From KRP’s Ultimate Holiday Activity Guide…
Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, is an ancient celebration that can be traced to the early Catholic Church and “All Saints Day,” an observance in honor of saints. However, in the 5th century B.C., in Celtic Ireland, people began celebrating All Saints Day as the Celtic New Year and developed customs designed to ward off spirits who came back to Earth that day looking for living bodies to possess.
Halloween was brought to America in the 1840s by Irish immigrants fleeing their country’s potato famine. Although the belief in spirit possession had waned, many of the customs that had developed over the years were still being observed. One custom — dressing up like ghosts and goblins and “begging” for candy and gifts — remains a popular Halloween tradition today.
•Have students search the newspaper for ads with a Halloween theme. Have them cut out pictures and graphics that they think best symbolizes this age-old holiday. They can use their cutouts to make a poster or bulletin board display.
•Ask students to talk about Halloween safety. Then ask them to create a newspaper ad to encourage trick-or-treaters to be careful this year.
•Have students search the newspaper for a real or fictitious character to dress up as this year. Ask each to describe in writing or draw the costume he or she would wear.