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Tuesday
Oct162012

literature day

I can vividly remember back when I was in kindergarten, walking through the classrooms of my elementary school dressed in my Halloween costume. Halloween was pretty much the highlight of my life at the age of 5, and I remember snaking around the desks as we moved from one classroom to the next, with the older kids clapping.

I had no idea until I had kids of my own, that many schools don't allow costumes on Halloween anymore. At the school we used to attend, Halloween was just a regular day at school. No costumes, no parties, no special treats or games. 

Last year we switched to a new charter school in our area, and they have a great way of celebrating Halloween. They call it "Literature Day" and they have the kids dress up as a character from a book they are reading. The teachers dress up as well and rotate into each others classrooms throughout the day to read the book they have chosen. 

In the morning, they have a serpentine parade where all the kids line up outside and every class gets to walk around and show off their costumes while holding up their book. My favorite part was how ALL the kids were involved, from the cute little kindergarteners to the big eighth graders, they high-fived each other and cheered as each class walked by. Most of the costumes were homemade, pulled together from things around the house, and it felt so much nicer to me than the usual store bought character costumes you see on Halloween.

Bee wanted to be Pippi Longstocking. We adore the illustrations in Lauren Child's edition. We happened to have a striped shirt and some striped tights and I cut a few squares of fabric and pinned them to her jumper for patches. A stuffed monkey made a perfect Mr. Nilsson, Pippi's pet monkey. 

The hair is really what makes Pippi unique. We took a wire hanger and bent it straight, then parted her hair in the middle and braided each side around the wire hanger. (It's a little awkward to work around the wire but you'll get the hang of it.) Secure with rubber bands and cut any excess wire at the ends. Then bend the wire up on each side so the braids curl up. Since Bee's hair is brown you couldn't really see the wire hanger at all. We drew some freckles on her cheeks with brown eyeliner.

C decided to go as Harry Potter since we were right in the middle of Book 1 last Halloween. Luckily his cousin had a costume already and all we had to provide was the shirt. (No weapons are allowed at school, but I guess wands don't count?)

Do schools around the country still celebrate Halloween? I am wondering this "no costumes at school" rule is just in Southern California? I understand that not every holiday needs to be celebrated in school, but I think this is a great way to celebrate reading and Halloween at the same time. 

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Reader Comments (29)

My sons preschool doesn't celebrate. Phew. My daughter in third grade does a small parade with costumes and my fourth grader just has a small classroom party and kids can choose to dress up. What I love about our school is there are a few different projects depending on gade level that do a similar literature dess up. My oldest son was Charles Lindbergh last year.

10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSascha

cute! i was pippi for halloween once......about 25 yrs ago! :)

10.31.2012 | Unregistered Commenterkv barn

My son's school in Northern California has a costume parade, but costumes are only worn during that portion of the day. I love the literature idea.
I was really only commenting to say that I've been reading your blog for years and I cannot get over how big 'C' looks in his picture! Such a big kid now.

11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary

We live in OC and we cant do costumes or parties.

11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPolly

WHat a great idea! Such a fantastic way to promote interest in reading and sharing favourite books. All around a brilliant twist on Halloween in schools.

I was Pippy Longstocking for a Halloween party in university! I think the wire in my hair poked a few people on the crowded dancefloor of the club we went to!! lol!

11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLina

Aw no dressing up at all? I think it's kind of sad and extreme. Well in Newport-Mesa District (nearby), the kids still dress up and we have a morning parade that involves the entire school and parents too. It's such a bonding experience as the teachers and administrators dress up too, often in theme.

11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Whan an great idea! I´m a teacher (in Sweden) and I think I will steal that idea next Halloween. I haven´t seen that version of Pippi here in Sweden but I hope I will! Cute costume!

//Petra

11.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPetra

In Australia, we have Book Week! The kids do a parade where everyone, including the teachers dress up as their favourite book character. We have done Angelina Ballerina, Pippi Longstocking, Girl Rocks, Billy the Punk etc etc. Some of the costumes are fantastic - books themselves, grandfather clocks. It really is great fun for everyone.

02.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess

I wish my daughter's school did this!

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