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Halloween Vocabulary Book Parade


My school holds an annual character book parade on Halloween. The premise sounds great, kids dress up like characters from a book, but something smelled fishy to me last year. Noticing that this was still a Halloween parade with a strained tie to some book, I knew we could create a stronger tribute for bibliophiles alike. Thanks to Debra Frasier, author of Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster, we found a solution that is fun, cheap, and involves everyone!

Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster, by Debra Frasier


An excerpt from her page: a hilarious romp through the usually not-so-funny world of vocabulary. Sage misses school due to a cold and from there the misunderstanding begins. But “miscellaneous” is finally revealed for the word it truly is, and Sage manages to redeem herself in a marvelous and inspiring creative leap.
The Premise of a Word Parade
Dress up like a vocabulary word and create a word parade with your class or school. It's as simple as that. Some construction paper and string can get you from start to finish in no time. Here is a simple example:
Two longer rectangle pieces of construction paper. Punch holes at the top. Loop together and hang around your neck. Write the word parallel on each strip. Done.
Price- Free!
Educational Value- Priceless!
The beauty of this project is that:
1) it can be completed anytime of year. Halloween is an easy place to plug this in.
2) it can tie into Halloween costumes. Ex- a gruesome or ghastly character.
3) students learn new words from each other.
4) it gives a chance for all children to participate. Last year, half my class dressed up and the other half didn't. I expect most, if not all, to participate this year.
5) it is academically focused.
Show Not Tell
It is easier for me to show you than to tell you. Here are some of the examples we found on Debra Frasier's page and in our classroom.
Wrapping It Up
When we returned to the classroom, each student shared their outfit and we talked about the meaning.  After going around the room (all but one had an outfit), we voted on our top three favorite costumes. Our winners are shown below (inflame, dishevelled, and condensation).

Here are the pictures from today's parade:












Mrs. Myers is "orbit" by using a hula-hoop with hanging planets. I was the "luminous" sun with a long orange dress (complete with orange high heels), ray hands and head, and a battery operated light-bulb.


Bonus: Eli's Halloween costume this evening (the high heels didn't make it this round). 

To learn more about our classroom, visit us here.


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Sorry your post came out 4 times! That happens sometimes.

So, although I already emailed you..for anyone interested-

Go to the author's site (she wrote on her!), where you will find some great resources ready to go home. My favorites were the visual picture slideshow that I sent as an email attachment to parents. The second one was a sheet I believe was called 101 Vocabulary Ideas. It gave kids a good starting place for the whole event.

I didn't require my students to do it, so much as encourage them to do this instead of falsely dressing up as a book character instead. I just saw too many kids the year before bringing their Halloween costumes and quickly finding any old book that could be tied to the costume. With this approach, I had all but one student dress up and supply a vocabulary word. That is pretty good!

And finally, you can always share this blog address. The photos do help parents.

Hope your event is a total success!


Laura Sims

Hi Angela,
I've finally convinced another teacher to a vocabulary parade with our classes on our school's book character day in a few weeks! Did you have any special parent letter, information, or requirements that you sent home prior to do this with your class?

Thanks so much,
Laura Sims

Laura Sims

Hi Angela,
I've finally convinced another teacher to a vocabulary parade with our classes on our school's book character day in a few weeks! Did you have any special parent letter, information, or requirements that you sent home prior to do this with your class?

Thanks so much,
Laura Sims

Laura Sims

Hi Angela,
I've finally convinced another teacher to a vocabulary parade with our classes on our school's book character day in a few weeks! Did you have any special parent letter, information, or requirements that you sent home prior to do this with your class?

Thanks so much,
Laura Sims

Laura Sims

Hi Angela,
I've finally convinced another teacher to a vocabulary parade with our classes on our school's book character day in a few weeks! Did you have any special parent letter, information, or requirements that you sent home prior to do this with your class?

Thanks so much,
Laura Sims

Angela Bunyi

Hey Marie,

It was great having you in the room and neat to see you in your setting during my tech. training.

Regarding your question. Are you asking where the word study words originated? If so, Mrs. Heather Renz from Oregon completed most of them. I just offered to finish them up for her (she is awesome!). I tried selecting the nifty 50 that tackles an outrageous amount of our English language. Is it Allington that has that list posted? I am not sure. You can find it all on my site though.

And I agree. 6 words a week doesn't cut it!

~The "Rebel"


Hi Angela!
Thanks again for letting me visit you classroom! I learned so much- you're a great teacher! Remind me again where you got you vocabulary ideas??? Using the 6 wrds with the book really doesn;t cut it or make long lasting connections- Thanks!!! Love the vocab parade! You rebel you! =)

Angela Bunyi


What a pleasure to have you write here and read the post! I think your work is just wonderful, and I was happy to find your website. What a great resource for teachers and parents. My guess is that your web stats would show a good amount of visits from Murfreesboro. Parents were happy to have the visual slide show on your site, and I was happy you had the resources to help.

Thanks again,


Debra Frasier

This is Debra Frasier, author & Illustrator of Miss Alaineus. (Your link appeared in my webstats.) I want to thank YOU, Angela, for providing such an enthusiastic and honest summary of your vocabulary parade. And Melanie, thanks for all the questions about the parade as this helps me figure out what additional information to add to the website.

When I speak to teachers about the project I am able to answer most of the questions you pose with slide examples from around the USA. But your post makes me see that I must get more of that on the web...I just need more time in a day! I do sometimes get late night emails from parents asking for help: what do I do for HARBOR? or LYRIC? or HEMISPHERE?

Every school's parental participation level is different so each school will make adjustments but having volunteers on deck is a good idea for lower primary. Also, providing a "make it" corner with supplies seems to help. Documentation remains essential so that the words can be reviewed, be it a powerpoint (in the library, kids review it a zillion times), or school bulletin board, or scrap book--Otherwise it is just a fun day and not enough is reviewed. I'll try to get more examples of this on the web, too.

Thanks so much for trying the project as I am committed to coming up with ways to meet academic goals and STILL encourage creativity. All input helps! Send any more comments along to my website, too, and I'll try to figure out how to be more helpful.

All the best,
Debra Frasier

Angela Bunyi

Hey Laura!

Because we still have a school-wide book character parade, we just followed the normal protocol. That is- we walked around the track and waved like we were famous. As we passed our principal I noted, "4th grade. Word choice," because we have been asked to really focus on word choice/vocabulary this year. We only walked around once because we had an electricity program to go to, but last year we went around twice (pretty simple). The whole event lasts about an hour. I let the class continue to wear their outfit (if they want) for the day. For the rest of the day suggestion, Frasier's site has a ton of plans. We only had time to discuss each one and vote. Simple or not- it rocked and was just plain cute. :)

And, if you are thinking about doing this on your own, I would probably promote it via email or a faculty meeting for a specific date and time. You could offer to bring your class around to those classes at that time. I did something similar with our famous (living) Tennessean tour. We presented to two classes. It was great.


Laura Sims

Hi Angela,

I LOVE the Vocabulary Parade idea! Thanks for sharing it! My question is what do you actually have the kids DO for the "parade" part? I think I can get the kids to choose a word and illustrate it well through a costume, but then what? When I do this, it will probably be just my class. We can definitely share our costumes with classmates in the room, but I'm not sure what to do besides that. What do you think?


Angela Bunyi

Hey Melanie,

What you posted wasn't buzzkill at all. In fact, what we did this year was in response to last year not feeling right. The concept of a book character parade was not working, because students were just wearing Halloween costumes... instead of really connecting it to a book character, they were grabbing a book out the door. The vocabulary parade seemed more meaningful and allowed the gamut on outfits: from Halloween costumes, to students who brought in a few balloons to demonstrate bouyancy...it really worked!

So, this year my room and another decided to incorporate the vocabulary portion in ADDITION to the book character option. It was not school-wide for us. I was surprised that ALL but one student showed up with a costume. The one that didn't have an outfit held the coveted book near the banner. And I guess I got lucky, but I didn't have to help any of my students with the costumes...of course- they are older.

Regarding how to help pre K-K:

I shared Debra Frasier's website with my parents, as well as the print-out sheet with ideas. I think the slide show is very helpful. I would also consider it an option instead of a requirement. That way you don't have to stress about helping everyone having an outfit.

Sharing with others- After we finished we came back in and had each student share their outfit with the class. We tried to see if it was good enough to figure out the meaning. This was very educational and fun! From here, we voted on our top three favorite:

1. Inflame
2. Dishevelled
3. Condensation

I think that would work well with pre K-K too. :)

Happy Halloween...my son is going to be Slappy from Scholastic's Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps).


Melanie D. Glenn

Hi! Wow, your costumes look great! I really love this idea, but I hate to be a buzz kill. Well, here's my opinion about it.

For older students, it is an EXCELLENT idea, but not so much for the younger students. As a former kindergarten teacher the work seemed to fall back on me. Whether it was for the Book Parade or for the Vocabulary Parade, the teachers in Pre-K and Kindergarten had to do most of the work for at least 1/2 the class or more. The first 2 years that I taught kindergarten, our school did the Book Parade. I am not so sure that children at this age really learn anything from it. Especially, if you have to do all of the work or you throw a costume on them and send them out the door.

When we had the book parade, the parents would just send their students to school in the Halloween Costumes and you would be resposible for finding them a book that would go with it. Is that really learning?

The Vocabulary Parade does not work very well either. Last year, I sent a list of words that the students could use. I thoroughly informed the parents and the students and showed examples on what to do. They could even come up with their own word if they wanted to as long as, they let me know what the word was first. I wanted to make sure that no one had the same word. I even sent home supplies to help out. Unforunately, the parents knew that they would have to help and/or do most of the work and they didn't have the time or the means to do it.

The only other option that you have to make sure that you do not end up doing all of the work, is to make them in your classroom. It's often hard to find the time to do that when there is so much to cover in the classroom. As a kindergarten teacher, it will take up a lot of time, especially if you plan to do it in the beginning of the school year. Kindergarteners don't work as fast in the beginning of the year as they do after Christmas. They are still developing fine motor skills.

If I had to do it all over again, I would use the theme that we were working on during the week and the students and I would come up with vocabulary words that go along with the theme. We would add the words to the word wall and journal about them. The students would be more aware of their vocabulary word and what it meant. I would, also have volunteers to sign up to help. This would give me some extra hands and save some time.

Do you have any suggestions on how to make it more meaningful to the students at this age? (Pre-K & K)

I wasn't trying to discourage anyone from your WONDERFUL IDEA, I just wanted to prepare them for what could happen to them. We were not informed about the change until a little over a week before the parade was to happen and we had never done a Vocabulary Parade before, so that didn't help either. All the Pre-K & Kindergarten teachers stayed after school to create about 12 of the costumes for the students that may not arrive with one. I really think that no matter how much time or supplies that you give the students, you will be stuck creating some of them yourself.

I would love to hear your suggestions.

Much Respect,

Comments are closed. Please see Classroom Solutions, our new blog for the 2009-2010 school year. And stay tuned for Teaching Matters with Angela Bunyi and Beth Newingham.

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