Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Night Starts with Halloween Day!

Miss Lucy Jane, my newly published picture book for all ages, is available on Amazon.  Please see my previous post for details.  If you do purchase the book (and I thank you for that!), be sure to email me at for suggestions on more ways to enjoy and explore Miss Lucy Jane.   Storytime presentation and craft ideas are included and are great for parents, librarians and teachers.  You can also find news of Miss Lucy Jane and my suggestions on the blog Sturdy for Common Things, a follower of this blog.

Now on to Halloween Night Starts with Halloween Day!  Most of the Halloween books, stories, poems, fingerplays and action rhymes I used for my storytimes at the library were all about pumpkins. PUMPKIN is such a fun word to say and saying it over and over is even more fun!  Make sure everyone knows what a PUMPKIN is and what a JACK-O-LANTERN is.  You could draw one,  make a paper one, carve or draw on a real pumpkin,  look at one in a book,  make pumpkin or jack-o-lantern cookies, or do it all.  Here are a few good Halloween books to start your day.

The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin  by Margaret Wise Brown
The Bumpy Little Pumpkin  by Margery Cuyler
The Mystery Vine by Cathryn Falwell
Pumpkin Eye  by Denise Fleming
It's Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall
Apples and Pumpkins  by Anne Rockwell
Plumply Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo
Mouse's First Halloween by Lauren Thompson
Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Van Rynback
Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jean Titherington
The Little One Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
Five Little Pumpkins  by Dan Yaccarino  (This is a Board Book.)

Now everyone should be ready for my PUMPKIN CHANT!  I always taught this right after reading Plumply Dumply Pumpkin. (See booklist above.) I wrote these fun words in 2001 and have used it with great silliness and energy and success with all ages every since.  It always takes quite a few words to describe the suggested movements for my ACTION RHYMES.  (And remember, you can always make up your own movements!)  So let's just start with the CHANT to get to know the words and rhymes and rhythm.  Then I will get down to the  ACTION details, and we will get really silly!

                                                                PUMPKIN CHANT

                                                               Pumpkin, pumpkin,
                                                                   pumpkin bread!
                                                               Pumpkin, pumpkin,
                                                                   pumpkin head!
                                                               Pumpkin, pumpkin,
                                                                   pumpkin pie!
                                                               Pumpkin, pumpkin,
                                                                   pumpkin eye!
                                                               Pumpkin, pumpkin,
                                                                   pumpkin cake!
                                                               Pumpkin, pumpkin,
                                                                   pumpkin shake!
                                                               Pumpkin, pumpkin,
                                                                   pumpkin stew!
                                                               Pumpkin, pumpkin,
                                                                   pumpkin BOO!

                                                                                2001 copyright Jane Willis Johnston

ACTIONS: Sit down on a chair or cross-legged on the floor  All the way through the chant you will keep up a rhythm of PAT PAT, CLAP CLAP, PAT PAT by patting your knees, then clapping you hands, then patting your knees again for the words "Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. . ."

For "bread" hold hands flat in front of you, palms up, one lying on top of the other
For "head" put hands on head
For "pie" hold hands in a big circle
For "eye" make "eyeglasses" curving hands around eyes
For "cake" hold hands flat, one palm up, one palm down held five inches above the other hand
For "shake" hold fists up close to ears and shake them as hard as you can
For "stew" curve one arm out and in toward chest in shape of stewpot, stir with other hand

When you get to the last "pumpkin" instead of patting your knees, hold your hands over your eyes and get ready to pull them away to shout BOO! as loudly as you can!!!  

To add a little fun, I usually pause and hold on the non-pumpkin words, and I usually let my voice get a little spooky (if nobody seems worried about that) on "head" and "eye" and "shake" and "BOO!"   Now see how fast you can say the words and do the actions!!

Put on your Halloween or any kind of costumes and try out this idea for making up stories using who or what you are all dressed up to be as characters in a circle story. Before you begin this activity, cut BIG shapes from construction paper.  Make squares, circle, triangles, rectangles and whatever other shapes you like.  Give everybody one or two or three shapes.  Sit down in a BIG circle.  Now you are ready to make up a story that will create a JACK-O-LANTERN face in the middle of the circle.

Decide who will start the story.  That person, who might be dressed up like a robot and have a triangle,  might say "One morning when I was feeling very hungry I ate a great big piece of pizza for breakfast!"  Then the robot will put a triangle out in the circle to start a JACK-O-LANTERN face.  It might be a nose or part of the mouth or an ear.  The robot can put it wherever he wants.  Then it is, maybe, a fairy's turn.  Maybe the fairy has a circle.  So the fairy might say, "When the fairy saw the piece of pizza for breakfast, it made her think of a whole pizza and that made her think of a whole cake and so she baked a big round Halloween cake for lunch."  Or the fairy might say, "When the fairy saw the robot eating breakfast, she knew she was hungry, so she climbed on her magic wheel and rolled down the hill to the bakery for a donut."   Then the fairy will put her circle out to make part of the JACK-O-LANTERN face.  Obviously stories can take you anywhere. And wherever this story takes you, in the end a fine JACK-O-LANTERN will appear!

When you are all finished, you can say the PUMPKIN CHANT again while you are sitting in the circle looking at the JACK-O-LANTERN face as the JACK-O-LANTERN face looks at you!!.

Have a full-of-fun Halloween day and a Halloween night full of sweet dreams of the day!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jane, Dana and I were wondering if we could film your Pumpkin Chant on our YouTube channel Jbrary. Rebecca from Sturdy for Common Things shared it with us and we think it's lovely. We would give you credit in the video and link to this blog post. Please let us know if that would be okay with you.