Trick or treat?
Over recent years, Halloween has become big business, with sales of costumes and sweets soaring in the preceding weeks. Pre-Covid, almost half a billion dollars was spent in the USA on outfits for pets alone! This is a far cry from the spiritual celebration whose origin was to mark remembrance of the dead, be they saints, martyrs or faithful followers of the Christian religion.
Mexican people set aside the 1st and 2nd November as Día de los Muertos “The Day of the Dead”. This is a time when families choose to celebrate rather than mourn. People find ways to maintain a connection with their dearly departed, including holding picnics at gravesites, telling anecdotes, laughing and joking, smiling and crying. They clean graves and decorate them using Flor de Muerto (‘Flower of Dead’), vibrant orange marigolds. The strong fragrance of the flowers is also thought to help guide souls from the cemetery back to the homes of their families.
As a class teacher, I always enjoyed arranging themed book corners to commemorate different events, festivals, seasons and curriculum foci. In my Spooky book corner, you would find amongst many others, Jan Pienkowski’s “Haunted House”, a ground-breaking, iconic pop-up book which I was lucky enough to have received as a child for my ‘Christmas Day Read’ (it was so great to have a mum who was a teacher with her eye on the latest and greatest books!)
- Spooky Poems – Jennifer Curry (compiled by)
- Sucked In – Paul Jennings, Terry Denton
- The Mini Monster Pop-Up Box – Skip Skwarek, Compass
Art & Craft Idea
Create spooky silhouettes against a marbled background as a decorative picture or greetings card.
- Create your marbled background using marbling inks, tray and comb. Or, if marbling is not an option, a good alternative is chalk pastels blended on black paper. Use a fixative, e.g. hairspray, to avoid smudging the chalks onto the black paper.
- Using black paper, create different spooky silhouettes. You could include ghosts, haunted house, a witch on a broom, or some spooky lettering! For more delicate images, use a black pen to create the silhouette.
- Alternatively, you could provide stencils, templates or pre-cut shapes to create the silhouettes.
- Black card/paper
- Marbling inks, tray, comb or chalk pastels
- Black pen e.g. permanent marker
A Necklace of Raindrops/The Kingdom Under the Sea – Joan Aiken, Jan Pienkowski provides great examples of silhouettes against marbled backgrounds.
Many thanks to Jayne Gilbert, an ex-primary school teacher, for sharing her ideas within this blog.