Hands up who secretly loves this time of year? Whether your students are Halloween fans or total newbies, it’s a lot of fun to inject some spook into your lessons. Here are 11 Halloween activities for young (and not-so-young) learners.
1. Candy tasting
Pre-teach vocabulary relating to food taste and texture (think squishy, sour, acidic, sweet, sugary, sugar-coated, sticky, bland, chewy, and citrusy). Then comes the fun part! Hand out Halloween candy, giving each student a few different types to try. Students can compare their likes and dislikes with a partner, rank the candy from most to least favorite, or practice comparatives and superlatives (“This one is less sticky than the first”, “The candy snakes are sweeter than the spiders”).
2. Tongue twisters
These are always wonderful for a giggle in class. Try your hand (and mouth!) at:
- If two witches would watch two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
- The ochre ogre ogled the poker
- Don’t buy big black cats or blind bats’ blood!
- Creepy crawler critters crawl through creepy crawly craters
- Gobbling gargoyles gobbled gobbling goblins
- Seven spindly spiders spin spooky silk speedily.
- If big black bats could blow bubbles, how big of bubbles would big black bats blow?
- Which witch wished which wicked wish?
- Ghostly ghouls gather gleefully to golf on ghostly golf courses
3. Real-life symbols
Share the major symbols of Halloween and talk about the holiday’s origins. If you can, bring some in for students to get to know. We know it’s not easy to bring in a witch or bat, so why not try:
- Pumpkins – Associated with Halloween because of their abundance in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year; carved to create jack-o-lanterns.
- Corn and wheat stalks – These represent the end of the harvest and the changes in the seasons. They were also used to stuff scarecrows, which were built to defend against evil spirits.
- Apples – This symbol has origins in the Celtic festival of Samhain that marked the end of the harvest and the start of the winter months. As a part of this, Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and fertility, was honored.
4. Get messy
Carve jack-o-lanterns (with older students) and bob for apples (have towels ready!). Fill a jar with candy and have a “how many pieces of candy in the jar” guessing competition (the winner takes the jar home). Or, purchase a plump pumpkin and ask students to guess its weight.
5. Creepy walks
Young children will enjoy this silly activity. Ask your class to walk/race in ways inspired by Halloween creatures and beings. Roll like a pumpkin, fly like a witch, stagger like a mummy, stalk like a cat. Give the game a Charades spin and have the students guess what character is on show.
6. Halloween Celebrity Heads
Adapt the classic game to Halloween by using characters from the season. If your students are unfamiliar with Halloween, pre-teach useful vocabulary: think witch, bat, Dracula, ghost, mummy, Frankenstein, candy, haunted house, spider web, pumpkin, and broomstick.
7. Sensory boxes
Create a disgustingly memorable experience with sensory boxes. You’ll need boxes with small openings (think tissue boxes) or boxes with a fabric cover with a slit cut in it. Now, fill each boxes with a different sensorial experience: think corn kernels (witches’ teeth), cornflour mixed with water (slime), cold cooked rice (maggots), etc. Students will put their hands inside the boxes to feel what’s inside, without looking, and describe what it may be.
8. Ghost story writing
Do a chain-writing activity or give students free writing time to create their own ghost story using starters you’ve written on the board. Before they start, brainstorm different spooky settings (a haunted house, abandoned train station, empty cornfield). If your students are performative types, you may like to have them tell their stories to the class (complete with dimmed lighting and flashlights to improve the ambiance).
9. Halloween bingo
Another classic game that can be easily adapted to suit the season. Pre-teach relevant vocabulary, then have students cross them off their bingo boards.
10. “I went trick-or-treating and I saw”
A twist on the classic “I went shopping…” activity. Students sit in a circle and take turns adding to the tale. (Student A: “I went trick-or-treating and I saw a ghost,” Student B: “I went trick-or-treating and I saw a ghost and a haunted house,” etc). The challenge is to remember everything that came first!
11. Twenty items
This fun memory game now has a Halloween twist. Prepare 10-20 items to do with Halloween and put them on a table. (Think cotton wool for a spider’s web, a rubber spider, witch’s hat, toy snake, pumpkin, Dracula’s teeth, miniature broomstick, etc.) Ask students to close their eyes and take away an object. Their job is to remember what has disappeared.