This Halloween, Tips for a Fun, No-Candy Classroom Celebration

October 20, 2014

Halloween could mean a sugary seasonal celebration, but it doesn’t have to. Schools have learned to be creative about no-candy holidays, especially in Chicago. Hamilton Elementary is one school that truly does Halloween right, and they are participants in our Fit to Learn professional development program, too. We knew teachers there would have some suggestions for celebrations that were still fun and spooky but without all the sugar. As one teacher said, “Candy is hardly missed at our Halloween celebrations!” How do they do it?

Here’s what Hamilton teachers had to say:

  • A full day of fun: After touring the school and neighborhood in their costumes, students come back to the room to go through different stations. At one station children work in partners to wrap each other as mummies using toilet paper. At another station students create spooky Halloween crafts such as ghosts and bats. Students travel to a zombie body part station where they reach into boxes to feel zombie brains (spaghetti), eye balls (peeled grapes), hearts (Jell-O), fingers (Vienna sausages) and teeth (popcorn kernels). Other stations include bobbing for apples, reading Halloween books, and drawing or coloring Halloween pictures.

  • Get moving, get creative: “In pre-K, our kids need to be moving and working together. We do some large group activities to get our energy out (music and movement) and help us work on our awesome dance skills. Then, we split the class into small groups and play a variety of games and activities. This year it will involve decorating, Halloween BINGO, art (coloring bags and painting with pumpkins) and making a healthy Halloween colored snack (cheese and blackberry skewers). We will also read some fun and spooky Halloween stories together.”

  • Orange snack attack: “During our Halloween celebration, we will have healthy orange snacks such as carrots and oranges. We also will have a movement station where we dance to some spooky Halloween music.”

  • Sweet tunes: “​We celebrate with fun songs and activities about Halloween and harvest time. First graders have been learning a song/chant called ‘Miss White Had a Fright’ that is a good way to practice quarter and eighth notes.”

  • Fun incentives: “We plan a day of Halloween themed assignments. For example, in math students will complete a coding activity to design their own jack-o-lantern using code. Later in the day there will be a pumpkin-decorating activity, then the kids vote on their incentive: special video, dance party, extra free choice [time].”

  • Mummy time: “We like to mummify each other using recycled toilet paper and compete in relay races. We also like to ‘super mummify’ the parent volunteers to thank them for helping us celebrate. We like to dance to the Monster Mash, too.”

  • Crafty treats: “This year at our Halloween party, the class will make a spider hat. After that, we are going to have three game stations and the kids will rotate playing Pin the Spider on the Web, Pass the Pumpkin, and Witches Broom Limbo. After all the games are finished, we will end the party with healthy Halloween snacks: mummy juice boxes (the box is wrapped in crepe paper and has goggly eyes at the top), ghost bananas (half a banana with O’s for eyes and a mouth), pumpkin mandarins (mandarins peeled with a tiny stick of celery stuck in the middle for the stem) and cracker spiders (2 round crackers with 8 pretzel legs joined by cream cheese).”

Special thanks to Principal James Gray for collecting all this information for us!

Here are some more ideas from previous years’ healthy Halloween ideas at other schools.

Plus, a few more healthy snack ideas:

Enjoy!