With Halloween approaching, the question of whether or not North Central Florida schools will allow celebrations in their schools accompanies it.
Dorothy Spradley, district volunteer education marketing coordinator for Columbia County School District, said Halloween isn’t celebrated at the middle and high school level, but remains popular in elementary schools.
“We try to encourage appropriate-dressed storybook character types, dressed in the halloween costume, and we sometimes have costume parades in the morning,” Spradley said.
The activity is intended to allow students to dress up as characters they see in books for their reading level, instead of threatening costumes commonly seen while trick-or-treating.
The schools may not celebrate a traditional form of Halloween, but many choose to participate in fall festivals, outside of school hours, throughout the season.
Spradley said that while nothing is currently being taught to students about Halloween, including it in lessons could possibly benefit the curriculum.
“If there is any teaching going on related to Halloween, it’s all curriculum based, it may have the little decorations on it, but there’s not anything being taught about Halloween,” said Spradley.
However, Putnam County reflects similar sentiments about Halloween.
Phillis Criswell, Superintendent of schools of Putnam County, believes her schools can utilize Halloween for teachable moments.
“They have math lessons with candy…this is an opportunity to use candy corn, especially in the younger grades,they do different activities with their math lesson, and at the end of the lesson, once the material is learned, they get to eat the candy,” she said. “So it’s an incentive for children to learn what needs to be learned in that particular math lesson,” said Criswell.
However, when Halloween is included in lesson plans, Criswell said, it’s being used to teach students for their Common Core State Standards. She said teachers don’t have enough time to deviate too far from lessons geared toward standardized tests.
“(Halloween) is not something we really focus on in the school, we have such little time between the start of school and the FCAT, that we try to use every moment we can to be a teaching moment,” she said.
Putnam County also uses Fall festivals as activities and fundraisers for students and their families.