Halloween and Harvest the Montessori Way


This Halloween and Harvest season think about ways to incorporate the Montessori life into your celebrations with fun explorations of a variety of Autumn elements and activities.

Some Montessori schools are conflicted about celebrating Halloween because of the prevalence of violent costumes, but families can be encouraged that Fall and Halloween can be very hands on times for learning and engaging in creativity around the community.

Halloween has roots in both Celtic and Christian traditions, and the apple and pumpkin are symbols used to celebrate in many harvest traditions. Incorporating discussions about how we use apples for different harvest treats, and observing the life cycle of pumpkins and other gourds can provide great conversations for learning. The Montessori for Everyone website has a beautiful matching card activity to examine closely the life cycle of pumpkins.

While trick-or-treating for candy may be something a little too sweet for your liking, UNICEF and other organizations are encouraging families to trick or treat for charity. Our local Hospitality House encourages people to collect canned goods when they trick-or-treat at the BooneBoo! and Trick or Treat for Tots (at Appalachian State University) events.

Encouraging children to build costumes from natural or found items (ie. a scare crow made from clothing, hay and corn husks, or using old graduation robes to dress as a member of the Harry Potter world) are just one way to encourage learning and exploration.

Another great opportunity Halloween and Trick-or-treating provide are the opportunity to practice grace and courtesy. Here are some tips and applicable manners from this post on the blog Living Montessori Now blog:

  1. We trick-or-treat only at houses with the porch light on.  Houses with the lights off are telling us they would prefer not to have trick-or-treaters.

  2. We walk on sidewalks or stepping stones only, staying off of grass, rocks and flowerbeds.

  3. Once we’re at the front door, knock or ring the doorbell once (I personally prefer knocking first, then one doorbell ring if they don’t hear the knock).  Now wait patiently, a few steps away from the door.  Do not look in the windows.

  4. If no one answers the door, move on to the next house.  Do not keep knocking and ringing the doorbell.

  5. If someone answers, smile and say “Trick or Treat!”  Stay on the porch, do not peek in the house and do not walk into the house.

  6. If the person holds out a bowl of candy, take only one piece of candy unless you are invited to take more.

  7. I always say “thank you” when I’m given a treat.  If I don’t like this kind of candy, I still say “thank you” and will not tell them that I don’t like it.  I can always trade for a different kind of candy when I get home.

  8. It’s kind to say “Happy Halloween” before leaving.

Need some additional ideas for your own Halloween activities at home you can visit this Pinterest board with Montessori-inspired crafts and activities as well.  

Contributed by Mimi Perreault