Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gettin' Crafty Halloween Post

I'm taking a break from my regular Gettin' Crafty posts, which will continue next week with Beaded Bracelets, to share two Halloween activities I put out for my after school crowd this week, as we count down to Halloween.

1. Create a Creature Mix-Up Game
This simple cutting activity came from Disney's Family Fun website. I printed out a pile of copies of the activity sheet and provided pairs of scissors, so the kids could cut them apart and make their own monsters. This wasn't our most popular craft, since there wasn't any coloring or gluing involved, but there weren't any copies left at the end of the afternoon, so I can only guess that kids used them for something!

The pdf for this activity is available here.

2. Halloween Costumes Dress-Up 
These paper dolls are from Activity Village. For these, I provided crayons, scissors, and glue stick, and left the kids to decide how they would dress their dolls. The clothing items have no tabs on them, which is why I provided the glue.I printed 40 copies, and only found one that wasn't cut apart at least partially, so it was  clearly popular. Unfortunately, I was in baby lap time during the height of  the after school rush and missed how the kids actually put their paper dolls together. Though we had kids as young as two trying to do this activity, the ideal age is preschool and up.

The pdf for this activity is available here.

I have two more Halloween story times and possible two or three more crafts, and then it's on to Thanksgiving!

Tween Scary Story Circle, 10/26


I planned this program back in August, and really had no idea what to expect, or whether there would even be any kind of interest in it. The plan was for kids to show up with their own scary stories in mind, and we would eat candy and go around the circle and share our stories. What happened wasn't exactly like that, but I'm still putting it in the success column because A. people actually showed up to an evening children's program for the first time ever and B. the kids who came (and their parents) seemed to have a wonderful time.

It didn't occur to me until just before the program that people wouldn't show up with their own scary stories. I had sort of counted on that to be the main meat of the program, and thought I could kick it off with just one or two quick stories. But I realized just before starting time that these people had come expecting me to read them scary stories, and that I had to deliver. So... I started with a story about poltergeists from one of Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories books. Then one of the moms recited a poem she had written, which was really good, and then I read Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, because I remembered how much my fifth grade group had liked it last year. At that point, three of the five kids in attendance told stories of their own, which was exactly the intention of the program. I then finished it out with one more quick spooky tale from another Alvin Schwartz book.

I also provided a witch's cauldron full of candy, from which the kids each took a few pieces before they had to go home.

I did wish that my stories were scarier. I could tell these were die-hard Halloween fans, who could stand a lot more spooky stuff than I could, and I think some of the kids were disappointed. But no one said as much, and everyone said a very sincere thank you when the hour was over. I kind of want to try this kind of  thing again, either with a different theme, or with greater preparation. I'd also do it after school next time, so there is more of a captive audience in the building, and a better chance for the kids to feed off each other's energy.

All in all, though, I had a good time, and I definitely think it's a promising sign of more school-age programming to come!

7 Picture Books About Halloween


The Biggest Pumpkin EverThe Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
Two mice unknowingly care for the same pumpkin in preparation for a contest.
Cranberry HalloweenCranberry Halloween by Wende and Harry Devlin
At Halloween, the residents of Cranberryport work together to restore a broken dock.
Big PumpkinBig Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
A witch wants pumpkin pie, but first she must get some help to pull her big pumpkin out of the ground!
Oliver and Amanda's Halloween (Easy-to-Read, Dial)Oliver and Amanda's Halloween by Jean van Leeuwen
Pig siblings Oliver and Amanda celebrate Halloween in another of their cozy easy readers.
A Fairy-Tale Fall (Disney Princess)A Fairy-Tale Fall by Apple Jordan
The Disney princesses and their friends celebrate Fall and Halloween in their own unique ways.
Duck & Goose Find a PumpkinDuck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
Duck and Goose want pumpkins, but they have trouble figuring out where to look.
The Witch Who Lives Down the HallThe Witch Who Lives Down the Hall by Donna Guthrie
A young boy is convinced his down-the-hall neighbor is a witch.
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