Halloween brings out all sorts of feelings for elementary school teachers. Just like our students, some of us love it while others would rather not participate. I am definitely in the group of teachers who love it, even if it is tons of work.
It seems as though Santa Cruz is a mecca for creative teachers. Seriously, the teachers I have worked with in our city are amazing artists, musicians, and, most-importantly, costume makers. These super crafters must start preparing, sewing, gluing their costumes at least a month before Halloween.
Frankly, it is intimidating.
Every year I start fretting about mid-September. What am I going to be? How will I make my costume? God forbid that I go out and buy something! Oh no. I could not do that for fear that I would be the laughing stock of school for years to come. Remember when Ms. French wore that STORE BOUGHT clown costume?
Not only do our teachers make their own costumes, but they’re incredibly talented at putting together last-minute costumes for children who either forgot or cannot afford one. Every year there are a few students who show up sans costume and these colleagues of mine are able to turn these kids into lions, bats, witches, and cats.
De Laveaga Elementary School has a costume “shop” where volunteers spend the morning of Halloween dressing up kids, face painting, and hair doing. Not just that, but the students get to keep the costumes for trick or treating. The concept for this shop came years before I did. Some parent goes out to the community and asks for donations. Businesses and families alike generously donate away.
Amazingly, by late morning all six hundred plus students, teachers and staff are dressed and ready for our parade. The energy is so high you can feel it. I swear, I think my students must eat candy corn cereal and drink Coke for breakfast because they’re so amped up by eight am. (Of course they’re EARLY on Halloween.) This year we will be doing Halloween crafts, stories and activities before we march out to the parade.
In years past as we march proudly around our playground, wave and clap, I’m always taken aback by the sheer amount of parents who are in costume as well. It is a site not to be missed.
This year I’ll be falling back on old faithful: Queen Sheila.
I cannot create the way my fellow teachers do, but I can sit back and enjoy their works of art.
Happy Hallowe’en everyone.