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Ideas on keeping prejudice and bias out of Halloween

  • 1.  Ideas on keeping prejudice and bias out of Halloween

    Posted 10-14-2019 06:41 PM

    I cut and pasted some great options from NAEYC, but what are your tips or ideas for costumes, parties, and being culturally sensitive during holidays like Halloween?

    "Many children have fun every year celebrating Halloween in their neighborhoods, schools, and early childhood programs. At the same time, however, its associations with witches, ghosts, and evil make Halloween problematic for some families, including some fundamentalist Christian, Jehovah's Witness, and immigrant families. Still other families do not like the traditional gorging on sugar that follows trick-or-treating, or they no longer allow their children to go out at all because of their fears about possible harm. Commercialism also has turned Halloween into a time when parents feel pressured to buy expensive candy and ready-made costumes that sometimes are inconsistent with their values or budgets. In addition, children under 4 may find some of the costumes frightening. For one or more of these reasons, some early childhood programs decide not to include Halloween in their curriculum or to modify how they do Halloween activities.

    Designing new ways to do Halloween activities

    Take into account approaches and concerns of specific families, adapt your activities, or create new ones.

    • Involve children in making Halloween masks (and perhaps costumes). Display the finished masks in the classroom or let children wear their costumes for a parade at school. Besides helping to reduce the emphasis on commercial costumes and masks, this activity is a way of lessening the fears many preschoolers have of the masked figures that appear on Halloween.
    • Provide a Halloween substitute. If some families do not want their children engaged in any traditional Halloween activities, consider creating an alternative celebration. For example, substitute dress-up costumes that children put together from the program's costume and scarf box and have a parade. Here's what Debbie Ravaçon's program did: When I started as director, I wanted to change our traditional Halloween practice of taking the children in costumes around the college to get candy. Children got scared, some families kept their children home that day, and the quantity of candy violated the center's commitment to healthy eating. The staff struggled with what to do because they enjoyed the activity themselves. Eventually, we agreed on doing a child-made funny hat parade around the college, with no candy. We also let the whole college know why we made these changes."

    Yolanda C Franklin
    Infant Toddler Professional Facilitator
    Collaborative for Children
    United Way Bright Beginnings
    Houston, TX

  • 2.  RE: Ideas on keeping prejudice and bias out of Halloween

    Posted 10-15-2019 11:52 AM
    How about a book fair focus? You could use children books as inspiration for costumes.

    James Morales
    Head Start
    Far Rockaway NY

  • 3.  RE: Ideas on keeping prejudice and bias out of Halloween

    Posted 10-16-2019 07:36 AM
    We don't celebrate Halloween in my school. Our church isn't opposed, we host a "trunk or treat" event the weekend before. I like to set my students up for success, and as soon as you say "party" their excitement level ramps up to 1000. That leads to behavior issues. For my preschoolers, I try to keep things low key. They can wear their favorite orange and black clothes and we play "pumpkin games". Usually the snack isn't the healthiest (parent provided) but that only happens for birthdays and holidays, less than 20 days a year. We have a craft that day, one of the few times it's not an open-ended art project.

    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI

  • 4.  RE: Ideas on keeping prejudice and bias out of Halloween

    Posted 10-16-2019 08:19 AM
    We are a Christian Preschool and have 75 kids enrolled. Rather than having a Halloween focus, we have a Costume Party - (no witch or devil costumes). We have game stations set up that include a story (this year we are reading the Watermelon Seed, and our parent volunteers will wear a big watermelon hat and our special snack will be watermelon cookies), a bean bag toss, Autumn Bingo, etc. It's a lot of fun and the kids love coming to school in costume. No candy or trick or treating; we leave that to the parents who want to do so as a family. We will complete the day with a Dance and a costume parade around the church.

    Stacey Duggar
    Trinity United Methodist Preschool
    Tallahassee FL