October 31: Hallowe'en
What's it all about?
Hallowe'en is now a commercial festival, but its roots lie in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marks the end of summer, and the Catholic festival of All Saints Day.
Primary schools could start an assembly with atmospheric music such as "In The Hall of the Mountain King" by Grieg or "Danse Macabre" by Saint-Saens. You could have Hallowe'en items on show, and then tell the pupils the actual origins of the festival's customs, including that trick or treating is believed to have come from the custom of giving poor people "soul cakes" to pray for dead relatives of the wealthy.
Then present the children with a Hallowe'en trivia challenge to find out how much they know about the history of the festival and to help them understand it better.
You may also want to talk about trick or treating and the importance of always being accompanied by an adult, and making sure that pupils don't scare old or vulnerable householders. Some schools will want to add a more overtly Christian tone to a Hallowe'en assembly: you could do this by talking much more about All Saints Day on November 1.
Help, I don't have enough time to prepare
There is a ready-made assembly at www.teachernet.gov.ukteachingandlearningassembliesindex.cfm?mode=searchdisplayid=144history=keyword
And for a more Christian version, try www.barnabasinschools.org.ukpagesdata.asp?layout=page.htmType=Id=2727[QQ]
Where can I go for more information? www.bbc.co.ukreligionreligionschristianityholydayshalloween.shtml.