Another Twist on Halloween Celebrations at School

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by Amanda, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Oct 21, 2004

    I don't think anyone has brought up this reason for not celebrating yet...

    I just came across this article today:

    The whole story:
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=184701&page=1
     
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  3. omiof5

    omiof5 Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2004

    Amazing

    Oh well -- can't please everyone all the time. ;)

    For children, unless they're taught differently, Halloween has nothing to do with religion or true spirituality. It's a time to act silly, dress up, and gorge on candy. When I was teaching, I always put together some kind of get-up at the last minute because it gave my students such pleasure to see me out of character.

    It seems to me that, with the world being the kind of place it is today, getting scared in a fun way might reduce a little stress.
     
  4. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 21, 2004

    That's cute, Amanda!!!
     
  5. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Oct 21, 2004

    One of my best friends is a practicing Wiccan (I however am not, I'm presbyterian, and a Sunday school teacher to boot since I was 18!)
    She has never as long as I have known her, (since grade 3), had a problem with Hallowe'en. She has always taken part in celebrations, and attended hallowe'en parties.
    There are always some people who are extemely vocal in every group.
     
  6. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 22, 2004

    uh...don't take everything so seriously, people. (I'm not trying to sound rude or hateful as I know tone of voice cannot be heard over the net). I looked at it as being rather funny. Because, when I think of witches I think of those mean, ugly women on the cartoons. ( No offense again to those who claim to be "witches"). I just thought it was hilarious because my students have definately been acting like there's a full moon out or something the last week or so! :) I could see why a witch would be offended. My kids would be meaner than any ol' witch! hehehe! (Not really, they're mostly pretty good kids!)
    Of course it's also kinda' funny (in a very sad way) that if that is a true article, our world has definately gone way to far PC!!! That's a new one...worried about little kids having fun being offensive to witches....hmmm.... somewhere in all that is some very flawed logic. Oh well, as always sometimes all you can do is laugh!
    Happy Halloween! :D
     
  7. omiof5

    omiof5 Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2004

    You're right -- I sound like a school-marm. :p

    Usually, I think stuff like this is funny, too, but after 20+ years of living on the West Coast, it wears thin. :D
     
  8. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Oct 22, 2004

    It is a real story... You know it's crazy when it's true, but sounds like it could be a joke!!
     
  9. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 23, 2004

    That's the sad part! :) Usually, the crazier it sounds, the more likely it is to be true!!!
    Don't worry omiof5, I don't think you sound like a school marm, just someone who (like the rest of us) is just a little stressed out!! hehe! :)
     
  10. Lanie

    Lanie Cohort

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    Oct 23, 2004

    The thought had never crossed my mind. Thanks for the link, Amanda!
     
  11. Lanie

    Lanie Cohort

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    Oct 23, 2004

    Okay, now that I've actually thought about this more, I think the thing that is the saddest is the part of the article that talked about children not having costumes to be able to wear to school celebrations. I've always thought that home made costumes were the best, but I know how little kids feel about buying character costumes. I feel sad for kids who can't afford to dress up. Does this happen often at other schools? All my kids dressed up last year except for one because he didn't come to school on the day of the party since his family did not celebrate Halloween.
     
  12. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Oct 23, 2004

    I had a spare costume on hand for when a child did not bring their own... Last year, this got me into trouble. A child came to school without a costume and he was upset, so I let him wear the spare one. The next day the principal came to my room and said his angry father called because they do not celebrate Halloween. Problem is, no one ever told me.

    I have had one other kid who didn't celebrate Halloween, but the family made it very clear to me, and they came that day and picked him up early.
     
  13. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Oct 23, 2004

    It's A different World

    Well, like it or not, we are stuck in a very "different" world. When I was a little girl many moons ago, we all dressed up and as far as I remember, there were no store bought costumes. My brother and I were "bums" alot of times, ya know, like hobos , wearing funny clothes and hats
    and stuffing our pants and shirts with pillows to look fat.. One year I dressed up as a "mom" in high heels and fancy clothes and pushed my best little girlfriend all over town in a baby buggy (she was a baby, wearing a bonnet and carrying a baby bottle...we laughed so hard I couldn't even push the buggy! I remember it being cold an even raining and we went all over town (without our parents) because you could in those days. These poor kids nowdays....no wonder many so screwed up. I do have an opinion about holidays in the schools. I don't think they should be celebrated at all. That should be a family celebration. All of our traditional holidays are of a religous nature. There is no getting around that. How sad for the little child who has to stay home on party day because the school is so insensitive to his beliefs.
    Our community is fairly small and we don't have the large population here. Most people are Christians. Some don't celebrate Halloween, but everyone seems to celebrate Christmas. Where I work, we have "Christmas", and offer a Christian curriculm once a week. I try and reverse the roles and think of it in terms of me being the minority...isn't it all about loving one another and caring about how people feel, especially children who don't even have a choice?
     
  14. krisla

    krisla Guest

    Oct 23, 2004

    What about the children?

    Okay, so I haven't read the article, but as a practicing Wiccan, I can imagine the arguements. This is not about my spiritual freedom. That's a battle I can choose to fight on my own time. We cannot in reality choose to ignore Halloween and its mainstream ideas (unless there is an utopian island, where there is no violence, discrimination or general unhappiness that I am unaware of). I can only imagine how true Christians feel about Santa Claus. Children grow and will move on to another classroom and another set of ideals. Let's prepare them for what's out there. I don't condone lying, but let's keep it simple - what can they handle cognatively? I was the fearless child or I should say, I am the fearloving adult. My co-teachers are much more tuned into the child who is not excited by the ideas of Halloween. What is real and what is pretend? I have search the web and haven't found a site that has covered this concept -real vs. pretend. There is enough for kids to fear in the world that is real. Any ideas?
     
  15. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Krisla, I am a bit confused as to what you mean.Are you saying that children need not be exposed to the scary elements of Halloween because they cannot distinguish between what is real and what is pretend? Are you saying , it is o.k to have these holidays in the schools because that is how life if and it prepares them for the "real" world? What is it you said about your co-workers and being tuned in to what kinds of kids? I'm sorry, I just don't understand what you are saying and would like to sort it out. Thanks
     
  16. krisla

    krisla Guest

    Oct 23, 2004

    Grammy Teacher, thank you for responding. I still learning the computer and didn't know if I have done this right.
    I am trying to relate to a type of child that I never was. I should have mentioned that I work with preschoolers - a new age group for me. I am becoming aware that the "scare" of Halloween is not as exciting for all children as it was/is for me. Many children suffer anxieties over what is real or pretend. Adults have different beliefs that preschoolers may not be ready to absorb - ghosts vs. spirits, witches vs. "wiccans". I don't want to complicate them with these distinctions. Children ARE exposed to the scary elements of Halloween (unless they live in a cave) whether we like it or not - what tools can we give them to cope with their fears? My co-workers have, for years, used circle time to discuss the differences of real vs. pretend. (Again, I don't feel that preschool is an acceptable venue for me to tell children that "witches" are real to advocate for my right to spirituality - I am not ashamed of what I believe, but why complicate matters when our school leaves rligion/spirituality to the childs home). I am looking for some NEW ideas on how to deliver these concepts. I would welcome any ideas you have.
    Thank you.
     
  17. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Yes, you are doing this right! I don't always comprehend clearly ...
    What I find about children in general at this preschool age, is that they DO like the element of "scared"... I can compare this to the discussions we have had about Nursey Rhymes. Some people feel that the old rhymes are too scary as written and have changed some wording. I find that children are intrigued by the old witch in Hansel and Gretel being pushed into the oven and the scary old wolf in The Three Little Pigs falling into the cooking pot. They need to be told that these are "stories" from day one. As far as telling children at this age that there are real witches, I don't think that is up to the teachers in the schools. That is up to the parents. There would be no benefit to telling them that information.If a child were to ASK me if witches were real, i would probably tell them that there aren't any scary witches flying around on broomsticks. They do not need details at this young age. There would be no real reason to tell them anymore about it than any other religious belief. We are not hired to do that. i wouldn't tell a child that witches are real any more than I would tell them that there is no Santa Claus. That is up to the parents. I am rambling so I hope this makes some sense. As far a teaching what is real and pretend, there are plenty of examples to teach that concept without touching on any controversial subjects.Tell them at Halloween time, all of the costumes are pretend. Show them some masks, put them on and off...etc.
     
  18. krisla

    krisla Guest

    Oct 23, 2004

    Stuck between a rock and a hard place - Halloween

    Ahhh, I'm glad I made some sense (communicating clearly is still a skill I am learning from my preschoolers and co-workers). Yes! many children are intriqued by fear (your example of fairy tales is perfect) and I was one of these. My co-teachers were not, and have presented the perspective of the sensitive/empathic child. Okay, I get that, but what happens when you have a mix? 5 year old boy's family belives in ghosts (as spirits) and talks of mummies from ancient Egypt. 4 year old girl knows that witches (green, wort-nosed and broom-riding) aren't real, yet loves to pretend she is one or a super hereo (she actually tells every one that her mother is Cruella and her father is Superman), insisting that they are real which in turn feaks out.... sensitive 3 year old girl, who has been told by her parents', empathically, that these Halloween beings do nnot exist (I am curious to find out how Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are handled in this family). Blah blah blah, my glass of wine is gone which means it's time for bath and bed. Thanks for listening and I looking foward to reading new thoughts next time.....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2004
  19. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have always had a mix of kids in my Preschool Classroom...some are scared of their own shadow (usually because of the parents making them that way) and then there are the kids (usually boys) who talk about monsters and blood , and freaking out the rest of the kids. What I do is tell the kids that I LOVE monsters(I am serious)...and then I remind them of cookie monster. If they say things like there is a scary monster under their bed, I tell them to get the broom and chase it outside. There is no way you can convince a child that there is no monster under his/her bed. You just have to help them get rid of it. Be funny and matter of fact when you tell them...then drop the subject completely. I believe Mercer Meyer has a book called, "There's a Monster under My Bed." Now about the kids scaring other kids with this kind of stuff.In my classroom we learn to respect other kid's feelings. If someone is scared and uncomfortable with them talking about ghosts and monsters, etc, I tell them to STOP talking about it because so and so doesn't like it. If a child is telling you Cruella is her mom and all that stuff, tell her she has a good imagination and let her blab about it all she wants, but keep reminding her that they are cartoon characters. I have had kids who get so deep into believing some of this stuff(because they are watcing it on t.v. waaaaaaaaaaay too much) and I don't like it because they go off into another world and really space out on this crap. They usually can't concentrate on anything else either. Their minds are filled with NONSENSE. so, it is important to be as truthful as possible for these kids and to teach them to respect the right of others to think as they want to. Remember, it is not your job to teach them your personal beliefs. It is important to let them be free to express themselves...and you only become involved if they are bothering others with their actions.
     
  20. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    For years, I taught a unit of Fairy Tales in the middle school, and when those students learned that Disney and the censors had changed those stories so much some of them were actually unrecognizable, the kids were furious! We discussed the fact that some adults feared that some children would have nightmares if the stories (none of which were originally for children, by the way, a la Grimm) didn't have a happy ending, or contained violence, and the consensus of the students was this: when a mean hateful character, such as Cinderella's stepmother, gets off scot-free at the end of the story, she's STILL OUT THERE AND COULD GET YOUUUUUU. Whereas, when a mean hateful character is killed off, children everywhere are now safer. It can actually be a comfort to a child. This is exactly what I was taught in university; but seeing and hearing it in action, year after year, from the students themselves, was really an eye-opener. (you know how university education courses could be; fiction, unbelievable fiction. Tee hee.) Teaching fairy tales to older students was fantastic fun. And every year, I had dozens of kids order unabridged fairy tales from Amazon. (I despise abridgements of any kind. I don't even read the Reader's Digest.)

    As for the whole holiday-in-the-schools thing, all I can say is, if I moved to a different country, I would try very, very hard to immerse myself in their ways, and use my own old ways at home. (I might also mention that 'political correctness' really gripes my guts.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2004
  21. SleddingSister

    SleddingSister Rookie

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    if a child does not dress up because they can't afford it..in our preschool we collect costumes from the parents from the year before..that their children out frow..we launder them...and then the children get to choose..and the rest will be donated to the dress up areas...in the classrooms.....
     
  22. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Please remember it is generally not the children from other countries who are not celebrating these particular holidays. It is the "Christians" of many different faiths within our own cities...so , in all fairness ,they are the ones causing the conflict...at least that is the case in my part of the country.
     
  23. Mamacita

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    I didn't mean to imply that the problem stemmed from people from other countries; I apologize for that impression. I think I was trying to say 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do' and applying it to everyone. I am a Christian, but I can not imagine making trouble for or excluding my child by making a big deal out of a celebration. Why can't we all just get along? Celebrations are occasions for joy, not exclusion and anger. It seems like supposed Christians make more trouble than anybody else, sometimes!
     
  24. Grammy Teacher

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    Children LOVE BEING SCARED(WITHIN SAFETY)

    I just feel the need to repeat what I talked about earlier in regard to children loving to be scared. The reference was made in regard to the old fairy tales. It is such a shame that our society would even remotely think of changing these age old tales. I grew up with them, as most of you probably did, too. With that thought in mind, let me tell you about the story I read my 4 year olds last week. It was called, Old Bony Legs...a story about a witch who liked to eat little kids! She got hers in the end. My kids were listening so intently and now they grab the book off the shelf daily and say, "Look! It's Old Bony Legs!" (smiling all the time) Go figure... :eek:
     
  25. omiof5

    omiof5 Rookie

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    It seems like the problem is people who insist that everyone share their views -- and they can be part of any group in any country. :rolleyes:
     
  26. SleddingSister

    SleddingSister Rookie

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    you think halloween is bad..what about thanksgiving...? who do you teach...indians or pilgrims...? we have a lot of indian families in my class.... and the indians weren't bad....we just talk about pumpkins and bats and spiders and safety for halloween...we usually also do farm stuff....then for thanksgiving..we usually do turkeys, being thankful, families (our own), cornacopias, and have a family thanksgiving dinner....

    we are not suppose to have parties at our school....if we do..nothing can come from home..has to be store bought from our cook..or the kids can make it..it can't be junk food either...
     
  27. Grammy Teacher

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    That is a huge problem. People are hung up in their "beliefs." Is that good or is it bad?
     
  28. SleddingSister

    SleddingSister Rookie

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    there are some books that are pretty scary...even disney movies....one book that i don't like..it is called a monster in my closet..it talks about shooting the monster with a gun..i am amazed that our school has it..since there is a no violence rule...kids can't bring anything that looks like a weapon to school...
     
  29. SleddingSister

    SleddingSister Rookie

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    i think there is a different between beliefs and customs...i think it is good when they share their thoughts as well..usually i ask the parents to talk to us about it..the teachers that is..if there is a problem..or an opionion out there...i like to stay on the same page with our families...i dont want them to think that they are inferior....or anything...
     
  30. Grammy Teacher

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    I do not touch on the subject of Indians or Pilgrims at Thanksgiving time. This was a time of horror for the Indians and I don't pretend to think otherwise. Sometimes I read some pretty fantastic books to the kids about the Indians early lives. It is colorful and interesting. The only things we do at Thanksgiving time is make some fall crafts, cook and maybe some turkey projects.I do not agree with the Indian / Pilgrim theme at all...I am the only one in my center. People do not think about things like that.
     
  31. Grammy Teacher

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    Good thought, Jane, on the "supposed Christians." I also wish that everyone could get along...we all know that will never be the case. I find Halloween to be fun...and should be harmless, but there are so many who feel differently. We all do the best we can in our teaching and know that we can't make everyone happy. I just go with what my boss wants at school...and do what I want at home ... which at this point in time involves enjoying the holiday and waiting for the trick or treaters.
     
  32. Mamacita

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    When my son was in kindergarten, there was a little boy in there who was scared of EVERYTHING. The teacher tied a ribbon around all the doorknobs in the room, and told him that monsters could not come near a room with a ribboned doorknob. Then she gave him the roll of ribbon to take home. The child was a new person after that.

    One of my friends stored rubber bands on the doorknobs. She always knew where to find a rubber band, and apparently THEY keep out monsters as well as ribbons.

    My own kids always loved scary books. They are adults now and still like to talk about the scary things they loved as children. All kids are different. Which is exactly as it should be.

    Could the flashlight my kids always had next to their beds have anything to do with their fearlessness? (We live in the country and our electricity goes off all the time.)
     
  33. krisla

    krisla Guest

    Oct 24, 2004

    After reading all the replies and ideas on Halloween, I've finally got my week's planning down - thanks everyone. I was also inspired to go through my old, worn, beat-up books from when I was little. Anyone remember, "the MONSTER at the end of this BOOK - starring LOVABLE, FURRY OLD GROVER"?
    In response to sharing my beliefs, I would only like to say, "GO SOX!" I hope that doesn't create any contraversy. I fully support any of you Cardinal fans. :D
     
  34. Grammy Teacher

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    I read the Grover books to my own kids..not sure about the monster one, but probably. We had fun reading scary books.
    Jane, my kids had flashlights and a night light...funny. Hey , how about this for a laugh? Do you let your arm hang over the edge of the bed? I don't because there is a monster under the bed! Come on admit it.
     
  35. Mamacita

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    Don't be ridiculous. Nothing under the bed will attack your arm. Everybody knows the REAL monsters live under the sofa. And they go for your ANKLES.
     
  36. Lanie

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    Sleddingsister, I like the idea about collecting the costumes from the previous year. Many of the costumes would be great fun for a dramatic play center, too.
     
  37. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Oct 24, 2004

    but didn't you know that putting your shoes by the side of your bed in a "v" formation keeps the monsters away?
     
  38. Mamacita

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    Mom said that under-the-bed monsters were attracted by dirty socks, so there were NEVER any dirty socks on our bedroom floor. That's why we didn't have to worry. Dad, though, used to leave his socks and shoes by the sofa or under the kitchen table. We used to search all over the house for my dad's dirty socks and put them in the hamper, too. Mom was a pretty smart lady.
     
  39. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I'm printing this out to show my mother! For years she swore I kept my shoes that way because I was just too lazy to put them away! :D

    I grew up in the country as well. We were just different kids back then. There was nothing better than a gang of us heading out in the woods spider sniffing. We all knew that you caught the best frongs on the creek after it was dark. My niece and nephew won't hardly walk into the yard when it's dark (and that is with the yard light my parents got a few years ago!) Where's the adventure? ;)
     
  40. Mamacita

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    Oct 25, 2004

    I think sometimes that the monsters of our youth were make-believe, and we knew it. But the monsters of today are real, and they are on the news all the time. Young parents are just as afraid of them as their children are. Parents of today live in fear of kidnapping, molesting, and all kinds of things that have always existed, unfortunately; but now it seems like it's everywhere. A child being afraid of a big hairy monster under the bed is almost anticlimactic these days. The real monsters are walking the streets. We were allowed to roam widely and freely, but modern kids are kept close to home because of the fears of their parents. Parents go too far, but who is to say how far is far? Today's modern monsters strike quickly.
    Sorry to be all serious. I think it's because the window is open and I can hear all kinds of animal noises from miles down the road. Country acoustics are awesome. And also my feet are cold.
     
  41. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Oct 25, 2004

    You're right, Jane. It is a scarier place today. There is a lot more for parents and children to be afraid of.
    As for those country acoustics...*sigh* I miss them! I live in town now. My sounds are deisels driving down the highway, a train going by, and the neighbors tv.
     

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