I think it was Chris Rock who said that Halloween is the one holiday that you can’t fake if you are a poor kid. A kid can lie their way through the other holidays (“I got a transformer for Christmas — it’s at home!”) but a child can’t really fake a costume.
At my school there is a uniform policy. It means that kids must wear white on top and dark on the bottom. It evens the playing field. Halloween is one of the few days they can get out of uniform. I feel for the kids who can’t dress up, although some might not dress up for religious reasons. I saw some kids with orange shirts and that was a good compromise. One kid from a big family was still in uniform yesterday at school and I’m sure the family can’t afford to get every child a costume.
There were a couple classes where the teacher took away the party due to bad classroom behavior (they had to earn it, but they didn’t). I felt really bad for those kids. They looked so depressed walking in the hallway and seeing all the other kids dressed up. I’m hoping those classrooms can earn a Thanksgiving party…
Aside from the costume, Halloween is a candy holiday. Other celebrations throughout the year can be geared away from junky snacks, but Halloween puts teachers in a tricky spot. I gave out pumpkin stickers, Halloween-themed pencils and Halloween-themed pencil erasers. They were a hit with my students. What was under my control was not candy-related.
After seeing the sad kids from the couple classrooms who didn’t “earn” a party, I don’t think it’s appropriate to deny them the party especially if the whole school is dressing up and each classroom is having some kind of event. It seems mean considering my school’s general attitude towards Halloween. Doing a Halloween-themed craft is a great way to make the holiday less about getting as much candy as possible. Teachers, how do you manage Halloween? How does your school handle it?
The internal debate I had was whether or not to let my son go trick or treating. We went last year but my son was so little that it was just cool to carry a plastic pumpkin and have people drop things into it. Now that he knows and remembers things, he will ask to eat the candy right away. Even if we take the goodies away overnight, he will ask us where they went.
I was leaning towards not doing it, but my husband wants to go. We really had fun going around the neighborhood last year: I like the community feel. It’s always freezing on Halloween though. But we’re going to give it a shot. Wish us well — we’re sure to have a tantrum or two on our hands! I’ll comment on Sunday night about what ended up transpiring. What are you doing for Halloween, if anything?