It is almost that time of the year, when your neighbourhood art teacher sharpens their scissors, reloads their glue gun and turns their fingers into needles. HALLOWEEN IS UPON US! I can confidently say that every art teacher I know and follow loves Halloween. From the idea that you can be anything to the fact that our profession essentially grooms us for the very day, art teachers are obsessed with Halloween and here is why.
1. Halloween = Popular Culture
Halloween costumes each year are indicative of popular culture, also known as visual culture, and can be used as a way to investigate what students are interested in along with society. As stated in Moore’s 2004 article, “Aesthetic Experience in the World of Visual Culture”, teaching visual culture helps practices putting oneself in another’s shoes, for entertaining changes of perception and interpretation, for careful attention to fine distinctions and nuances, for appreciating composition within a frame or framework, and so on. And although kids and adults don’t even know that they are doing it, they are participating in an aesthetic based selection of what and how to present themselves in and through popular culture when dressing up for Halloween.
2. Halloween champions creativity and innovation
Some will always and forever go for the store bought costumes (sacrilege in my opinion) but many people, kids and adults, pull from within and generate innovating Do-It-Yourself costumes on a shoe string budget. What other time of year does the average mom use all of her artistic talent to create a fairy costume for her seven year old? Okay, maybe for school plays but you get my drift.
3. Halloween is the Super Bowl for art teachers
Everything that we do for our job is the equivalent to pre-season training for October 31st. Hoarding toilet paper tubes, knowing where to buy the cheapest fabrics and puffy paint, knowing our way around small hand tools and having a small army of children that could potentially help, gives us a home turf advantage on game day. And like concussions, with every hot glue gun burn we become stronger and are able to cover more yards to score a that 100 GRAND…candy bar.
*No small children were exploited in the making of these costumes.
4. Creating a costume is creating art
If efficient and accurate data entry into an Excel spreadsheet had a holiday, you would be excited too, accountants! Halloween allows art teachers a day in the year where we can showcase our talents and create art via costume design. Like any piece of art, careful planning, sketching, reconnaissance missions for supplies and resources and construction must all be completed before the deadline. Although art teachers are creating art via demos, extracurricular classes and/or on their own time, Halloween is a fun way to practice what we love and celebrate alongside others who have participated in creating something special and artistic for Halloween.
5. You get to be anything you want to be
Think about it! There is a day, a magical day, where we are allowed, kids and adults alike, the opportunity to become anything they want to be. This can be very powerful. Let’s face it, Halloween is no longer about ‘being scary’ it is about changing your appearance in any way that you wish. Like aesthetics in art, dressing up is a way in which we can take from our own experiences and view of the world and see it from another others persons lens. In this case a fairy, penguin, historical figure and/or sexy corpse (ahem).
6. Halloween = candy and partying
Even if you do just buy the store bought costume and want to put minimal effort into the participation of Halloween, remember it is all about candy. Sorry pagans and devil worshipers, this is the truth. Halloween has a soft Tootsie Roll centre. Candy is so powerful we need to teach children not to take candy from a strangers. For adults, it is a reason to dress up, party and indulge in confectionary delights. And if you like pumpkin spice, throw that in there too! What’s not to love!? So get involved and start licking the candy shell to get to that Tootsie Roll centre, why dontcha!?
As you can see, art teachers have their reasons for being obsessed with Halloween and I would be surprised that after reading this, you don’t as well. Halloween is magical! It allows one to escape the rigours of everyday life and become Elsa…and just let it all go…