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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Folklore for Halloween

There's no better way to link the study of folklore to Halloween than the legend of the headless horseman!

Icabod Pursued by the Headless Horseman” by F.O.C. Darley
Source: Le Magasin Pittoresque, 1849, Public Domain

This morning I let my fingers do the walking (through the Internet) in search of kid-friendly versions of this widely-told legend. This Wikipedia article gave me some good background information and turned me in the right direction. I found a kid-friendly version of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (retold by Anne Collins), as well as texts about the dullahan (Irish folktale), Ewan-of the-Small-Head (Scottish folktale) , and the dund (Indian folklore). These stories will give my students much-needed practice in comparing and contrasting traditional literature (RL.4.9).


As I continued my search on YouTube, I really hit the jackpot! Both Snickers and Walt Disney have created and posted advertisements that include parodies of the headless horseman. My students will have so much fun comparing these visual presentations with the written texts (RL.4.7).


 Dozens of other instructional ideas swirled around in my head. Maybe I'll have my students write their own versions of the headless horseman story. Or they could create skits to depict the folktales. This timeless tale is sure to motivate my students this Halloween! Won't you join us?