What to do Wednesday: Halloween in a Pandemic

Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,

I teach in a school where we can celebrate Halloween and we just love it! Our parents come in and organize games for the kids, our students can wear their costumes, and the halls are decked out! We spend the morning hitting the curriculum, but of coarse adding in Halloween fun! Then, the afternoon is spent with fun and games. We end the day by passing out treats the students bring in and eating cookies from our PTA. It is truly one of the best days of the school year! You can feel the energy and pure joy in the building. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on what Halloween will look like this year. I mean we have to have Halloween, don't we?

Looking forward to a reply no matter how scary it might be.

Halloween in a Pandemic

Dear Halloween in a Pandemic,

Your school sounds like it's great a place to be for Halloween! I can picture your hallways being decorated with bats and ghosts while students are parading around in their costumes. It sounds so cozy and fun! I totally understand why you are looking so forward to this special day for your school.

Before I tell you my thoughts, I want to clarify that that is exactly what this is: "my thoughts." I have no inside track with administrators or school districts, so this is what I'm thinking could work for your school based on your description.

I feel as though you could definitely still celebrate Halloween, but perhaps with added adjustments for this school year. Just like with everything 2020 has brought us, we will need to be flexible. As you plan your curriculum for the day, be wise about what you choose. Find tasks that students will enjoy but can do being socially distant. For example. we played a game called "Monster Math" where they had the cutout of a monster and every time they answered a math problem correctly they got to decorate their monster. My students loved it! Read fun stories, build haunted houses, etc. Find activities that are safe and I believe there are plenty of them! 

Your afternoon might have to look a little different. Instead of the parents leading the fun and games, I'm guessing you'll probably have to do it in order to limit the number of people in your building. However, maybe reach out to a room parent and ask them to plan the games so all you have to do is follow the directions. That shouldn't be too bad and might even work better because you'll be able manage student behavior.

Finally, and this one might be a BIG BUMMER, but I don't think you should have the students bring in treats. What I'm reading now is stating that if children go trick-or-treating then you should disinfect the wrappers before the candy is opened. Call me crazy, but if you are putting chemicals on the wrapper that contains the food your students would be putting into their bodies, this doesn't seem like the safest choice. Maybe play a guessing game describing the different candies and see if the students can guess what you're thinking.

My best advice with this topic is to definitely speak with your administrator and have a firm decision about how your school plans to celebrate Halloween. Not only do you want consistency across grade levels, but within your building too.

I hope this helped you with your planning and didn't bum you out too much! If you need any help finding curriculum ideas that can be done safely this year for Halloween, then please reach out to us on Instagram (@lessonplantoolbox) so we can do the searching for you. In the meantime, we will be keeping our fingers crossed that Halloween 2021 will be a whole lot more Halloweenish than this year.


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