The Halloween school party is probably the easiest holiday party to put on as far as ideas go. I'll provide a few ideas that have worked for me here, but you can find thousands of ideas on the internet. Just remember:
Classroom dancing: A few minutes at the beginning of the party of freeze dancing really helps set the mood. Find some fun music and then stop it every several seconds and see how long the kids can hold their poses before continuing.
"We've gotten some noise
complaints from your neighbors."
OK...I'll admit that the idea above has nothing to do with curriculum! But it does get your whole classroom community to stop focusing on "how cool is my costume" and start focusing on having fun together. Here are some curriculum-based ideas:
Finalize your study of bats, which I mentioned on the school party ideas page. Creating bat hats is a fun way to do this.
Pumpkin estimating I. You can bring in a pumpkin and each student can try their hand at estimating its weight, diameter and circumference (if these skills are appropriate for your grade level) before measuring these factors to see how close they came. (No, no one "wins" the pumpkin!)
Pumpkin estimating II. Another math activity that requires a little work at home from you is to remove the seeds from a small pumpkin and a large one and count them. Put the seeds from the small one in a bag and let the kids know how many there are. They have to extrapolate to the large pumpkin and estimate how many seeds it contained.
The two ideas above are exceptions to my general approach of not favoring the "rotation model" for Halloween school parties...the kind of party where children rotate through stations (often with their small set of friends) to do different activities. I much prefer the group-activity approach where everyone is having fun together...build that community every way you can!
Keeping with my healthy-food theme, here are some snack ideas for your parent volunteers to bring:
If you don't have parent volunteers and still want to provide a snack, choose the easiest single thing from the list above and call it good.
If you think other classrooms will go along, you could enlist your fitness teacher (the supposed biggest promoter of health in your building) to judge each classroom party for the healthiest snacks.
If bags of candy show up, in spite of what you have told parents, each student gets one piece that they place in a treat bag to take home and the rest goes home with the kid who brought it.
Does it all sound exhausting? It is! Classroom behavior management is always more difficult when a routine has been upset...and a Halloween school party defines "upset routine." As I've mentioned several times, keep it simple. Fun classroom activities don't have to be elaborate to be engaging for students.
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