School Halloween parties — Mommy Daze

rsz watts halloween 2017In our family, we LOVE parties! Birthday parties, holiday parties, anniversary parties, you name it, we’ll throw a party for it. So as the ‘Room Mom’ for my oldest son’s Kindergarten Class, I was stoked to be planning his Class Halloween Party.

I went all “P-interesty” with the craft, game and festive snacks. Don’t judge. This is my first time with a child in Elementary school so I haven’t been burnt out yet on all their school activities. But I totally understand the parents who are! I wasn’t sure what to expect of the party, so I tried to make it fun for the kids, easy for the parents and teacher, and quick to setup and cleanup.

Overall, I think it went great. My son’s teacher is awesome and really helped make the party a “party” with music, some dancing, and reading a special story. But she also has some kind of Teacher Super Power where all the kids listened to her, followed directions, and partied in an orderly fashion. How does she do that?! A few of the parents attended and seemed to have a good time with their children.

Personally, it was over way too soon for me, I would’ve loved to stay and play all afternoon. I’m so grateful to be a stay-at-home Mom and I soak up these moments as much as I can. But I realized the kids are technically in school and probably should be learning something, so I cleaned up quickly and headed out, wishing the teacher luck in wrangling 20 hyped-up, Halloween-obsessed kids for the rest of the day. Seriously, get your kids’ teacher the best teacher gifts money can buy, because they deserve it.

It wasn’t until later when I was perusing pictures on social media, that I started realizing that some elementary schools didn’t have any Halloween festivities that day. I spoke to another mom friend who said her son’s school did a ‘Vocabulary Parade’ instead of a Halloween Parade, where kids picked a word and then made a costume to represent that word. Because you know, what’s one more costume to make, right? But I started reading some comments and looking at articles about this controversy over whether Halloween should be celebrated in schools or not. I honestly had no idea it was such a hot topic!

Being homeschooled for elementary and middle school, I am kind of naïve to these school-related things. But now that I’ve participated in my son’s Halloween activities, I can honestly understand both sides to the debate. As a mom, I enjoy teaching my kids about different cultures and traditions. I love passing down traditions from my childhood, as well as creating our own new ones as a family. I am excited for them to learn about the traditions of others. What a great way to show our kids how unique and special each person is! We don’t all have to be the same, and that’s okay. So for me personally, I say bring on all the holiday parties!

But on the flip side, I see how these activities in schools can be problematic. We did have one family in my son’s class who doesn’t celebrate Halloween. Though the parents were very understanding and accommodating, I imagine it was still a challenge for them, where it would’ve been easier if it wasn’t a part of the school schedule at all. And I’m sure it stinks for the working parents who can’t always attend and enjoy the fun parades and parties during the workday with their kids.

So for now I’m going to enjoy the school parties while I can, because they might not be around for much longer. And frankly, by then, I might be happy about that!

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Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 5-year-old James and 3-year-old Luke.