Click or Treat! Two Virtual Halloween Storytimes

Happy Halloween! Since my last post, my coworker Angela and I have done two more Interactive Musical Storytimes via Zoom. It’s been wonderful to see the kids again, even just on the computer, and we invited them to come in costume, which was adorable.

This time we did sign-ups with a Microsoft Form, instead of using the Zoom registration. This gave us a little more flexibility in the kinds of questions we could include, including a checkbox to acknowledge that the person registering was over 13 years of age, and that any kids under 13 would be accompanied by an adult. This has been our workaround for the COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) rules, which would otherwise prevent from doing any interactive programs for kids under 13. (Click here to see the form we used). The downside to this method was that I had to send participants the Zoom link over email, because unlike registering through Zoom, they wouldn’t receive an automated email confirmation when they filled out the form.

Like last time, we had a coworker managing the chat, and muting and unmuting the kids at different times. We mostly muted everyone during the songs and stories, and unmuted them to ask for suggestions at different points. The books we used were all from Open Library. We did have one major technical glitch in the middle of one of the books. Angela’s Internet suddenly went down, and since she was the one who had the book checked out, I had to improvise for a few minutes until she logged back in. After that, the book wouldn’t load for some reason, so she had to quickly return it, and have me check it out instead. Luckily, the crowd was very patient.

Here’s what we did:

STORYTIME 1: PUMPKINS

Intro: As usual, we asked the kids to find a piece of cloth to wave, and something to make noise with (drum, pot and spoon, etc). We took a few minutes to admire everyone’s costumes, and let them talk if they wanted to, and we explained how to switch from Gallery view (where they could see everyone) to Speaker view (where they could see Angela and I in a larger window). Zoom actually now lets you “spotlight” multiple speakers, which is supposed to make those speakers larger for everyone, but it doesn’t always seem to work.

OPENING SONG: Do As I’m Doing

We asked the kids for action ideas: spinning their cloth, throwing it in the air, jumping up and down, etc. Here are the chords and lyrics:

[C] Do as I’m doing, follow, follow [G7] me.

[C] Do as I’m doing, follow, [G7] follow [C] me.

[C] Follow, [G7] follow, [F] follow [C] me.

[F] Follow, [C] follow, [G7] follow [C] me.

Follow, [G7] follow, [F] follow [C] me,

[F] Follow, [C] follow, [G7] follow [C] me.

RHYME: Five Little Pumpkins

This is a classic Halloween rhyme that most of the kids already new. My daughter made me five paper pumpkins that I stuck on my fingers with tape.

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.

The first one said, “Oh my! It’s getting late!

The second one said, “There are witches in the air!”

The third one said, “But WE don’t care!”

The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!” (run in place)

The five one said, “This is Halloween fun!”

Then, “OOOH” went the wind, and OUT (clap!) went the light!

And the five little pumpkins rolled (roll your hands) out of sight.

BOOK: The Pumpkin House by Roger Vaughan Carr; illustrated by Julie Davey: https://openlibrary.org/works/OL4794526W/The_Pumpkin_House?edition=pumpkinhouse00carr

An adorable story about a mouse who decides to carve herself out of a pumpkin, only to eat so much of the pumpkin that she soon outgrows it.

RHYME: Pumpkin Patch

I learned this rhyme from an Orth Music teacher years ago, so I don’t know who wrote it, but it’s a fun one to do with a group.

Pumpkin Patch, Pumpkin Patch,

Walking all around in my pumpkin patch.

Here is a pumpkin, nice and fat (spread arms wide),

Turns into a jack-o-lantern, just like that! (make a scary face!)

We did this one a few times, taking a minute or two to comment on all the scary faces on the screen. The kids loved it!

BOOK: This is NOT a Pumpkin by Bob Staake: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL8458611M/This_Is_NOT_a_Pumpkin

Cute, simple book with large illustrations which show something that clearly looks like a pumpkin, but turns out to be a Jack-O-Lantern.

SONG: Jack-O-Lantern

I loved this song as a child, although I have no idea where it came from. We had the kids play their homemade instruments while I sang and played on the ukulele.

[C] Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O- [G7] Lantern, you are such a spooky [C]sight,

As you sit there in the window looking out [G7] at the [C] night.

You were once a pretty [G7] pumpkin, growing on a pretty [C] vine,

Now you are a Jack-O-Lantern, let your can- [G7] dlelight [C] shine.

ENDING SONG: You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis & Charles Mitchell (or possibly by Oliver Hood)

STORYTIME 2: MONSTERS

OPENING SONG: Do As I’m Doing (see above)

RHYME: Five Little Monsters

Angela did this one with an adorable felt board of five little monsters, partially covered by a blanket.

Five little monsters sleeping in my bed,

One crawled out from under my spread.

I called to Mama (call “Mama!”)

And Mama said, “No more monsters sleeping in the bed!”

Four little monsters sleeping in my bed…

BOOK: Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems: https://archive.org/details/yourpalmowillems00will

You can’t go wrong with Mo Willems, so I’m grateful that he has given us a book perfect for Halloween. Leonardo is a terrible monster, who simply can’t scare anyone, until he meets Sam. Angela read the narration and Leonardo, and I got to do Sam’s long tearful rant.

SONG: We Are Scary Ghosts

I learned this song from an Orth Music curriculum, where it was originally called Scary Skeletons. We had the kids put their cloths over their heads to be ghosts, and sang it through a couple of times. Then we asked for other things to be. We were scary witches, monsters, vampires (with the cloth as a cape), bees, and pretty butterflies.

We are scary ghosts floating down the street,

Floating down the street,

Floating down the street.

We are scary ghosts floating down the street,

We’ll scare you…BOO! (pull the scarf off and yell, “BOO!”)

BOOK: Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler and S.D. Schindler: https://openlibrary.org/works/OL166479W/Skeleton_Hiccups?edition=skeletonhiccups00cuyl (There are two editions of this on Open Library)

Simple story about a skeleton with hiccups, and the hilarious way his friend Ghost finds to help him. Angela read the narration and I provided the hiccups all the way through.

SONG: On Halloween

Our first play-along song, where we asked the kids to pull out their drums or other noise-makers. We asked for suggestions of scary things they might find in the house. We had cats in the house saying, “Meow, Meow, Meow!”; spiders in the house going creep, creep, creep; monsters in the house going stomp, stomp, stomp; witches in the house saying “Hee, Hee, Hee!”; and children at the door saying “Trick or Treat!”

To the Tune of The Wheels on the Bus

[C]The ghosts in the house say, “Boo! Boo! Boo!”

[G7]“Boo! Boo! Boo! C] Boo! Boo! Boo!”

The ghosts in the house say “Boo! Boo! Boo!”

[G7]On Hallo- [C]ween!

ENDING SONG: You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis & Charles Mitchell (or possibly by Oliver Hood)

Do you have favorite Halloween songs or books (either e-books or print ones)? Please share them in the comments.

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