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Recreation Therapists planning for October....

halloween1.gif (3341 bytes) Special event activities reinforces reality orientation. Special event activities give people topics to talk about in their conversations. Special event activities give individuals something to look forward to. Special event activities....
  1. Special Events Days
  2. Facts
  3. Birthdays
  4. Activities
  5. Links to Halloween web sites
  6. Poem

October Special Event Days

  • 1st Monday- Child Health Day
  • 2nd Monday- Columbus Day
  • 2nd Monday- Canadian Thanksgiving Day
  • 1st week- National Pickled Pepper Week
  • 1st week- National Health Care Food Service Week
  • 1st week- National Nursing Home Resident Rights Week
  • Last week- National Pastoral Care Week
  • 4th Sunday- United Nations Day
  • National Popcorn Poppin' Month
  • National Apple Month
  • OktoberFest
  • Pizza Festival Time Month
  • Fish and Seafood Month
  • National Physical Therapy Month
  • Family Health Month
  • 15- World Poetry Day
  • 16- National Boss Day
  • 18- Alaska Day
  • 31- Nevada Day
  • 31- Halloween
  • 31- Reformation Day (observed by Protestants)

October Facts

  • Birthstone- opal or tourmaline
  • Flower- Calendula
  • 1- first Model T Ford placed on the market (1908)
  • 8- the Great Chicago fire on 1871 burned for 30 hours
  • 17- John Brown's raid in 1859 seized the US arsenal
  • 19- British surrenders at Yorktown in 1781
  • 19- Thomas Edison demonstrated the light bulb (1879)
  • 28- Statue of Liberty dedicated in 1886
  • 29- Blackest day in stock market history (1929)

October Birthdays

  • 1- Julie Andrews (1935)
  • 8- Chevy Chase (1943)
  • 8- Sigourney Weaver ((1949)
  • 11- John Candy (1950)
  • 14- Harry Anderson (1952)
  • 18- Chuck Barry (1926)
  • 23- Johnny Carson (1925)
  • 25- Helen Reddy (1941)

Activities for October

halloween3.gif (3032 bytes)

Here are some items the participants might draw or act.

1) Halloween game of "Win, Lose or Draw" or charades
Friday the 13th Goblin Frankenstein Jack O'Lantern
Candied Apples Black Candy Angel
Scary movies Witches Bobbing for apples Skeleton
Werewolf Black cat Parade Popcorn
Princess Decorations The Munsters Batman
Full Moon Trick or Treat Broom Costumes
Boo Bigfoot "Trick or Treat? Godzilla
Hallown2.gif (1760 bytes)  

2) HALLOWEEN PARADE- invite your local school to send their kids to parade in the halls or dining room of your rehab or long-term care facility. Have refreshments afterwards.

3) GHOST STORIES- during small groups on Halloween day, invite participants to share stories they heard when they were kids

AGE APPROPRIATENESS?- many staff wonder if Halloween activities are age appropriate for older residents or patients. Did you know that Halloween is one of the biggest adult "holiday?" Some of the biggest adult parties of the year occur on Halloween. Adults spend more money on their Halloween than kids!! Its an opportunity for adults to "hide" behind a costume and a mask and "let down their hair."
oct1.gif (1745 bytes) 4) OKTOBERFEST-
  • Invite a German band to entertain
  • Have a food sampling event... sausage, sauerkraut, strudel.
  • Setup a display of German costumes, beer mugs, etc.
  • Coordinate with the dietary department and "create" a beer hall program complete with an umpa band, beer (for facilities that can have them), German foods, dancers, and decorations.

For clients who don't like the idea of Halloween....

invite participants of your local county fair to display their products (jelly, fruits, canned goods, art work, etc.) at your facility. Have an area outside for lamb, calves, rabbits and other animals your local 4-Hers may have raised. Invited the 4-Hers to a lamb dressing contest with the residents or patients as judges. Invite farmers or local farm equipment dealer to bring in farm equipment to display.

oct2.gif (1386 bytes)

6) Invite your clients to submit a top ten list on a given topic
submitted by Josh Barol

Top Ten Ways of Knowing If You Are A Vampire:

  1. You start wearing spf 1000 suntan lotion
  2. You drool when you watch Chicago Hope
  3. You have to put a photograph of yourself on the mirror
  4. Your bed has a lid on it.
  5. Nobody wants to neck with you.
  6. Your dog tries to bury you when you take a nap.
  7. You start seeing history books with your picture in them.
  8. Your orthodontist runs out of the room screaming.
  9. You ask for 2 straws to drink your bloody marys.
  10. You catch fire every time the PTL club comes on the TV!
oct4.gif (4779 bytes) 7) Eat a Spider
submitted by Leslie Engel, CTRS of Shriner's Hospital

Size of Group: 5-10

Equipment: peanut butter, Ritz crackers, M&M's, stick pretzels, knife, paper towels, food color (optional)

To provide an opportunity for social interaction
To provide an opportunity for success
To increase fine/gross motor skill manipulation as they R/T leisure
To increase the ability to listen and follow oral directions appropriately

Description: This activity is great for Halloween!! Add food coloring to the peanut butter (optional). Examples: Red=blood; green=guts. Spread peanut butter onto Ritz crackers. Add "legs" or pretzel sticks so that they stick out on the sides. Top with another Ritz cracker.

Next add the "eyes" or M&M's. (To help hold the "eyes" in place, add a small amount of peanut butter).

That's it!! All done, no baking involved. The patients love this simple, inexpensive treat!!

8. Halloween Pumpkin Hunt
submitted by Lynn Mueller of Palm Garden Vero Beach

For Halloween, go to any dollar store and buy small plastic pumpkins (you can find hollow ones to "stuff") or solid small plastic pumpkins. Hide at least one in each room occupied by a resident (semi private--hide two). You can even write a specific prize right on the pumpkin, so whoever finds it will know they have won something special. Hide the rest throughout the facility.

Last year we held a Halloween Costume Contest in our largest dining room in the afternoon. (it was for residents and staff) For this year's Pumkin Hunt, we will highlight the residents who find the most pumpkins and give out prizes to the "special prize winners."

You can do fund raisers to get gift certificates to local ice cream shops or local restaurants so the residents can spend time on an outting with their family or as scheduled by your activities department.

Have fun & Happy Hunting

7. Want more? Here are links to some great Halloween web sites:


8. Jack-O-Balloon
Submitted by Charnice Gustafson of Harvard Square Senior Retirement on October 27, 2003

Size: Any

Equipment: Orange 12"" Helium Balloons, Green Curling Ribbon, Coffee Cup Lids, Black Permanent Marker, & Water.

Objective: A safe way to allow residents to have Jack-O-Lantern and a cheap way to decorate.

Description: You start by taking a 12"" balloon, add about a half cup of water, then proceed to blow the balloon up. Once you have the size you want tie the balloon in a knot and tie four pieces of ribbon to the knot. Each ribbon should be about 16 inches long. Turn the balloon up right so that the ribbon is at the top. Curl the ribbon. Your residents can now use the black permanent marker to draw Jack-O-Lantern faces on the balloon. When the Jack-O-Balloon is finish you will set it upon the coffee cup lid for balance.


Promised Land

Thanksgiving started long ago
when Pilgrims stopped to pray,
a thankful prayer with their new friends
on this special day.

Roast turkey and a fine fat goose
corn, tatoes, and some pie,
were just a few things that they shared
as their new friends wondered why?

"A new land where great freedom rings"
they shouted with great joy,
the freedom to be what you want
whether you're a girl or boy.

The prayer that day might have been
thank you Lord Most High,
for all the blessings you bestowed
on us that did not die.

Thank you for our safety
as we traveled from afar,
thank you for the food and friends
and for the great north star.

Thank you for the future
our families now can share
with others in this PROMISED LAND
we'll give it love and care.

Remind our children everyday
the sacrifice we made,
to give them hope for future times
don't let the custom fade.

Now Thanksgiving Day is here again
so take you loved ones hand,
and don't forget to thank the Lord

submitted by Kim Dankiw of Infinia on November 19, 2000


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