Teachers can put an educational spin on Halloween by having the students dress up as a character from their favorite book for a school-wide parade.
Kids love the idea of Halloween: the scariness, the dressing up, the candy. However, candy and goblins are not always consistent with primary school policies. Teachers can capitalize on the fun of the holiday without sacrificing policy by holding a book character parade. Students and teachers dress up as characters from their favorite books and parade around the school showing off their costumes to parents and friends.
When planning a book character parade teachers and school officials first need to decide on the parameters of the event. Who is going to participate, what they have to do, and what types of costumes aren’t allowed all need to be determined in order for the parade to run smoothly. Parade planners also need to choose a date and time and decide who will be invited to view the parade.
Common Character Parade Guidelines:
- Students must come in costume to participate in the parade.
- No bloody or scary costumes.
- No weapons.
- No full face masks.
- Kids must be able to put their costumes on themselves.
- Students must be in good standing in their classrooms to participate.
After the guidelines have been established the next step in planning the Halloween book parade is to inform the teachers so they can prepare the students. Teachers can introduce the event by dressing up in costume to motivate the kids and explain how the parade will work. Teachers can add a column for “favorite character” to their reading logs to help the students start to think about which characters they like and why. Students can also begin to identify and analyze storybook characters during shared and guided reading time.
About a month before the parade takes place letters should be sent home to all of the parents and guardians. The letter should outline the students’ assignment and the parade guidelines and provide the parents with examples of character costumes. A press release is sent out and the community is also invited to come to the Halloween book character parade.
As the date gets closer teachers can begin to talk to their classes about what a parade is and read parade themed books, such as And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss [Random House, 1964], to the them. One week before the parade, teachers can send home a form asking students and parents to list which character they will be dressing up as to make sure there is no confusion about what is expected. The teachers and principals also chose their character costumes and begin to work on their outfits.
On the day of the parade the students get ready and line up in their classrooms. Each teacher takes their class to the starting point and line up behind the principal. The principal leads the students along the parade route while marching music plays and the parents wave to and take pictures of the kids. After the parade the students return to their classroom in costume to take turns explaining to their classmates who they dressed up as and why.
A book character Halloween parade blends together the fun and excitement of dressing up on Halloween with a shared educational learning experience and is a great holiday activity for elementary schools.