How many of you have been personally asked to remove Halloween activities from your classroom? I was asked that once, 5 years ago to the day. One of my parents approached me, and explained that they didn't want their child exposed to any of our Halloween festivities. They also insisted that I exclude any and all Halloween lesson plans and activities, while their child was in attendance. As I am sure a lot of you can imagine, this made me feel terrible. I love to include all of my students in fun activities, especially during such an awesome holiday. Not only did I feel terrible about having this child miss out on the activities, but I also felt horrible for the rest of my students.
Halloween is such a fun time for our little ones. Kids love to get dressed up, and pretend that they are the person or thing that they're dressed up as. They enjoy going trick-or-treating, or to those famous "Trunk or Treat" parties. I just remember thinking, "How on earth could you ever do this to your child?" It broke my heart.
As the days went by, I taught my students about bugs. I taught them about the fall leaves... and left out Halloween completely. It was the craziest thing that I had ever done in my classroom. I had always included Halloween in my lesson plans, and classroom activities... EVERY SINGLE YEAR... all. except. for. one.
As you can imagine, Halloween did sneak its way into my classroom. My students started talking about Halloween. They talked about the costumes that they would be wearing. They talked about the Halloween parties that they would be going to... all. except. for. one. As my students were talking, their faces brightened. They were excited, all. except. for. one. I could tell that this student felt uncomfortable, because she knew that she wouldn't be dressing up for Halloween. She wouldn't be going to Halloween parties. She knew she wouldn't be getting any candy for Halloween. She soon kept herself away from the rest of the students, because she felt left out. During recess, she would always stay with me. She wouldn't play with the other kids. It was one of the saddest things that I had ever seen.
As Halloween approached, her parents came to me and explained that their daughter would not be attending school on Halloween. Halloween had come; my students, all. except. for. one., were in my classroom dressed up. The kids asked where this missing student was. It just about ate me alive as I tried to come up with the words to explain, why all. except. for. one. was in my classroom that day. I could see the disappointment in their faces. I could tell that they wanted her there with them. All I could say was, "Her parents wanted her to stay home, today." Then I said, "... but I am happy that you are all here with me." I was happy to see most of my students there, having a great time... but my mind was centered on this one little girl, who didn't get the chance to be apart of it. One little girl missed out on making a childhood memory that day, and it bothered me. In my opinion, every child has the right to build some wonderful Halloween memories. Why not this child too?
If you have ever been in my situation, how did you feel? And how did you handle it? Did you feel as terrible, as I did? If you haven't been in a similar situation before, what do you think you would've done? This has been something that I will always remember, each Halloween. I will always wonder if this little girl would ever get the chance to dress up for Halloween, or even go to any of these fun activities. I hope that she would. Wouldn't you?