Future Reflections Fall 1991

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            HALLOWEEN FUN

                              by Darlene Middleton

Reprinted from Kid-Bits, October-November 1989; a publication of the Kentucky

School for the Blind.

     Children are often hesitant to play with their visually impaired peers

because of misunderstandings and fear of the unknown. However, it is important

that your preschoolers have as much contact with peers and the community as

possible. Halloween is a prime time for interaction with both. Following are

some activities that are easily adaptable to various age levels. You and your

preschooler might like to experience some of these together at home or, who

knows, you might decide to have a Halloween Party.

     With the growing concern about the hazards of trick-or-treating for candy,

some of these alternatives may be helpful. First, try making a Witch's Brew. To

do this you and your preschooler could have a scavenger hunt within your own

home or, better yet, call some friends over, divide up into groups (each

accompanied by an adult, of course), and have a scavenger hunt throughout the

neighborhood. This can substitute for trick-or-treating for candy. You can

choose what needs to go into the witch's brew. Try different feels; find

something smooth, rough, soft, furry, sticky, dry, wet, cold, warm, thin. Or you

might try smells; like perfume, smoke, medicine, disinfectant, or clean, rotten,

dirty, fresh, stinky. Or have a taste scavenger hunt; find something sweet,

sour, salty, bitter, spicy. Try food items that might feel wet, dry, sticky,

chewy, cold, soft, crumbly, hard, smooth.

     According to the children's ages, you might even attach some Halloween

names to the items, such as: sticky as a cobweb, hard as skeleton bones, warm or

wet as blood, thin as a hair, furry as a witch's cat, cold or gooey as pumpkin

innards. For younger children prearrange items for making witch's hot chocolate

or punch. Help your child find something powdery (cocoa), something cold (milk),

something grainy or rough (sugar). As he/she finds each item let him/her mix

them together for a treat.

     When you return from your scavenger hunt you might find that a ghost or

goblin has been to visit and left a ticking pumpkin in your house (this can be a

simple kitchen timer, an alarm clock, etc.) The child must find the pumpkin

before the bell rings or before the timer goes off. (It is best to limit this to

one room of the house.) If you have guests, blindfold each one and let each take

a turn at finding the pumpkin. You might give a prize to the one who finds it in

the shortest amount of time. But usually, finding the pumpkin alone is rewarding

enough-it could be filled with goodies!

     Next, you could play the haunted house game. Prearrange various items such

as bowls of spaghetti, water, flour, sand, cereal, syrup, and various items.

Blindfold each child and have him/her describe or identify what he/she is

feeling. The child that correctly guesses most items would be the winner. Or you

might literally walk through the haunted house. Let children step barefooted

into boxes of different textures. A recording of ghostly sounds can add to the

fun.

     By this time your little spook(s) should be ready for a treat. Give verbal

clues leading children to various locations in the house, until finally the

treat is located. A perfect treat is a ghost cake with eyes of fire. This is

particularly good for children with light perception.


Ghost Cake

Following the directions on the box, bake a yellow cake in a rectangular

pan. Save the 2 best egg shell halves. Frost the cake with 1 package of fluffy

white icing. Cut the cake to make curved head. Place 2 eggshells (round side

down) for eyes. Put 1 sugar cube in each half. Pour 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

over cube and light. Make a mouth of licorice string.

    
 Once the goblins settle down to enjoy the treat, they can play another game

of identifying pre-recorded spooky sounds; such as chains rattling, doors

slamming, squeaking doors, screaming, loud noises, water dripping. A

winding-down activity could be making up a story from the sounds they have just

heard. Each child could contribute to the story.

     And then there's always Stick-the-Nose-on-the Pumpkin. Have a pre-carved

pumpkin with eyes and mouth. Blindfold each child and let him stick a nose on

the pumpkin. Children could also talk about different kinds of Halloween faces:

happy, sad, funny, scary, surprised, and mean faces. Then, using inverted

styrofoam plates, get each child to draw the kind of face that he would like on

the plate. When you do this with a pencil it will make indentations so that the

child can feel the face on the plate. If he/she doesn't like it and wants to

make changes, this can usually be done. When it is to his/her liking, cut it out

just like a jack-o-lantern. He/she will then be able to feel the facial

features. These could be painted or colored with crayons and then carried home

by each child.

     Of course your little ones will want to dress up for their scavenger

hunting. Please remember:

* Keep costumes simple

* Do not obstruct vision or footwear

* Makeup on the face can provide even more tactual and olfactory experiences.
     Here are some helpful recipes reprinted from School Age Notes,

September/October 1987, Vol. VIII #1.

     Halloween Make-up. What's needed: soft shortening, cornstarch, food

coloring, tablespoon, fork, small jar. What to do:Mix one tablespoon shortening

with two tablespoons cornstarch. Make a smooth mixture. Add food coloring; mix

until color is even. Make as many different colors as desired. Store in small

jars.

     Orange peel teeth. What's needed: Oranges-cut into section small enough to

fit over teeth but large enough to stay inside lips when smiling. What to do: l.

Eat the oranges. 2. Tear away any pulp left on rind. The inside of skin will be

white. 3. Slit skin lengthwise down the center, leaving it attached at both

ends. 4. Form teeth by making short cross cuts on both sides. S. Put in mouth so

white side shows. 6. Grin scary and gruesome grins
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