I know, I know, everyone LOVES Halloween. But here is my deepest, darkest, secret-I don’t. It wasn’t always this way, I mean I love candy, I love hanging out with friends and Halloween is basically kid nirvana.
But I am a kindergarten teacher, and if you teach in an elementary school the treats of Halloween have now become the tricks. It’s the hardest 2 days of the year. Yes, TWO days. Halloween is what everyone expects, kids all hyped up but honestly it’s the next day that I dread almost as much. The Halloween hangover. The kids stayed up way too late, they are tired, cranky, and ate a snickers bar for breakfast. Halloween is on a Tuesday this year, that is basically losing the calendar lottery. (Not as bad as Monday last year, but not good either.) You’ll be staring down the eyes of a long long week.
Here are my tips to get you through;
#1 Stick to your routine. I know, I know, you want to have a party or a parade for the little darlings. What child doesn’t love the idea of a parade. So do it if you must, but keep it short!!! Take a quick walk to the office and back and call it a parade. Do it at the very end of the day. You’ve been warned. Once you get back to the class Elsa will want to take her crown off and chances are it will get lost along with Batman’s cape.
There really isn’t any way to avoid it, the kids are just too excited not to bring a little Halloween into the class.
#2 My answer is Halloween centers. I add a couple simple activities to my centers and call it a celebration.
Here are my favorites:
Popcorn in a glove.
I usually bring in an electric stovetop and we pop corn the old fashioned way. In a pot, with oil, and kernels. Most of my kids are from the microwave popcorn generation so they have never felt the thrill of hearing that the oil sizzle and that first kernal pop. To add to the fun I always add a little too many kernals so the cover pops off.
Once the kernals are popped ( have extra, always have extra) place the popcorn in a glove. Add a candy corn to each finger and you have a fun witches hand. My kids never get tired of this activity. Year after year they just love it.
#3 Carve a pumpkin
Most of my kids have never had the thrill of feeling the slimey goodness of the inside of a pumpkin. This is a real treat. Don’t forget to pull down the shades and add a light. The squeals of delight never get old.
#4 Ditch the cupcakes
One of the hardest parts of Halloween is all the junk food. Don’t get me wrong I love a snicker bar as much as the next guy, but the mess and hyperness that comes from Halloween cupcakes is a headache in the making. I found this idea from Sparklestosprinkles.com and it’s a great idea. I now bring in clear plastic cups and I have the kids draw a creepy face, then we add green grapes to the cup. Tadah Frankenstein snacks!!! Best of all: no one is allergic to grapes. You can also do this with an orange to make a cute Jack-o-Lantern.
#5 Add a new center.
This year I’m adding vamire math task cards with clothespins. Simple to make and fun for the kids. I don’t know what it is about clothespins, but any time I put out a center with them, my kids love it. As an added bonus this easy activity increases finger strength. Check it out here.
#6 Good ol’ cut and paste.
I love color, cut, and paste activities. To be honest a simple coloring page usually lasts about a minute and a half. Once you add in cut and paste you’ve just increased the time to about 15 minutes. These are perfect for hangover Wednesday. Grab them here.
#7 Go Digital!
Honestly, I was late to the Google Classroom party but now that I’ve tried it I just love it. I always thought Google Classroom was for older kids, wow I couldn’t have been more wrong. My kids love using the chromebooks and I pads. Using Google Classroom is a dream. I can give the kids an assignment and they sit quietly and complete it. That’s worth reading again. They sit quiety while they complete their work. Google is my new favorite way to end a day, especially a day with lots of excitement. A quiet assignment that the kids love that gives me a few minutes to clean the pumpkin pulp off the table. Everybody wins. Halloween Google can be found here.
I recently found a new favorite, Boom Cards!
Oh my Boom cards are the BEST! Just open an account, add your kid’s names and they are ready to go. Boom cards are perfect for the IPad. They self correct AND they take data on rate and accuracy. Seriously if your admin wants more and more data Boom cards are going to make you fall in love. It’s so easy to progress monitor with Boom- because Boom does it for you! Grab the Bundle here.
My advice is to enjoy this fun time with the kids. You can give them a day that feels special without making yourself feel exhausted. Remember they will be in on Wednesday, cranky and tired. So pace yourself.