The holiday season is coming, beginning with Halloween so I thought I’d share classroom activities that I do as well as some games which really got the kids jumping up and down! As a middle school teacher, I always look forward to the month of October. There’s just so many activities that I can do to scare my students silly and at the same time, throw in ghostly learning here and there!
I hope you will find these ideas useful. You can freely tweak them to meet your students’ needs. I would love to hear what you think about these activities in the comments!
Halloween Classroom Activities
1. Colorful Skulls
I usually kick off Halloween season with this activity which is based off a Mexican holiday called Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. It doesn’t take a lot of class time to do – I just introduce Day of the Dead then give my students the skull outlines to color!
As you will see in the presentation, I make sure students understand that the skulls are supposed to be colorful and festive rather than scary. The products are great on the bulletin board and as Halloween decoration too!
You can download the PowerPoint and skull outlines here.
2. Crime Scene Investigation
This is a hands-on classroom activity where students take on the role of forensics expert to solve a mystery murder case that happened in the classroom. So far, this is always a class favorite!
You can read details here on how to prepare your own crime scene including a sample murder case, evidence, PowerPoint presentation and other stuff I use.
3. Create Spooky Character Poster
- Students research about their chosen spooky character from books or movies.
- They make an illustration on A3 paper
- Students write the name of the character, a short description and their source.
- Students present their character in front of the class.
Download my short PowerPoint instruction here.
4. Read a Ghost Story
At least one of my activities for this spooky season involves reading a ghost story! And I do it in the spookiest way possible!
I prepared a reading worksheet which involves predicting/inference for the story I got from American Folklore called Axe Murder Hollow. I hand out the story to each student and tell them not to read it in advance as we will do it at the same time.
I turn some lights off to make the room spookier but make sure there’s enough light for reading. I play this creepy, suspenseful music on YouTube, show the static (dark woods) image of the video on the projector and tell them to imagine that this is where the story happened.
I love the suspense of this activity! I do a dramatic reading and occasionally scare students using sound effects (thunder) while they are writing. We stop reading intermittently for a minute or two to do some predicting which really builds up the suspense! I give commentaries here and there to make sure the students make a mental picture of the scenes and in the climax when everybody is quiet, I give them a good, loud scream!!! AAAARRRGGHHH! Always gets them every time! Lol.
5. Halloween Mystery Box
I use this activity, also known as Halloween feel box, as a reward or as an incentive in my classroom. Whoever finishes the task early or whatever gets to feel what’s inside my Mystery Box.
I tell my students that I caught a witch and filled our mystery box with its body parts. So every week, I come up with a different gross feeling object and add whatever twist I want. They always get curious and excited to touch the witch’s brains, the eye balls, fingers, etc! Their reactions are priceless!
To make your mystery box you can use any small box such as a shoe box or a cardboard box taped shut. You can wrap the box in Halloween-themed wrapping paper. Orange or black wrappers are great. Cut a small hole in the top of the box or the front of the box only big enough to stick in a hand. Decorate as you’d like.
6. Watch MJ’s Thriller!
Michael Jackson’s Thriller is a classic, awesome way to introduce or talk about Halloween to your students! I teach ESL kids so as usual I made a worksheet for them to answer while listening/watching the video!
7. Show and Tell
In this activity, I ask my students to create any Halloween craft at home, bring it to school and talk about it! I show them some sample crafts I found online just to give them some ideas on what to do. It always surprises me how creative they can be!
In the “telling” part, students tell the class four things:
- the name of the craft;
- what materials they used;
- the “process” how they made it;
- and its function (as a decoration, for trick or treating, prank, etc)
8. Creative Story Writing
In this writing activity, I prepare 10 of each of the following elements of a story: character, time, place and situation. I have my students select 4 numbers (from 1 to 10) which corresponds to an item on each of the elements. The first number is the character their stories are to focus on, the second number is the time for their stories, and so on.
Students should write their numbers on their notebook which they cannot change after. Then I show them this PowerPoint and they take notes of the elements of their own story. Students can add characters or setting, but their chosen elements should be the focus of the story.
9. Make a Social Media Posts for a Halloween Character
I made social media templates that students can edit directly in a word processing doc. I ask them to make a fake Facebook account for a Halloween character like Dracula or Frankenstein or ask them to post a photo Instagram style.
10. Watch Short Clips
There are tons of short horror videos on YouTube! And by short I mean 2-5 minutes short! When I finish the lesson early, I show my students a video or two! They love it! They even beg to watch at least one every day but sadly I can’t always grant their request. I do it only when we have time to spare!
Halloween Classroom Games
1. Killer Game aka Wink Murder
- Students sit on the floor in one large circle.
- Ask them to close their eyes and bow their heads.
- Select one person to be the killer and another student as a policeman by tapping/poking them in the head.
- The killer will wink at other students. When a student is winked at they must die and fall to the floor. I tell them to make a dramatic death. It’s funny!
- The policeman stands in the center of the circle. His/her goal is to figure out who the killer is before everyone is out or before the time runs out (2-3 minutes).
- If the policeman guesses correctly, everyone is revived and a new killer is selected (you can reward that student with candy or whatever reward).
- If that student (guesses wrong) levels a baseless accusation against a fellow classmate, well.. thats just uncalled for and the accuser is out.
Variation: If you have a bigger class, and to make the game more challenging, you can vary the number of killers and more police officers per round.
2. Halloween Charades
- Participants will one at a time, select a piece of paper from a hat/bowl and have to act out the Halloween clue. It could be a costume, a thing, an emotion, an action and so on related to Halloween.
- Participants cannot speak.
- The participants that guesses it right, gets to go up and act out the next thing.
Example of what participants can act out: ghost, vampire, witch, werewolf, scarecrow, mummy, scared, spider, pirate, zombie, eating candy, carving a pumpkin, haunted house, bobbing for apples, trick-or-treating. I made a ready-to-cut one for you!
3. The Walking Dead
- The teacher counts to three. During this countdown students can run anywhere in the room but must freeze when it hits three.
- The teacher then selects two students at random, or whatever order makes the game more fun.
- Those two students play rock paper scissors. The loser is a zombie!
- That zombie can take a total of 5 steps and if he/she can infect 2 other students within those 5 steps by touching them. Those that the zombie touched though are out of the game and sit down.
4. The Walking Dead 2
- Students scatter in the room with eyes close.
- Select one student to be the first zombie. That student will raise his/her hands like a zombie, eyes closed, while walking around the room.
- The zombie should make a zombie sound. That way, other students would know if a zombie is close.
- When the zombie touches another student, that person will become a zombie too!
- Continue until everybody turns into a walking dead!
- Students will get back to normal if two zombies touch each other. It’s fun!
5. Secret Zombie Conversation Game
This is a fun conversation activity that, although they talk in pairs, involves the whole class!
The scenario is that a virus has attacked the world and everybody is turning into a zombie! The virus is contagious – it affects everyone it touches – and students have to reach the safe zone before it’s too late!
See this PowerPoint for complete game instructions.
Halloween Online Games
1. Safety Game
This online game created by Halloween Magazine provides fun way for families and students to learn Halloween Safety while trick-or-treating. If you’re students are going to go door to door trick-or-treating, you should, you can let them play.
2. ABCYA Games
ABCYA website has two fun Halloween-theme games that I recommend which kids can play online!
- Ghost Typing – an educational activity for children of all ages to practice keyboarding. Players must type the letters that are on the ghosts before they get too close! If the ghosts get too close the game is over!
- Word Search – these puzzles can be created two ways: a small grid with shorter words or a larger grid with longer words.