A belated Halloween

I fell behind in my storytime posting so I am just now getting around to adding my Halloween week post.  In the past I have somewhat avoided Halloween.  Tradition at our library is that kids wear their costumes the week of or the week before Halloween and I always go along with that (parents want to get the miles out of those outfits!) but I have skirted the Halloween books and done themes about dressing up, birthdays, parties, and friendly monsters.  The birthday party year was fun as the week before I had all of the parents address envelopes to their house (we did a mail theme so it fit well) and then I mailed out 'invitations' to our storytime and threw in some stickers for the kids.

This year I just embraced the theme.  I warned the parents ahead of time that the theme would be Halloween and we would be reading not too scary stories.  In the past we have had a few families who opposed the Halloween theme, but that does not seem to be an issue recently.  However, I still like to give them a head up, plus remind them that the kids get to come in costume.  So, our letter of the day was H for Halloween.

The first book that we read was Snappy Little Halloween by Dugald Steer.  This is a cute pop-up book that features some not very scary characters that kids see a lot of in October.  There is a witch, a black cat, a bat, a dancing skeleton, and a vampire whose pants fell down among others.  Each page has a big pop out and a little rhyme about the character featured on that page.  The kids enjoyed telling me who they saw on each page and watching the character 'dance' around as I moved the pages a little.

Our second book was Susan Hood's Just say boo!  This is a new book and I knew it would be great for storytime when it came in.  It features a group of kids who are out trick-or-treating and they get scared by various things.  But, each time they are scared they yell 'Boo!' and discover that what was scaring them really wasn't that scary.  Some things they encounters are the wind, wet leaves, a spider, and a woman in a skeleton costume.  I love the end of this book because it shows a baby being scared by kids in dinosaur costumes and the kids are instructed to teach the baby to say 'Boo!'

The flannel story we used was based on Chocolate chip ghost by Meighan Peifer.  My coworker actually made her own version that I borrowed.  Essentially, the story is that in order to stay white little ghosts have to keep to a strict diet of white food, i.e. milk, cauliflower, and vanilla icecream.  But, one day, the ghost family runs out of their special white food and mommy ghost has to go to the store.  She leaves her little ghosts with the instructions to not eat anything while she is gone.  But, those poor, hungry little ghosts just can't help themselves.  As they eat different fruits and vegetables they turn different colors to match the food.  I showed the kids the food and they told me first what it was and then what color the ghost would turn.  The last ghost ate a chocolate chip cookie and turned brown with spots!  Mommy ghost came home and fed the ghosts their special food and they returned to white.  Although, the chocolate chip ghost had to have extra milk, because milk goes so well with cookies!

Another fun book that you can use with a Halloween theme is Shake d'em Halloween bones by W. Nikola-Lisa.  This is a fun book for the older crowd and I used it for a story time that I did at my daughter's pre-school.  I give all of the kids shaker eggs before we start because it has a refrain through the song about shaking d'em Halloween bones.  They really mean dance as the story is about a Halloween party that features fairytale characters.  It is a fun book and has a great beat.  I used this one the year we did a party theme for Halloween.

There are lots of great songs for a monster or Halloween theme.  The Learning Groove has We are monsters that has the kids stomp, clap, shake, like monsters.  In addition they get to do a lot of growling.

I pulled out Andrew Gold's Monster mash and gave all the kids scarves to dance around with.  I had to direct them some with their scarves.  We waved them around over our heads, up and down, left and right, and tried to do a little 'mashing.'

Laurie Berkner has a fun song called the Monster boogie.  This is a fun song with lots of dancing while also acting like a big scary monster.  And, of course, this song ends with a big ROAR!

Instead of a craft I sent all of the kids on a ghost hunt in the library.  I got the idea from Storytime ABC's. Kay, at Storytime ABC's, came up with a cute rhyme to show that scary things are not always what they seem and demonstrated this by having a 'ghost' which was a lollipop in disguise.  So, instead of a craft all of the kids searched the library for a lollipop ghost and a pack of fruit snacks with a ghost taped to it.

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