Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

Halloween

Sometime around Halloween, we plan one or two family Halloween storytimes outside of our usual storytime schedule.  We encourage kids to come dressed up, and we focus specifically on Halloween stories, songs, and crafts.  This year, we had one Saturday morning storytime done by another staff member.  I did a Tuesday evening storytime the Tuesday before Halloween.

Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)

humbug-witchStory: Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian.  I love to act this one out.  Or, better yet, read it while someone else acts it out.  Last year my older daughter was going to be the witch, but she got sick, so this was our second attempt.  I read the words (adapting items of clothing and foods to match what we had on hand) and she mimed the actions and said the magic words for the spells.  Dumping some really vile stuff into the witch’s cauldron is always good for a laugh – Coke, ketchup, and eggs were favorites.  Unfortunately, I had to clean it up later, and it totally smelled like vomit, but it was worth it.

Song: “The Costume Song“. The key to this song is to use the costumes you actually see. So if there are no witches and goblins, start with princesses and superheroes (or whatever you actually have). It’s nice to end with “All the kids and the grown ups,” so that everyone gets a turn, even if they didn’t come in costume.  One little girl came up at the end and was very upset that I didn’t say her costume.  She was Elsa, and I said princesses first, so I was a little bit confused.  She informed me that Elsa is a queen, not a princess, so I sang an extra verse for “queens” while the other kids were doing their craft.

ghost-huntStory: We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt by Susan Pearson.  We did this as a call-and-response.  I had everyone do a tap-clap-tap-clap rhythm while I read (the adults were pretty good at keeping it going) and then I chanted a line and they repeated it back.  I adjusted a few words to make it flow better, but the bulk of it is very repetitive, so they got the hang of it quickly and did it along with me.

little-old-ladyStory:  The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.  I knew that many of the kids would know this one already, but I was dying to try it as a semi act-out with props, so I did it anyway.  I read the words, but I brought in shoes, pants, shirt, etc. and I called up kids to hold up the props and do the clomping, wiggling, shaking bit.  I think the kids and parents like seeing kids come up, so this was a fun way to do it.  I did get less verbal participation than I usually get, but since we’d just done Ghost Hunt together, I didn’t feel too bad about that.

witch-casts-a-spellSong: Adaptation of The Witch Casts a Spell by Suzanne Williams (first done at Orange storytime last week).  This was a good chance to give parts to some of the smaller kids – I handed them the magnetic pieces and they brought them up as we sang.  There wasn’t a ton of participation – I was up there singing all by me onesies – but it was ok.  It was a big group, and it had been a pretty participatory event, and everyone was pretty much done.  I debated not doing it, but thought it would be nice to have something the little ones can do.  Especially because I kind of blew the craft.

Closing song: “Wave High”

Craft: I was going to do Tootsie Roll Pop ghosts, which I did at this event last year.  I figure it’s kind of like giving out candy, but not really.  And it’s so simple.  I ended up changing my mind and doing a paper plate ghost.  I did the kind where you make a face in the middle and cut the outside of the plate into a spiral.  I knew it was too hard – it’s mostly cutting – but I couldn’t find white crepe paper for the kind with the crepe paper.  Really, I don’t want to do a craft for the weekday evening Halloween storytime, because it’s too big a group.  The Saturday group can usually manage it.  Maybe next time we don’t list the craft in the program description – if we don’t list it but do it, that’s better than listing it but not doing it, right?

The Costume Song
Sung to the tune of “Frère Jacques”

All the witches and the goblins,
Stand on up, stand on up.
Turn around and take a bow,
Turn around and take a bow,
Then sit down. Then sit down.

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