Ghosts and Witches: What’s Real and What’s Pretend?

This week, we’ve played and talked with a Halloween focus– considering what’s real and what’s pretend– noticing ghosts, witches and pumpkins. 

For our virtual class, we invited children to turn one of their beloved stuffed animals into a ghost. Each child picked a stuffie and then put a towel, sheet or fabric over it’s head. We noticed how the real stuffed animals were obscured and only a ghost critters showed.  In doing this, we offered children gentle exposure to what is spooky and helped build some comfort so when they encounter Halloween decorations or costumes they will be less likely to feel uneasy.

During class, we invited children to share what they already know about witches. naming some things we have learned about witches are true, and some things are pretend. As we listened, we helped make the distinction between the real power of real witches and the pretend images and/or stereotypes of witches as dangerous, evil, scary, green-skinned faces. Children eagerly shared what they know: 

K: “They like to go into the woods and collect plants that heal people.”  Z: “They use wands.”  D: “They help people.” Sylas: “Fly on broomsticks.”   K: “They wear black hats.”  We talked about how fun it would be to travel by broom and shared some herbs and medicines that healers and witches still use today. 

We introduced Bonnie Lockhart’s song Who Were the Witches which illuminates the power of witches and hints at the harsh history of witches who were misunderstood, targeted and harmed. 


Who were the witches?

Where did they come from?

Maybe your great, great grandmother was one.

Witches were wise, wise women they say.

There’s a little witch in (everybody) today.


Some people thought that the witches were bad.

Some people were scared of the power they had.

The power to help and to heal and to care–

Isn’t something to fear; it’s a treasure to share.


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