Teaching yoga to kids at Halloween time is a wonderful and super FUN opportunity to stretch the imaginations of the children in our classes. Halloween adventure stories make for a perfect themed lesson plan. Here is a basic story I've used in the past with preschool to first graders:
Note: Set the ambience by dimming the lights and placing a carved pumpkin in the center of the circle with a battery operated candle in it. Halloween-themed music with no vocals is nice too – just make sure it's not too scary! You can find lots of themed music CDs this time of year for as little as $1 at places like Wal-Mart or Rite-Aid.
Halloween Night…. What are you being for Halloween this year? Don't say it out loud. Think about how you can create a yoga pose to demonstrate who you are goinng to be. Take your time. Let's take turns showing our pose and everyone else can guess what you are going to be. (Note: Once the pose is correctly identified, have the entire class try out the new pose.)
Let’s go for a walk around our neighborhood and stop at each house to see if they’ll give us a trick or a treat! WALKING, WALKING SONG What do we see? TREE, MOON, STAR
Up in that tree is a BLACK CAT…hisssss…meow! We keeping walking and come to a BRIDGE – let’s cross! On the other side of the bridge are four scary-looking creatures! The first one is a LION (Lion’s Breath) EVIL WITCH, SPIDER, GHOST The creatures all start giggling and soon you realize that they are actually your friends dressed up their Halloween costumes! They want you to come with them to a Halloween party – So you all hop on THE BUS and go! (WHEELS ON THE BUS SONG w/movements around the room)
The bus stops and you all get off and see a spooky, old creaky GATE. You open the gate…creaaaaaeeeaaaK and walk through it into a dark yard with lots of viny TREES everywhere. Up ahead is a sign that say’s ‘Take the BOAT across the river to the party!’ and you notice that there are indeed a bunch of boats lined up along the bank of the river. So you get in and paddle your BOAT across. (While holding boat pose, sing the orginal Row Your Boat song or use ChildLight Yoga's version from the I Grow With Yoga CD.)
As you and your friends come to the other side, you see that you have arrived at a wonderful party. There is a swarm of happy people that come down to greet you when you park your canoe, yelling ‘Happy Halloween!!!!!’
For some other awesome Halloween yoga ideas, please read The Prana Mama's related post titled, Halloween Yoga: Yoga in Disguise and Yoga in My School's post highlighting some great SPIDER pose variations, perfect for this age group.
The Candy Dilemma Due to allergies and family's personal preferences, I skip handing out candy at yoga class and instead give out treat trinkets such as sticky pretend spiders and the like. You can get these really inexpensively at places like Oriental Trading Company online. Outside of class, Halloween can be a time where overindulgence is common. Candy and sweets are fine once in a while, but at our house, we often have lots left over after trick or treat, and that isn't healthy for any of us. Recently I just read a good article in Raising Maine about how to handle the influx of candy at halloween. Another idea that we've used is to decide which candies are our favorites and give the rest away (a great lesson in aparigraha, or non-attachment and bramacharya, or self-control/moderation). I like this idea better than just throwing it away, which is wasteful. We put the candy in recycled containers, such as yogurt tubs, and bring it to our service providers like the local bank, post office, etc. so that they can give it away as they wish…and make someone's day a little sweeter. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!