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.