As a classroom teacher, I was NOT a fan of Halloween, I still am not.  Don’t expect teaching to be easy the week before, as the the goblins are so excited about their costumes and the anticipation of bags of candy.  Don’t think much learning will happen the day of and you just need to be prepared for the sugar hi/low the day after and students that are dead tired.  The year our first child was born on September 16, with six weeks off for maternity leave, that put me back in a third grade classroom in Flint, at Doyle-Ryder Elementary School on October 31.  I did not look forward to coming up with a costume, much less wound up eight-year-olds, and thought of a day of partying.  I was ready to get back to teaching, not managing chaos.  Fortunately, I had really great parents who called to let me know that they would plan and execute the party for my first day back. One very organized and helpful parent kept in touch, and suggested an entire afternoon of party games and activities.  As nice as that may have sounded, I said, “Really what I had in mind was, like the last hour of the school day, I really hoped to get some teaching in since I had been away from the kids for 6 weeks. They really need to get back to the routine I had established the 4 weeks I had them before I had Sasha.”  She understood and would relay that to the other parents helping.  I wore my “Indiana Jones” costume, a felt fedora hat, leather jacket, blue jeans and boots the day I returned.  I took a few minutes at the beginning of the day to show a few photos of Sasha and what I had been up to for six weeks, told them it was time to get in to our routine. Yes, it was Halloween and they’d be able to celebrate as they wanted to when the school day was over, but we still needed to work, there was learning to be done, prior to our celebration at the end of the day, even if it was Halloween.   We started the day with a few minutes of writing in their journals while I took attendance, lunch count and went through their planners and notes from any parents, it was back to business.  

     Halloween is 1 day.  It is not an excuse to take a few days off from learning or to act foolish.  Put that in to perspective for your child.  You take the lead and set the tone for Halloween or any exciting day. Manage the expectations.  Teach your children how to handle Halloween or any special day.  They still need to do their chores, their daily reading, make their beds and anything else expected of them.  Do you get the day off from parenting or work because it’s Halloween?  Do you get a break on your mortgage or bills because it’s Halloween?  For our kids, it was bedtime as usual, intake of candy was monitored, yes, they got to enjoy it but within reason. For older kids, be on top of the costumes they choose-no sexy pirates for the high school or middle school party.  Know who will be home at the party your child may attend, or maybe YOU host a few kids over.  If trick or treating will be part of your child’s activities, maybe 1 parent go with them, staying a little behind for older kids and making sure that younger kids are not running into the street so excited to get to the next house, risking getting hit by a car.  Go through your kids treats, tossing anything questionable.  

     Be the parent, not the friend on these decisions.  You are entrusted with your child’s well-being. Make sure that each and every decision you are faced with on their behalf reflects the levity of importance.  Later on when they are an adult, you can be their friend, but not until.  

     Teach your kids the origin of the holiday, All Hallow’s Eve, the evening before the Christian, All Saints Day, where the deceased are remembered.  It was believed that the night before the holiday, the ghosts of those deceased made an appearance as they anticipated the day of remembrance.  Sting has a song on an album released a few years back for Christmas, called “Soul Cake”, that mentions the traditions of this holiday.  The musical interlude in the middle of the song, is a Christmas tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” as the anticipation of the coming Christmas season, is fast approaching. 

It’s a lovely song, A few of the lyrics that talk of the origins of ‘trick or treating” (a soul cake being an anticipated treat)  :  

“A soul cake, A soul cake, 

Please, good misses a soul cake, 

An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry

Any good thing to make us all merry

A soul cake, a soul cake

Please good missus a soul cake

One for Peter, one for Paul and once for him who made us all”

Your children will follow your lead, so lead. Not just on Halloween but everyday, making for many Great Days 🍎 

Mrs. Burau