Children enjoy dressing up in costumes, attending parties and and receiving candy on Halloween. Hold a Halloween activities for your first-grade students that will educate them about the origins of Halloween and let them celebrate its pageantry. Include history lessons, costume pageants and pumpkin decorating contests.
Teach children about the history of Halloween to help them understand where it comes from and why Americans celebrate it today. Explain that Halloween originates from an ancient Celtic festival that celebrated the connection between the living and the dead. Over time, Halloween became associated with All Hallows Day, also All Saints Day, a holiday within the Roman Catholic church that currently falls on November 1. Halloween derives its name from All Hallows Eve, or Hallowe'en and eventually, Halloween. Help the children understand that while many people today have lost the connection of Halloween with All Hallows Day, which celebrates the belief that loved ones who pass live on after death, Halloween does still revolve around magic and the spiritual realm. This knowledge will help children understand why so many people dress up as ghouls and ghosts on Halloween. Turn the history lesson into an engaging activity by giving the children a word search with terms from the lesson in it or by playing "Halloween Bingo" with a 16 square grid. Label each box in the grid as a term or word from the lesson. Call out terms randomly until one or more students call out "Bingo!" because they have completed a row of squares either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Give out candy as prizes to students and play until everyone is able to call out bingo.
Show and Tell
Ask students in your class to come to school on Halloween dressed up as their favorite hero or storybook character. This will prevent children from dressing up in costumes that might be inappropriate or too frightening to other children. Give each child a chance to come before the class and explain who or what they dressed up as and why. Reward each child with a piece of candy after all children are done explaining their costumes.
Plan a costume "parade" with the other teachers in your school, for students in classes grades K - 6. Ask students in each class to come dressed in their favorite Halloween costume. Set written guidelines and give them to parents about what kinds of costumes are not appropriate, such as anything with blood, guts or violent instruments. Gather the students together and allow them to walk across the stage to music individually by grade level. Encourage all students to clap and cheer as students walk across stage. Let students vote for their favorite costume from each grade level by applauding for the costume they like the best. Reward winning students with special ribbons. Reward all students with candy or cookies and punch after the parade.
Pick a Pumpkin
Take your class on a field trip to a pumpkin patch. Arrange for the farmer or owner to explain how a pumpkin grows. Talk about the many different things like dessert, soups and canisters which pumpkins and dried gourds can be used for. Let each child pick a small pumpkin from the field. Take the pumpkins back to class and let the children decorate them with paint or markers.
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