Having a Happy & Healthy Halloween in the Classroom

October 31, 2012

Pumpkins

Halloween is here — which means that classroom parties are in full swing! While Halloween celebrations often come with bags of candy and trays of cupcakes, the truth is that a fun Halloween in the classroom doesn't have to be unhealthy.

Try these quick tips for a healthier holiday, with fewer sweets but just as much fun!

  • Have a scavenger hunt for items or information in the classroom or around the school. Have children search for items related to the party theme.
  • Have a dance party, with music themed for Halloween.
  • Set up a photo board. Take photos of students in their costumes and post copies, using a digital camera and printer or Polaroid. 
  • Try a fresh fruit tasting. Cut up fruits in interesting shapes and give prizes for students who try each one.

How are teachers putting healthy Halloween ideas in action?

We talked to a few of the teachers taking part in HSC's Fit to Learn professional development program here in Chicago and heard these great examples of creative and healthy ways they're celebrating Halloween:

  • Fall Festival: Duprey Elementary hosts a no-candy Halloween Fall Festival where the eighth graders create different stations with activities and games for the younger kids, such as face painting and a scarecrow photo station.
  • Field Trips: Ray Elementary School schedules field trips on Halloween, in order to best make the focus about an event, rather than candy. The “little kids” are going to the pumpkin patch and the “big kids” are going to an international film festival screening at the University of Chicago. In the past, the school has hosted a literacy parade, where students dressed as their favorite character from a book and then marched in a parade outside for parents and then in the building for each other.
  • Vampire Tag! At Boone Elementary, Students are celebrating Halloween during physical education class. They are playing Vampire Tag, Zombie Escape and other Halloween-inspired games that involve moderate-intensity physical activity.
  • Wax Museum: At Lincoln Elementary, different classes are celebrating in ways that connect to what they are learning. For example, the sixth-grade classes will create a “wax museum” on Halloween, where each student dresses up as a character from ancient Egypt (which they're studying) and will give a monologue on their historical character to museum visitors.
  • Hallow-green: At Stockton Elementary, first graders will participate in “Hallow-green” science and nature activities that will include a nature walk/Halloween parade, followed by Hallow-green arts and crafts and language arts activities using recycled materials.  Students will also do twisting and stretching yoga-style to eeeerie music and poems.

For more ideas on healthy classroom celebrations, check out our tip sheet!

What are your ideas for a healthy Halloween?