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Teachers: Citizenship

Last Updated: Friday October 23 2009 14:06 GMT

Inclusive celebrations

Citizenship - Race, religion and identity



Hallowe'en is an example of cultures borrowing from each other.

Students look at the history of Hallowe'en and devise their own inclusive festival.

Learning aims
  • Celebrations evolve
  • Meaning of inclusive/inclusion


Quiz the group with these true or false questions. These are also available as an online quiz

1. Hallowe'en started in America.
False: It started in Europe then it travelled to America with immigrants. Then it was exported back to Europe.

2. Hallowe'en started as the Christian festival of all Hallow's eve.
False: It started 3000 years before Christianity as the Pagan festival of Samhain. When Christianity became more popular it incorporated existing pagan festivals. Samhain was renamed All Hallow's Eve.

3. Hallowe'en lanterns were first made out of turnips.
True: The Celts who originally celebrated Samhain didn't have pumpkins. They were first used by Irish immigrants in the USA who couldn't find any Turnips.

4. UK shops make more money from Hallowe'en than from fireworks night.
True: And that includes sales of fireworks.

5. In shops in the USA Christmas is the only event that makes more money than Hallowe'en.
True: It is estimated to be worth $2.5 billion.

6. Hallowe'en lanterns are supposed to scare away evil spirits.
True: The face on the pumpkin represents an evil spirit or demon.

7. Wearing fancy dress started as a way of disguising yourself from any ghosts you met.
True:If they thought you were a ghost or demon they would not attack you.

8. The treats in trick or treat were originally fruit and nuts.
True:They were left on doorsteps to cheer up any wandering ghosts who came back to their old house.

Hallowe'en has a complex history. It started as a Celtic festival. First it was taken over by the Romans then the Christians. Finally it became a key event in the calendar of capitalism.

Main activity

Devise an inclusive celebration for the end of the school summer term. It should have some meaning to offer all students. It should take account of the diversity of views to school. For example.

  • People who struggle to keep up with the work
  • Students who have got top marks
  • People who love school
  • Those leaving for the last time
  • Teachers
  • Victims of bullying
  • Anyone who finds school is a safe space away from problems at home
  • Younger students
  • Classroom assistants

[A] Break students into groups that represent the differing attitudes to school.

[B] Ask them to list five things their group would like from an end of term event.

[C] A representative of each presents their list to the whole group. Students take notes.

[D] Students working individually draw up an inclusive programme for the end of term. This could be made as an illustrated pamphlet if time allows.

Extension activity

Use photographs and images from magazines, websites and newspapers to decorate the pamphlet.


What was difficult about designing an inclusive event?

What would be the benefits of overcoming these difficulties?

What would be the good and bad points of having a series of smaller events and sending each group to its own event?

Teachers' Background

For all links and resources click at top right.