Halloween is often a very exciting time of year for children. Between the spooky decorations, the piles of candy and the pressure of choosing the perfect costume, kids can get pretty wound up. These yoga activities don’t just settle the excess energy, but also add to the Halloween celebration.
I like to start my Kids’ Yoga classes with a story, and this one is about Trick-or-Treating. (As you use it, change the children’s names to those in your class and add in any costumes you’d like to include):
One of my favorite things to do at Halloween is to carve Jack-o-Lanterns, and the bigger the better! First I pick out a bright orange pumpkin from the pumpkin patch (pumpkin roll, roll like a ball). Then I scrape out the pumpkin, really digging out the sides (Mula Bandha rolls: cross-legged and circle the rib cage in big circles left and right). Finally, I carve a face – sometimes scary and sometimes funny. What kind of face do you like on your pumpkin (show face)? Then I get to put a candle (shoulderstand) in it and display it on my front porch.
Once my pumpkin is ready, it’s time to go trick-or-treating! This year I’m dressing up as a witch with a pointy hat (triangle pose). Plus, I’m riding a broom (chair pose, leaning left and right like you are riding through the sky). Wouldn’t it be funny if the broom were very fat (goddess pose)?
I get to walk through the neighborhood with my friends this year, and you’ll never guess what their costumes are. Ben is dressing up as a troll, you know, the little creature that lives under the bridge (bridge pose). Whitney is going to be a spider (spider pose). I wonder if she can spin a web. Ethan and Aly are dressing up as werewolves (up dog and down dog). Abby and Avery are both going as cats (cat pose). Cierra is a bat (eagle pose) and Logan is dressed as a lion (lion pose)…add more costumes/names…
It’s time to go! Remember, we are just going to keep a few pieces of candy, like the Tootsie Rolls (lie across the mat and roll it up around you). The rest we are going to give to the homeless shelter and send to the troops overseas. That way, everyone can share in the Halloween fun.
There are two different breaths I like to teach in a Halloween class. First is pumpkin breath. Inhale to fill your chest and round out the belly. Exhale and imagine that you are pulling out seeds from deep inside. These seeds are for things you don’t want to grow, like anger and sadness. The second breath is ghost breath. It’s a normal inhale through the nose, and then make a “Booooooo” sound on the exhale. You can be quiet ghosts, silly ghosts, opera ghosts, any kind you’d like.
Other activities for your Halloween themed class:
• Get a big bag of pompoms and “Bob for Apples”, but this time using your toes to pick up the pompoms and put them into an empty bucket (like one used for trick-or-treating). Kidding Around Yoga calls this game Toe-Ga and even has a song for it!
• Turn the lights off and practice candle gazing (tratak).
• Play Freeze Float – turn on some spooky music (like Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter) and float around the room, just as a ghost would float. When the music stops, you freeze and try to balance in whatever position you’re in. Then the music starts again and you go back to floating.
• Play The Ghosts All Fly – Everyone stands on a mat in a big circle, the farther away the better. The leader takes away her mat and stands in the center. She announces a command like, “The ghosts all fly if they like candy corn” or “The ghosts all fly if they eat pumpkin seeds.” Then anyone who does the activity the leader described runs to a new mat and holds a yoga pose (can be their choice or one they’ve been instructed to do), but not the one on either side of them. One person is always left without a mat. The person without a mat becomes the leader. Get really silly with the commands.