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Is it possible to learn something at a Halloween party?

My fifth-grade students want to have a Halloween party at school. They claim that all through October Halloween is on their mind. Are there Halloween games that will not upset parents?

Curtis Rhodes

in Events and Holidays

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Blair Lewis on October 19, 2018

Halloween parties, consisting of cupcakes, candy corn, Tang, and warnings about safety while trick-or-treating, used to be regular events in public schools. However, when parents complain about any acknowledgment of Christmas at school, it would be a good idea to consult the parents about what they want their children to do in October. Food is the traditional focus of the holiday. These days, whatever you bring to class is likely to trigger someone’s allergies.

If I were going to study October’s Halloween traditions with a fifth-grade class, I’d keep the study academic, subordinate to less controversial themes like agriculture and harvest. When and where did Halloween begin? How did “All Hallows’ Evening” on the 31st of October relate to “All Saints’ Day” on the 1st of November? Where did the idea of sticking candles in pumpkins come from? What steps have people taken to set limits for Halloween “tricks”? When and where has Halloween mischief got out of bounds and provoked local authorities to tighten the limits?

A web search will turn up sites where you can download all kinds of free printable material: Halloween game boards and questions and other activities, decorations, and costume patterns. It’s important to know what parents will allow. Most Americans think the cartoon ghosts, witches, and monsters at Halloween sites are just cartoons. A few take them seriously.

Names have power. Parents are more likely to object to a “Fright Fest” or “Brutal Bash” than they are to a “Pumpkin Patch Party.”

Fortunately, pumpkins, scarecrows, and harvest crops have no religious affiliation and even lead naturally up to next month’s Thanksgiving themes. After checking for allergies, you might be safe in playing “put the top on the pumpkin” or even eating pumpkin pie.

Caleb Jenkins5 months ago

Why should school be the place for a Halloween party or any other kind of party? Don’t parents give their children parties, like birthday parties, at home? People who know each other well, who are not just working together for one year, can bring the kind of food they all like to share to a potluck buffet. Teachers are basically outsiders in their students’ lives. They should accept that and just stick to teaching math. History, literature, music, science, and other subjects are too likely to be neglected at schools where the children are allowed to waste time on parties. That alone would be a valid reason to ban all parties, even birthdays or patriotic celebrations, in the public schools. At least children should have to pass all their tests on academic subjects before they start planning parties. It’s no wonder if other countries surpass us on academic test scores while we celebrate different parties. 

Wilson Hansen5 months ago

Well, I hate to spoil the party, but the fact is that those Halloween party treats we used to get at school made people sick then. We just didn’t realize it. Cupcakes full of sugar and food coloring made people hyperactive. Halloween games like bobbing for apples spread mononucleosis. I used to enjoy eating things at school that my mother wouldn’t let me eat at home. Unfortunately, I had to admit my mother knew best. I would enjoy the party treats at school, then be sick the next day.

 


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