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  • Judy Hirt-Manheimer

Judy’s Early Childhood Halloween Tool Kit

By Judy Hirt-Manheimer, founding director of the International Preschool at the Enchanted Garden

Halloween is both scary and fun for toddlers, twos, and preschool children. Our job as parents and grandparents is to help children feel safe and comfortable as they encounter the sights and sounds of #Halloween.

For young children, it is not always clear what is real and what is not. It can help to practice pretending. This can be done through dramatic play, art, books, music, and dance.

Here are some ideas and resources to help prepare your child for a happy and creative Halloween:

Dramatic Play

Speak in different voices (high, low, sweet, grumpy, spooky, animal sounds) and make funny faces to create pretend characters. Role play using costumes (hats, masks, wigs, dresses, and capes), puppets, and toys.

Art Projects #halloweencrafts are a fun way to decorate the house!

Decorating paper and real pumpkins are a great way to express creativity and explore different elements of Halloween – the scary, the sweet, the glamorous, and the funny. Pumpkin faces express emotions that you can talk about with your child. The carving of a real pumpkin is an opportunity for children to enjoy the process of working together with parents. By accepting a parent’s positive role in realizing their design ideas, children feel both appreciative and listened to. The thrill of creativity is experienced by all.

Books #halloweenbooks we love:

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, narrated by Elizabeth L. Dulin

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, narrated by Tammy Grimes with music by Mozart. It’s about a boy named Max who tames a scary band of monsters.

Winnie the Witch books emphasize playfulness and magic with humorous illustrations.

Corduroy’s Halloween is a book with flaps that children love to open and close.

Tomie dePaola’s My First Halloween is a board book that introduces very young children to all the elements of the holiday.

Five Little Pumpkins, a board book by Dan Yaccarino, is a finger play that can be read or sung.

Music #halloweenmusic & #halloweensongs we use in our curriculum:

Halloween Creatures Song: Numbers 1-10 by The Singing Walrus

Listen and dance to Danse Macabre, a spooky sounding orchestral piece by the French composer Camille Saint-Saens. Two versions we like:

Cooking Together (Recipe)

Isaac’s Enchanted Pumpkin Bread (from Chef Noah’s Cookbook)

A delicious #halloweenrecipe

2 ¾ cups sugar

4 eggs

2/3 cups oil

1 can pumpkin (16 oz.)

2/3 cups water

3 1/3 cups flower

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Mix oil, sugar & eggs

2. Add pumpkin and water

3. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon

4. Bake in two greased loaf pans at 350 degrees for 70 minutes.

Happy Halloween! From your friends at The Enchanted Garden

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