Halloween is celebrated each year on October 31st and is a favourite day for children and adults alike! Although many children focus on the fun of trick-or-treating, there are many other ways to celebrate this holiday that do not involve eating a lot of sugary candy. It’s best to avoid offering or allowing these types of treats in a childcare setting as children have so much exposure outside of their childcare day. These treats do not provide nutrients and are strongly linked to the development of dental caries (cavities).
How did Halloween start?
Halloween started as a Celtic festival in parts of Scotland, Wales and Ireland when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Hundreds of years ago, November 1st was designated as All Saints Day and so the night before was known as All Hallows Eve which eventually became known as Halloween.
Here are some activity ideas to celebrate Halloween:
• Visit a pumpkin patch. Teach children how pumpkins grow along vines on the ground creating colourful orange fields. If there is no pumpkin patch in your area, consider making your own in your outdoor space, adding hay bales or a scarecrow. Let children choose their own pumpkin to take home.
• Play with pumpkins. Carving jack-o-lanterns is as synonymous with Halloween as costumes. Large pumpkins can be hollowed out, carved with faces or other creative patterns and then lit from within with candles (electric ones are preferred). Preschoolers should not use knives for carving, instead they can make jack-o-lantern art with construction paper or paint small pumpkins, but having real jack-o-lanterns for them to see is a great way to decorate.
• Get moving! Try Pumpkin Bowling or have a Halloween freeze dance party to fun theme songs like the Monster Mash.
• Make fun Halloween snacks you can feel good about serving. Try our Cat Skeleton veggie platter or make a jack-o-lantern quesadilla by cutting out a face from the whole grain tortilla before cooking. Cook and bake with pumpkin to teach children that pumpkins are not just for carving but a yummy local vegetable we can eat in so many ways.
• Read a book about Halloween. Spooky Pooky by Sandra Boynton is a story about deciding on what costume to wear.