Dancing Holidays: HALLOWEEN

Halloween is a holiday that nearly all of my dancers get excited about! It is (almost) universally  inclusive, and I find that the same children who are attracted to dance class are attracted to Halloween for the make-believe & the crazy costumes.

Below are my picks for bringing Halloween into the dance classroom…or dance into your home/school Halloween!

HALLOWEEN  INSPIRED  DANCE  BOOK

 

Frank was a Monster who Wanted to Dance

~by Keith Graves

“I know I could dance if I just had the chance….so Frank put on his shoes made in France…and put ants down his pants!”

~ Younger kids love Frank’s determination to dance, and his silly antics. They also love to be grossed out when Frank’s body starts to fall apart as he dances on stage! This book is everything I could want in a Halloween dance book for children–Bright bold pictures. Few words with easy rhymes. Suggestions for how to move that children can act out. Illustrations of worms and spider webs holding body parts together! A sure hit!

MUSIC  FOR  HALLOWEEN  DANCE

During October, all of my classes (yes, from pre-school dancers to adults) seem to enjoying listening to upbeat Halloween-themed music for warm-ups and across the floor exercises. Try these songs out for yourself, and see if your dancers don’t feel the same!

  • Young Children – Ages 3.5-7  (Pre-K–1st)
    • Harry’s Haunted Halloween Circus – Ralph’s World

                                                                  (Good for ballet! Especially “tight rope” exercises.)

    • Looking For Dracula – Charlotte Diamond  (See Game Below)
    • And since November is just around the corner….here’s the only Thanksgiving song I use:                                                  ~ The Gobble Song – Spencer the Gardener
  • All Ages – Ages 3.5 – Adult
    • Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
    • Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.
  • Older Children Ages 7+ – Adult
    • Thriller – Michael Jackson
    • Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone – The Manhattan Transfer

 

HALLOWEEN  GAME/MOVEMENT  ACTIVITY

  • Looking For Dracula

This game is for the youngin’s – Ages 3.5-7 (pre-school to 1st grade), and uses the song  “Looking For Dracula” by Charlotte Diamond.

“We’re going to go looking for Dracula! But first, we have to set up the game.”
  1. Create 4 areas around the room with props that can be traveled through in the following order: Home, A Spooky Swap, A Huge Lake, A Haunted House (with a door to go through). I use 4 stools in a corner of the studio to suggest Home (big enough to fit all the dancers), pads on the floor for the Swap, scarves on the floor for the Lake, and 2 more stools for the “door” to the Haunted House. If possible in your studio, have the door to the Haunted House lead dancers toward the big mirror!
  2. Optional: For older or seasoned/confident players I turn off some or “all” of the lights (our studio still has natural light from the windows) for an extra challenge. Warning: The game is scary enough for most pre-schoolers without this!
  3. Leader and players all gather inside the house…Remind children that we are still inside a building, and if we do see Dracula in our game, we still have to follow the no running or screaming inside rule. We can “pretend” to be scared with indoor voices.
  4. Turn on the music! As the leader I act out/pantomime along with the narrator’s voice and the children follow me. Most of the game is done Call & Response style. (Let the children’s level of nervousness/confidence dictate how earnest you are. I smile a lot and laugh with the youngest, and I am more “serious” and pretend to be scared with the older ones.)
  5. Clean up! When the game is done I name off which players will gather up which props.
  6. I often give the youngest players a brightly colored happy sticker “for being so brave” after this game. Seeing their pride in their accomplishment can leave me smiling for the whole rest of my day!!

Happy Celebration of H-A-L-L-O-W-E-E-N!!      ~  Linda

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  1. […] right away with The Nutcracker, taking a break for some Halloween dancing (see my post on that here), or I may begin teaching The Sleeping Beauty…followed by Halloween dancing….and begin […]



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