Future Reflections Fall 1991
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