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Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy Celebrates Book-o-ween

07 November 2023

Students were encouraged to wear costumes inspired by a character from one of their favorite books. 

Gunsaulus Parade

While many schools around Chicago host parades to give students an opportunity to display their Halloween costumes, Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy on the Southwest Side took a slightly different approach. To highlight the school’s focus on literacy and help students foster a lifelong love of reading, Gunsaulus celebrated “Book-o-ween.” Students were still able to dress up and participate in a parade around the school, but they were encouraged to wear costumes inspired by a character from one of their favorite books. 

The school’s staff also got in on the fun, often collaborating with their colleagues to dress up based on the same book or series. One classroom’s teachers were inspired by the Arthur series by Marc Brown; another’s dressed up as the mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. 

Parents waited with anticipation as students marched around the block toward the front of the school. Gunsaulus’ youngest learners led the way, followed by its third-grade students. In addition to their colorful costumes, many students held up the book that their costume was based on to emphasize the connection between fun and literacy at Gunsaulus. 

People outside a school building in autumn

One third-grade student who was especially excited about Book-o-ween was Sofia. She’s been a student at Gunsaulus since pre-k, which means that this annual tradition has become a highlight of her experiences at the school. This year she was inspired not only by a book but one of her favorite movies: Ghostbusters. 

She dressed up as Egon Spengler, one of the movie’s main characters known for his intelligence and sometimes socially awkward tendencies. If you are wondering how Sofia made this costume fit the Book-o-ween theme, she recently picked up Ghostbusters: The Inside Story from her school’s library. This book will give her an in-depth look into how the movie was made. While she hasn’t dug into it yet, she is excited to gain a new perspective on the film and is especially interested in its costumes. 

a girl holding a book

Sofia enjoys reading, but her favorite subject is actually math. She’s currently learning division, which she says is going well. Outside of school, she loves to swim. And Book-o-ween isn’t the only event at Gunsaulus that connects back to her interest in books. One of her favorite memories at Gunsaulus is her kindergarten graduation. As part of that event, she and her classmates got to perform a dance inspired by the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

a group of children walking on a sidewalk

Halloween morning was a little chilly this year, meaning that many students wore their coats during the parade. But even though her jacket partially covered her costume, the cold temperatures could not cover Sofia’s joy and excitement while being outside. Her smile could not have been bigger, and she even had one of her classmates hold her copy of her Ghostbusters book so she could wave to the spectators. 

Many aspects make Book-o-ween a special event for Sofia, such as the sense of celebration and community, but one stands out above all others: seeing her mom cheering her on. 

a sign on a fence

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