Halloween can be scary. Children need to learn how to deal with scary things. My own child asked to do activities about scary things, I think to help her cope with the new fear of monsters in her room. If we present scary things as not so scary and how to deal with the fear, Halloween can be a helpful learning experience.
You must respect the traditions and beliefs of the families in your class. If you are limited for whatever the reason, you can still find lots of fall related activities. Pumpkins, bats, spiders, skeletons, and scare crows are not related to Halloween alone. There are a great number of things you can do with out ever relating it to Halloween.
In regards to candy and parties. Any time you disrupt your normal schedule, children will seem to be going crazy. My "parties" are a normal day, with the exception of snack which a parent brings in. I may use food in an activity, but there is a goal. There are a number of healthy treats out there now that are not candy. Pretzels and fruit snacks are just as fun to sort, graph and, make patterns with.
If you chose to have some Halloween fun here are some ideas.
Halloween Poems or finger plays
5 Little Pumpkins
Here is a cute printable to go along with the poem.
Here is a cute story to tell the kids that turns a paper into a jack-o-lantern.
Here is a cute ghost story. Atleast I think so, but when I tried it with kindergarteners, they weren't interested. Maybe just for preschoolers.
Here are some cute monster activities.
Matching colors ghost file folder game
Pumpkin decorating- stickers, paint, or like Teach preschool does it, with playdo and magnets and cans.
Here you'll find a memory game, tic tac toe, and paper dress up dolls along with many other cute stuff
These are so cute. You could use them for counters or sorting and graphing.
Why not make a Jack-O-Lantern wipe off board like No Time for Flashcards. This will work great with those new wipe off crayons I found on clearance for $1.50.
Here is a cute counting activity
I like the cute pumpkin book the kids can make. It talks about feelings, and the kids draw the faces. Halloween is a great time to talk about feelings.
I made a big book called Jack-O-Happy, similar to the one above.
Here is a cute pumpkin pie type recipe. Pumpkin can be a strong flavor and some kids don't like it, but what about orange pudding. And I love the simple jack-o-lantern cups.
Here is another cute snack or dinner.
Here are some cute hand monsters.
Here are some tubes made into mummys.
Here are some other cute crafts.
5 Little Ghosts or pumpkins sitting on the fence- cut rectangles so kids can make a fence, then let kids stamp pumpkins using cookie cutters on the fence. They have to count to 5.
Torn paper pumpkins- kids ripe paper using fine motor skills, then glue them on paper to form a pumpkin
One of my favorites. I copied the pages then laminated them to make a sequencing game.
Easy reader and counter.Other books not pictured
The Stubborn Pumpkin
Reenact the Stubborn Pumpkin with Halloween characters. We did this every year as a play for our families. The kids love it. I used hats I found on clearance or made. I have a pumpkin, farmer, ghost, scary lady (Frankenstein's bride hair), monster, bat, cat, witch, spider, scare crow, and a skeleton, but you could use anything. After Halloween, costumes can be cheap so think about it for next year.
Pounding the pumpkin- Use golf tees (I've seen colored ones in the Halloween section) to hammer into pumpkin, don't forget the goggles for safety. Good for hand/ eye coordination. And the kids love it. They use lots of language describing the smell and feel of the pumpkin.
Here you'll find a neat book about bones and how to use your own body to show where your bones are.
Here you'll find a cute printable book.
If you are in charge of planning a party, you'll find some ideas here