Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Halloween – A Trick or a Treat?

Carol Duffy


Tuesday 30 October 2018

Coming so soon after the settling in period, for many children Halloween is often a mixed bag of tricks and treats. On the one hand it can be a treat, a time of great excitement negotiating the emotions of scary and funny, the concepts of real and pretend, and the delights of being out in the dark. All of this wrapped up in the fun of dress up, and parties with fun food and games. On the other hand, it can often be a tricky time for early years settings. We all know some children (and indeed adults) who revel in this excitement and those who recoil with fright any time a mask or spider appears. Getting the balance right among the mixed ages and the mixed emotions of the children in your care takes thought and care. You may also have families who don’t celebrate Halloween at all, while others embrace it fully with dress up, fireworks, bonfires etc.

Over the years I have seen many examples of Halloween celebrations, from the simple understated Halloween party to the all-embracing decorated dress up of people and place. I am reminded of a setting a few years ago who held a night session of tales and stories. The thrill of going to playgroup in the dark of night offered an exciting experience. The fairy lights and decorations that adorned the building gave a magical air of mystery to the setting and was fondly remembered by the children and families long after the event.

Other settings have decided that their outside space offers the perfect place for a community bonfire where the families of those attending can experience a magical Halloween experience. Even the youngest of children can feel safe and secure to experience the magic of flame lit shadows and bursts of firework light while their older siblings sing their Halloween songs and share their Halloween treats.

However, many of the Halloween parties held in early years centres happen prior to Halloween night as many children are on mid-term break for Halloween itself. Do you allow time on their return to chat about Halloween and their experience of it? Do you collect their words, drawings, images?

As the children tell you what they saw, and what they did, a rich tapestry of stories and images will unfold. The diversity of experiences will create a true picture of what Halloween means for them. It can be different for every family. Collecting these stories, images, and drawings in your group journal or on a poster page can provide a real example of identity and belonging as each child’s experience, and emotions are acknowledged and validated.

The mixed bag of seasonal tricks and treats can continue as Autumn falls at our feet and offers us a harvest of vivid colours, crunching sounds, changing flora, fauna, changing weather and hibernating animals. The trick for us educators is in making such events relevant to the children and seeing it from their perspective and experience. The treat is in the funds of knowledge they will share with us. For when children are connected to nature’s bounty they see things in their own unique way. They help us to see the world through their eyes renewing us with their sense of wonder and awe.


Carol Duffy (MA in Early Years Education) is an Early Childhood Specialist with Early Childhood Ireland. She has worked in the sector for over thirty five years, as an early year’s educator, lecturer, and mentor. She is passionate about young children’s access to nature and outdoor play. She is also an advocate for meaningful observation and documentation that motivates educators and showcases children’s lives, loves, and learning. 

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Workforce(1) Gardening(1) risk(2) First 5 strategy(1) Arlene Forster(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) AsIAm(1) Role play(1) Academic Skills(1) Creative(1) emotions(2) Participation(1) respect(5) Story(1) Syria(1) Teamwork(1) Laughter(1) Yoga(1) Funding(1) Interaction(1) Self-Esteem(1) Professionalisation(4) Spiders(1) supportive environments(2) Brain(1) Exercise(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) curriculum(5) Recycling(2) reading(5) routine(2) Mealtimes(1) Engagement(1) planning(1) Wilenski(1) Competent(1) Games(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Child mental health(1) Settling in(4) Challenges(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Health(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Quality(4) Leargas(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Childhood(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Gratitude(1) bonds(1) conversations(1) Aistear(108) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Independence(1) Thinking(1) Shapes(1) Upcycling(1) HR(1) stories(2) educarer(1) Breathing(2) education(2) Trick or treat(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Horizon 2020(1) Iceland(1) Recycle(1) Budget 2018(1) ECCE(6) SPICE Framework(1) Fantasy play(1) Sleep(1) grandchild(1) Relaxation(1) Positivity(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Empathy(1) role playing(1) Employee(1) Children's Research Network(1) Names(1) Sociodramatic play(1) CIT(1) child-centred approach(1) Care-giving routines(1) Xbox(1) Time Out(1) Reggio(1) journey(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Primary School(2) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Belonging(3) Affordability(1) Diversity(1) European Project(1) Winter(1) Meal time(1) Albert Einstein(1) Mantra(1) Self Help Skills(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Reflective Practice(1) Wesco(1) Graduation(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Family(1) Appreciation(1) Treasure Chest(1) development(8) Bereavement(1) Sustainability(3) play stories(1) Easter(1) Leadership(1) Facebook(1) Ceremony(1) Early Years(1) Blocks(1) Pobal(1) Penguins(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Smiles(1) Community involvement(1) Well-Being(8) Socioemotional development(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Party(1) interacting(2) Meet the Members(1) Mindfulness(2) Reggio Children Network(1) Valentine's Day(3) Annual Conference 2019(1) Arithmetic(1) Iraq(1) School Age Childcare(1) toddlers(3) Mo Scéal(1) Jenga(1) DCYA(4) Titles(1) Builders(1) curiosity(3) Síolta(105) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Maria Montessori(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) TRAP(1) Traffic Lights(1) worries(1) Magnavacchi(1) Support(1) baby room(1) Santa(2) Budget 2019(2) Obesity(1) Norway(2) UD(1) Glitter(2) Family wall(1) Awards 2019(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Exclusion(1) Grief(1) Weather(1) Plants(1) Fabric(1) Engineering(2) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Administrative Burden(1) Flowers(1) Cognitive development(1) National Awards 2019(1) Kilkenny(1) RIE philosphy(1) Japan(1) Communications(1) Drawing(2) Scéalta Blog(87) Liz Kerrins(1) outdoor space(3) Stress(2) PIP(1) Leprechauns(1) Death(1) Investment(2) Creativity(4) budget(1) Time(1) Nutrition(1) Montessori(2) Wrapping paper(1) risk assessment(1) UNCRC(1) animals(2) Learning Story(1) environments(1) Maths(4) food(1) dublin(2) Imagination(3) learning(15) Mathematicians(1) Learning Story Awards(1) dining(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Mark Twain(1) collaboration(1) Italy(1) Policy(2) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Wonder(1) Supernanny(1) Exploring(1) Thank you(1) Intention(1) pets(1) dining experiences(1) Decision Making(1) Margy Whalley(1) Afghanistan(1) Identity(5) Queues(1) Routines(1) Patterns(1) Confident(1) Maths Week(1) Halloween(2) Vertical grouping(1) Biting(1) Mental Health(3) Consent(1) Self-regulation(1) refugees(1) early childhood educator(1) EECERA 2016(1) Little Buddies(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Running(1) Event Guide(1) Awards(2) Reggio Emilia(1) Educators(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) ears(1) Buddy Bench(1) Qualifications(1) research(6) Children's Rights(2) Research Seminar(1) College(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Environment(2) Interests(1) INTO(1) risky play(2) Social Skills(1) listen(1) Nonverbal(1) Touch(1) books(4) Change(1) Love(2) Visitors(1) communication(4) Laugh(1) Snacks(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Autism(3) UN(1) Universal Design(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Snakes(1) Staff Motivation(1) Book Club(2) maternity health(1) Kerry(1) GDPR(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) listening(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Research and Professional Learning(1) christmas(8) National Holiday(1) Performing(1) memories(1) Map(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) parents(5) purpose(1) Line-ups(1) dogs(1) Degree(1) ICBN(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Potential(1) Plastic(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Wendy Lee(2) Research Conference 2019(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Workplace well-being(1) Arts(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Maynooth(1) Vietnam(1) Treasure(1) Painting(1) Favouritism(1) Giraffe(2) Rituals(1) RTE Investigates(1) Body Language(1) NCCA(2) experience(1) Behaviour(3) Prexit(1) Kids Own(1) Music(3) Capable(1) ERASMUS+(3) Learning journals(1) Celebrate(1) preschool(2) TOY Programme(1) play(30) Craft(1) Eritrea(1) Through the looking glass(1) Impact(1) overhear(1) Human Resources(1) Limerick(1) San Minia(1) linc(1) Interactions(2) early years research(1) Mount Everest(1) Maternity Leave(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) University(1) emotional environment(1) San Miniato(4) Technology(2) Workplace Relations(3) Communicating(1) Children(1) meals(3) Design(1) MECPI(1) under 3's(3) Decisions(1) outdoor play(6) Sport(1) Loss(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Sustainable(1) Engineers Week(2) St. Patrick's Day(1) EM Standing(1) Oireachtas(1) feisty(1) Masterclass(2) Nuturing interactions(1) Exit interview(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) science week(2) Scents(1) Adoption(1) Siolta blog(2) Lego(2) ECEC(1) Trade union(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Magda Gerber(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) MA(1) mushrooms(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Budget 2020(1) Orla Kenny(1) Mayo(1) Sequins(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Early Years Educators(2) babies(7) The Jelly King(1) Celebrations(4) value(1) community(5) Exploring and Thinking(1) Window(1) Inspirational(2) science(3) Home Corner(1) Thanks(1) friendships(1) eating(1) Culture(2) Trade Unions(1) trust(3) Christmas Creativity(2) Magic(1) Awards 2018(3) Storytelling(2) Visual Impairment(1) Sculptures(1) Buddies(1) Cork(1) Irish(1) Light table(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Certificate(1) Academics(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Whole Group(1) Síolta QAP(1) AIM(2) STEM(2) Shoes(1) ReCreate(2) outdoors(3) Traditions(2) Inter-generational(1) relationships(15) Leaders in Practice(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Twitter(1) Trigonometry(1) Photographs(1) blog(28) documentation(2) Study Trip(1) Playschool(1) Feeding(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) IGL(1) Dance(1) Summer(1) social media(1) Anxiety(2) Art(6) United Nations(1) Pen green(1) First 5(1) Mixed age groups(2) Frustrations(1) Sweets(1) Snack Time(1) NAEYC(1) educating(1) CCTV(1) Childcare(2) Playdough(1) National Awards 2018(2) New Appointments(1) scéalta(27) story time(1) CPD(1) Maynooth University(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Care routines(1) Mud kitchens(1) Graduate(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Online(1) Learning Stories(8) Advocacy(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Inclusion(3) Confidence(1) transitions(10) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Malaguzzi(1) Our Little Seed(1) Training(2) Special Needs Assistants(1) Seas Suas(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Performance Management(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine