Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Very Preschool Halloween

Table Pumpkins

How do you celebrate Halloween with little ones? Carefully. Some children are easily scared, but most twos really don’t get what all the fuss is about. At our school we focus on the seasonal aspects of Halloween. There’s a lot of orange and black, some extra dress-up available, and subtle room decor changes. Children who wish to wear their costumes to school may, though that’s our everyday rule and not a change for Halloween. Sometimes the whole pre-K class decides as a group to wear costumes and they visit the other classes to show them off.

In my classroom we put some pumpkins out in the kitchen area (above) to change the decorations slightly from our usual fruit bowl. Since we had sand in the sensory table at the same time, you canBlack and Orange Paint at the Easel be sure that everything that started in the kitchen ended up holding sand at some point. We also had plenty of orange and black paper and paint. I’ve resisted trying it in the past, but this year I used the “Make it Shimmer” and “Make it Glitter” paint additives you can buy so that matching paint and paper would show up against each other. I do actually love glitter paint, but I’ve never bothered to make my own with the additives before. I must say I liked the effect, though you can’t really tell from my picture.

Older children have the opportunity to nail golf tees into large pumpkins (like we do with styrofoam), and sometimes we open up pumpkins to show to the children. This year the week before Halloween was short because of fall break and we had many absent children, so we skipped the pumpkin opening. Pumpkins and their guts get dumped in the garden when we’re done so we can watch the vines grow in the spring. Older children are also presented with a variety of face paints in addition to extra dress-up.

The only thing that might be counted as crafty is that we let the kids paint their own mini pumpkins. We tend to stay away from crafty activities because art for twos should be about exploring the medium rather than beginning with an end in mind. Some of the mini pumpkins were so covered in paint it was hard to tell there was a pumpkin underneath!

I didn’t take a picture of it, but we also try to have Halloween books available. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find Halloween books for young twos. Yes, I know that Five Little Pumpkins is a great book/fingerplay. But much of what’s out there seems to be for older kids. I’d love some ideas if anyone has them.

So what do you do to celebrate Halloween with young ones?

Painting Pumpkins


  1. I'm glad I found your blog, although a little late to use some of your Halloween ideas. I also teach a 2's class (as well as a 3-5's class). I wish I'd thought of hammering golf tees into pumpkins. We did carve 10 jacks this year and today 5 of them went into the garden along with all the seeds a pulp. We had a blast helping them "decompose."

    Two Halloween related books I like for this age are "Pumpkin Eye" and "My Monster Mama Loves Me."

  2. Hey Teacher Tom, thanks for stopping by! I just visited your blog as well, very nice. I'll look up your book suggestions, since I clearly need them!

    I forgot to mention in my post the beautiful orange play dough my co-teacher made. I always seem to get paired up with someone who makes stunning play dough, which is great. This stuff was soft, smelled nice, wasn't greasy or gritty, and the kids have gotten very creative with it. We almost always have play dough, but we like to keep it subliminally seasonal, in this case orange.

    I must confess to being afraid to carve pumpkins with twos. My own children at home don't have the attention span for doing the whole thing and they're in elementary school. Any tips?

  3. Wow this made me excited for our Halloween bash. It's getting near so I must prepare. Let me borrow your idea for a moment.