Due to allergies, we asked students to bring in their own personal special snack. We actually had an incredibly calm day today … and with very little Halloween talk. We extended our learning from yesterday, and tried to keep routine as much as possible. It was actually incredibly lovely! Sometimes I really do wonder if we bring on at least some of this craziness, ourselves. If all Halloweens could be like today, I would be REALLY happy! Now let’s see what tomorrow is like after a late night and some additional sugar. We may need some extra Self-Reg options for then.


      P.S. I loved Paula’s text too, and we followed these words today. A great reminder to really be responsive to kids!

  3. We had our “party” on Friday which was really a process drama about a haunted house, so today our learning all morning was in continuing with the themes and interests that students had been engaging with already. It was calm and focused apart from a few disruptions caused by unruly costumes! I also love this post and struggle with revolving learning around the calendar. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Tessa for sharing what you did! It is kind of lovely to have some calmness even around such an exciting holiday. Learning around the calendar seems to be contrary to the new K Document. I really love when we can be responsive to kids.


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