Halloween, Then and Now at School

Our classroom family event, a few years ago.

Halloween is quite different this year.  There’s no trick-or-treating.  Children will be wearing pajamas to school today for ‘PJ Day’, and ‘A Day in the Dark’.  These are fun alternatives to costumes, as has become the norm for the past many years.

Sadly, our ever-popular family party at school could not happen this year.  For me, this was one of the hardest changes and biggest disappointments.  The evening of a pizza supper on the playground, followed by carving a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern was magical – especially lighting the jack-o-lanterns as it became dark, and singing our favorite jack-o-lantern song.

Then today I received this email:

Dear Jennie,

The Bakers and Cusicks had a GCS/Aqua Room Pumpkin celebration last night. Like yours from years past, we had pizza and carved pumpkins. We just didn’t sing but decorated cookies instead.

Thanks for creating those great memories that we can continue! 🍁❤️🎃


L to R—Dillon, Isabel, Emmett, Owen, & Brennan

My goodness!  How wonderful, indeed.  Yes, this is an event that creates memories over many years.  They did not sing the song, so I thought you might like to hear it (children want to sing it all year long):

Gloria has been trick-or-treating with an Aqua Room friend every year since I can remember.  She has been Minnie Mouse, a dragon, a cow, a scarecrow, and wearing many other costumes for Halloween.  This year she is staying home in the classroom, with her mask, and taking care of the jack-0-lantern.

Children are resilient.  Gloria is resilient.  I know that.  I need to remember that.

Stayed tuned tomorrow for storytelling, and a Jennie Story – “The Halloween Story.”


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Expressing words and feelings, Gloria, Halloween, Inspiration, jack-o-lanterns, preschool, Singing, Student alumni, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Halloween, Then and Now at School

  1. Ritu says:

    Wonderful, Jennie🥰

  2. Kerry Cusick says:

    You have left lasting impressions on our family. Thank you! xoxo

  3. GP Cox says:

    I still have my memories. I wish the children of today could have the same!
    Stay safe, Jennie!

    • Jennie says:

      I know, and I feel the same way. Thank you, GP. Tomorrow’s post is the Halloween Story, when kids went trick-or-treating… alone!! Imagine that today. 🎃

      • GP Cox says:

        I never actually went alone, but I grew up on a small street with 14 kids all within 4 years of age. (I was the youngest)

      • Jennie says:

        Those must be crystal clear Halloween memories, GP. Of course we never went alone, we were always with siblings or other kids. ‘Alone’ meant no parents or grownups. That was the big difference from how it is today.

        What a shame, as we cannot grow ‘critical divergent thinkers’ (words from the astronauts) unless children can be independent and learn by doing. I think the astronauts would applaud trick-or-treating without grownups.

  4. Opher says:

    Amazing Jenny – though I can’t help thinking that Halloween is such a strange event.

  5. The email from Kerry must have made your day! I liked the Boo! Boo Boo! bit in the jack-o’lantern song.

  6. Tracey Brown says:

    This brought a smile to me this morning. What wonderful traditions. This year is different but you are still making good memories for these children and their families.

  7. willedare says:

    Yes, the “boo, boo, boo” part of the song is clearly a highlight! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and giving us a glimpse into this important ritual — which we ardently hope will return outside next fall with pizza and families and pumpkin carving and singing all together…

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Will. Oh, those anticipated Boos! I can’t wait for next year and repeating this tradition. Singing in the dark, snuggled up with Mommy and Daddy and a glowing jack-o-lantern… magical! 🎃

  8. beth says:

    it was bittersweet at my school as well, and we found ways to still try to make it special for the children. I love the email you received

  9. Akriti Jain says:

    Wow Jennie.. although I’m from India and we don’t celebrate Halloween here, but I always love to know more about different traditions and festivals… Your post gave me a virtual visit to one 🙃🙃

  10. What a wonderful tribute! Teachers touch so many lives in so many ways!

  11. I love that you had a tradition that created memories for children. What I have found this year more than ever is we as adults need to understand that not doing something we’ve done for years does not make things less for kids. Children are resilient and as long as we as adults focus on the exciting things we can do and not the things we can’t… then new and exciting traditions can be made and created. Stay positive change is hard, but change isn’t bad. (and I know you are being positive with the kids…. I’m just sharing my thoughts on this)

  12. Darlene says:

    That song is great!! No wonder the kids love it so. It will be a different Halloween but it will still be good. xo

  13. Dan Antion says:

    I love reading about the traditions you have started.

  14. Children are also adaptable and are programmed to make the most of life. Have a lovely Halloween regardless, Jennie 😊

  15. Children are resilient, Jennie. Someday all will be normal again.

  16. What a wonderful, joyful post, Jennie! That letter melted my heart. I loved all the photos — and thanks for the video. Happy Halloween hugs!

  17. Thank God for Gloria, setting an example for the kids.

  18. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, you are resilient also.

  19. Beautiful… Happy Halloween to all! 🎃 xo

  20. petespringerauthor says:

    Children are resilient. Some of the schools in our area have returned to at-school attendance. I drove by and saw all of the children outside wearing their masks. I’m sure it’s an adjustment for all, but I know they will do it. That’s what teachers and kids do.

    • Jennie says:

      Yup, that’s what we all do. Our elementary schools are back and forth with hybrid or remote, as Covid cases keep creeping up. The youngest children really need to be in school. We’re making it work. Best to you, Pete.

  21. beetleypete says:

    Great to see you making the kids excited. You have a real joy of Halloween in America that I never experienced as a child in London. This year, we not only have the virus, but gale-force winds and torrential rain. I am guessing the Beetley Halloween will be a washout in 2020.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  22. Kara Aharon says:

    Things are different this year. That’s not always a bad thing.

  23. Norah says:

    How reassuring and affirming to have families continue your tradition at home. I understand how disappointing it would be to not have celebrated it with your class this year. What a different Halloween and one that will be mentioned in stories for years to come, I’m sure. I hope these masks don’t become the norm for future Halloweens.

  24. dgkaye says:

    This year can’t end fast enough. Resilience is a great word. 🙂 xx

  25. That was wonderful and the tradition you taught them being carried forward is magnificent!

  26. The little ones don’t have those fond memories so missing something isn’t so painful. We miss that more than they do. I didn’t grow up with Halloween but my kids loved it and because we moved so much, every year was different. No expectations helps. We only had 10 kids come by here. Driven way down here in cars because it’s too far for the kids and uphill going home. I have a LOT of candy left. What do I do with it???

  27. Sorry, Jennie! I’ lost the line. Excuse for this, but it sounds and looks like a wonderful celebration of something, we are missing here. Well done! Have a beautiful weekend! Michael

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s