Halloween at School

Instead of Halloween costumes at school, which can be scary for many children,
we wear pajamas.  Teachers, too!

We have a “Day in the Dark”
with flashlights, glow sticks, black playdoh, and Lite Brite.
We made Jack-O-Lanterns out of paper and carved real ones.

I took children to the library, Jennie’s Cozy Corner,
to read books and play the autoharp.
The Jack-O-Lantern song is a favorite song, year round.
Children asked if Gloria could come along.

Children love ‘Jennie Stories’, which are true to my childhood.
Of course I told the Halloween Story:

It happened like this… When I was eight years old I went trick-or-treating with my little sister, Sarah.  Back then children went trick-or-treating alone.  There were no Moms or Dads.  And, we never went out until it was really dark.  All the way dark.  I dressed up as Raggedy Ann and Sarah dressed up as a scarecrow (although she looked more like a hobo than a scarecrow).  We each had a pillow case to collect all the candy which we called our ‘loot’.  We were so excited!

Then my mother said, “Jennie, don’t forget to go trick-or-treating at Mrs.  Crotty’s house.”  Mrs. Crotty!  She was really old.  She always looked mean and she never smiled.  Her house was dark brick with big bushes and trees everywhere.  Everything was always dark.  Her house was as old as she was.

I said nothing to my mother.

Sarah and I headed out trick-or-treating.  We had the best time!  We got tons of candy, too.  When we got back home we dumped our pillowcases out on the rug in the den and sorted through all the candy.  I gave Sarah all my Tootsie Roll Pops and she gave me all her Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Yum!

Then my mother said, “Did you go trick-or-treating at Mrs. Crotty’s?”  I had forgotten, of course.  When I heard her words I felt like a lightening bolt had hit me while I was falling off a roller coaster.  Again she said, “Well, did you go to Mrs. Crotty’s house?”  All I could do was look down and shake my head.  My mother was not happy!  She said, “Jennie, I told you to go.  So take your sister’s hand and go right now”.

I took Sarah’s hand and we went back outside together.  Now it was really dark and trick-or-treat was over.  There were no lights on at anyone’s house.  We slowly walked to Mrs.  Crotty’s house.  As we turned the sidewalk and walked up her walkway I squeezed Sarah’s hand and she squeezed mine.  I was so scared.  We got to Mrs. Crotty’s porch which was pitch black and surrounded by weird branches.  As we approached the front door I said to my sister, “You knock.”  “Oh, no” she said, “Mother told you to do it.”  So, I took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

A moment later I heard the door slowly creak open.  Just as I was ready to run the lights came on and there stood Mrs. Crotty, smiling.  I’d never seen her smile before.  She said, “Hi Jennie.  Hi Sarah.  Come in.”  We stepped inside the door.  “Wait right there!”  We didn’t move.  She ran to the back of the house and returned with two gigantic popcorn balls, covered in melted butter and caramel.  They were still warm.  Yum!

And I was so afraid.  Silly me.

Happy Halloween!


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five 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 was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Gloria, Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, preschool, storytelling, young children and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Halloween at School

  1. Ritu says:

    Lovely, Jennie!

  2. Norah says:

    What a fun day, Jennie, with a great Jennie story to top it off.

  3. quiall says:

    Fear makes us miss out on far too much. But it is tough to face that fear. What a lovely tale.

  4. Jolene says:

    What a sweet story. Popcorn Balls were a Very Special Treat back in the day.

  5. What a wonderful story! I’m so glad it had a warm delicious ending! Have a Spooktacular Halloween, Jennie! 👻🎃

  6. What a marvelous story and I think PJ day sounds like a great alternative to costumes.

  7. Darlene says:

    Love your Jenny story. Happy Halloween. xo

  8. Great story Jennie and how innocent those times were! What is scary are the social changes that have happened over the decades from when we were children!
    Looking back those were fantastic times and its a shame the children of today will never know anything like that!
    Thats what is truly scary.

  9. Oh, what fun! 🎃 Love yyour story too… xo

  10. beetleypete says:

    I always enjoy the Mrs Crotty story, and pyjama day at school sounds perfect! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  11. Don Ostertag says:

    Love the pajama idea and of course the Miss Crotty who saved her rare smile for Halloween.
    Our treasure trove on Halloween was the priest’s house. Nobody ever went there except us. We’d go late and the housekeeper would give us all the candy she bought for treats.

    • Jennie says:

      When I became a teacher and started to tell this story, I asked my mother about Mrs. Crotty. Yes, my mother confirmed she was a meanie! I love your Halloween story at the priest’s house. You were brave, and I think brave = candy. 🎃

  12. I remember this Jennie Story!! Such an important life lesson.

  13. Mya says:

    That’s a memory/scary but nice! Happy Halloween!!

  14. Still love this story, Jennie.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I had totally forgotten the pillowcases! My siblings and I would return and dump everything out on the living room floor and share the bounty. There were hundreds of kids out on that night and it was great fun scaring each other as we made our rounds.

    • Jennie says:

      Same here, Elizabeth! I think everyone used a pillowcase back in the day, and we sure got a lot of candy. It was a fitting ending to dump out all the candy on the living room rug. I’d nearly forgotten about scaring each other. Great memories!

  16. petespringerauthor says:

    Great story! I like the idea of pajamas, especially for kids in preschool. They’ll still have Halloween with their families. I noticed many of the schools in our area are having in-service days on Monday. That seems wise also.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Pete. Wearing pajamas to school is as thrilling as wearing a Halloween costume. And yes, they still have Halloween with their families. An in-service day tomorrow is brilliant! We’re ready to start a new unit on Russia, but that will wait till Tuesday. I’m so excited to introduce children to musical instruments and Peter and the Wolf. Not tomorrow!

  17. Jim Borden says:

    what a wonderful Halloween story!

  18. cindy knoke says:

    Lovely story Jennie! Happy Halloween 🎃🎃👻👻🦇🦇

  19. srbottch says:

    Great story. I was getting a bit edgy reading it and imagining it all. Such a wonderful ending.

  20. what fun! happy halloween!!

  21. Dan Antion says:

    I love that story, Jennie and I like your school tradition.

  22. Mireya says:

    fun and yes I like dressing u in my favorite chracters who are brave and wise.

  23. Great story and good lesson for all listening. We didn’t have Halloween growing up until I was too old to go. I would go with my sister and brothers but just as chaperone. You have such wonderful memories of your childhood to draw from. Those children are lucky you are willing to share them.

    • Jennie says:

      I remember you telling me about not having Halloween growing up. Honestly, Christmas memories are far more important for children. My Jennie Stories are always about adventure and excitement, so this Halloween adventure fits the bill. Oh, when I tell the part about walking up to Mrs. Crotty’s door, I often stop and ‘breathe hard’ and ask a child to hold my hand as I tell the rest of the story. Typically I end up with lots of children wanting to hold my hand at the scary part. Isn’t that a good lesson in kindness and giving? Thank you, Marlene.

  24. bosssybabe says:

    What a great story of being brave and not judging a book by its cover! 🙂 Kindness and a smile goes a long way!! Happy Halloween, Jennie! 🙂 Also, great idea for the kiddies! My daughter would’ve loved this too! 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      It was hard to be brave. Very hard. When I tell the story, I often ask children to hold my hand at the scary part. The ‘cast of thousands’ want to, and that in itself is a great lesson in empathy and understanding.

      Charlotte would have had a blast at Day in the Dark and wearing pajamas. I actually drove to school in my pajamas. If I had been pulled over for anything… 😂

  25. I like that you have a Halloween pajama party, Jennie. I enjoyed your story about Mrs Crotty too. I was thinking just yesterday about how elderly people who live alone are often figures of fear for children. Maybe it is because the elderly can become a bit cross and set in their ways.

    • Jennie says:

      A Halloween pajama party is the best! Yes, elderly people like Mrs Crotty who live alone are often fearful to children. That is exactly why I introduced Gloria into my classroom.

  26. dgkaye says:

    Yay for pyjamas on Halloween Jennie. And I loved your story. Isn’t it strange that some little kids are afraid to go to the dark house where the lonely little old lady lives? I think it’s because too many scary fairytales with scary old women – Hansel and Gretl comes to mind. 🙂 xx

  27. What a wonderful creative and entertaining celebration. I myself missed such events at school. ;-/ Can we repeat it? Lol xx Michael

  28. Man Kun says:

    wow this sounds fun and Scaryyybooo🎃🦇👻

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