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Scary: Halloween

To remind children to consider others at this time of year.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To remind children to consider others at this time of year.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is needed but an OHP would help in sharing the poem.


  1. We celebrate Halloween on 31 October: a time when many, especially children, enjoy scaring other people. A short time could be spent in discussing the tradition behind All Hallows Eve.
  2. What scares us? Many of the children will be eager to tell you about their fears. Share the poem:

    Halloween is scary, when ghosts and witches roam.
    In the darkness of the night there comes a piercing moan.
    In gruesome dress the children stand, a pumpkin lantern in each hand.
    We fear the knock upon the door. Who’s standing there, we can’t be sure.
    A hideous mask upon their head, as if they’ve risen from the dead.
    They think that Trick or Treat is fun, but it’s not the case for everyone.
  3. Not everyone enjoys Trick or Treat. We should always think about this before we go calling on people especially the elderly or those who live alone. It’s all right among our friends but we should not go knocking on just anyone’s door. Let’s listen to our story and find out what happened to the children in it.

    Old Mother Carey
    by Jan Edmunds

    Old Mother Carey lived all alone. Her husband had died and her grown-up children lived abroad. No one visited her, and she had very little to do with her neighbours. She wasn’t very friendly and always grumbled at the children if they kicked their ball into her garden. In fact, the local children were a bit scared of her and one or two thought she might even be a witch!

    As Halloween approached, old Mother Carey dreaded it, for she knew the children would knock on her door or ring her bell and ask for ‘Trick or Treat’.

    This year, though, she thought she would do something about it. She found a black dress, and made herself a black pointed hat. She hung a big fishing net above her front door and baked some small cakes, adding lots of salt instead of sugar. ‘I’ll show them,’ she thought.

    When All Hallows Eve came she put red bulbs in her lamps to give an eerie light, she put some weird, wailing music on her CD player and waited. Sure enough, as darkness fell her doorbell rang.

    She peered out of the window and saw two figures dressed in sheets wearing horrible masks. She guessed it was the naughty twins Sean and Susie from next door. Old Mother Carey, looking every inch like a witch, slowly opened the door.

    The children could see the eerie light and hear the weird music. They felt rather nervous. With faltering voices they asked, ‘Trick or Treat?’

    Old Mother Carey pulled the cord to release the fishing net, which fell over them. How they screamed! ‘Now we’ll see about trick or treat!’ said old Mother Carey. ‘Which do you want?’

    Nervously they replied, ‘Treat, treat, please, no more tricks!’

    She lifted the net and handed them the little cakes. They had to take off their masks in order to eat them and what a face they pulled as they tasted them! ‘Ugh!’ they said. ‘They’re horrible!’

    By now old Mother Carey could see the funny side of it all and she was really enjoying herself. When she laughed the children could see that she had quite a pleasant face really and they too laughed. Old Mother Carey fetched some really nice cakes and a drink for them. In fact they had quite a party.

    After that the twins became good friends with the old lady. She looked forward to their regular visits and they were always ready to give her any help should she need it. When Halloween came round the next year they did not bother her and they warned their friends not to call. After the fun, they went to tell her all about it.

Time for reflection

Let us remember that the things we enjoy may not always give pleasure to other people.

Teach us to be sensible in all the things we say and do.

Help us always to consider others and be aware of our actions.


‘Kum ba yah’ (Come and Praise, 68)

Publication date: October 2009   (Vol.11 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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