I love Halloween! When I worked as a traditional pull-out special education teacher, I missed out on most of the halloween fun. Everything I taught had to be based on child’s IEP goals. This was never a problem, but I did find myself pining after a good halloween activity. Eventually I found some things that I could link with their goals and could be academic! Below I am sharing my favorites that I taught, and the favorites that I completed in school.
1. R.I.P. …
This is my all time favorite. Not only do I have the opportunity to display some student work, but I also have a graveyard decoration up in my classroom. Essentially, you just cut out different tombstones, stick some lined paper on it, and then “voila,” you have a graveyard. I typically had the students write about behaviors that they want to Rest In Peace. However you could do this with a word or phrase you want your students to stop using, or some type of habit you want your kids to erase. Then have them write about it.
2. Pick A Halloween Book To Add To Your Regular Reading Lessons
My other way to incorporate halloween into the rotation was picking a Halloween book. Then I would use the book however I was planning on practicing reading in a regular lesson. That meant that I would either use it as partner reading, choral reading (I read and then stop when everyone reads a word), or would teach the book using specific sounds. Of course you can also use these with any comprehension activity.
Note: Make sure you pre-teach the book. Many children’s books are not tiered for young readers. That means you may need to pre-teach several words and sounds.
Here’s my favorite books:
- This Is the House The Monsters Built
- Monster Trouble
- Creepy Carrots
- The Witches (4-6 grade)
- The Graveyard Book (6-8 grade)
- And Then There Were None (9-12 grade)
- The Tell Tale Heart or Cask Of Amontillado (6-12 grade)
- Beowolf (7-12 grades)
3. Solve A Mystery Using Context Clues
My 8th grade english teacher did this for us, and I still remember it today! I LOVED it! We came in one day and found a body shape taped on the floor. Then several students dressed up as witnesses and gave us information on event. Next we all had to use the information given to solve the murder mystery! Here’s one free idea here.
4. Set Up A Classroom Debate Using Evidence
I love Halloween books because they are often mysteries. An example of this would be to read Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, and then debate whether or not the murder was crazy. Split the class into sides and then have the students bring evidence to prove their point.
5. Create Something Spooky
Doing a unit on poems? Short stories? Word problems? Graphing? Chemistry experiments? Have students create a Halloween themed version. Make it spooky. As a music teacher I love October because we get to make everything minor and sppoooookkkkkyyyy.
6. Complete Experiments With Halloween Candy
This could be used to practice scientific methods, observation skills, evidence based reasoning, writing out steps to replicate, practicing to read steps, and whatever creativity you can come up with! Here are some fun ideas for experiments.
7. Mummify A Cornish Game Hen
Learning about anatomy? How about ancient Egypt? This is a really cool activity that will create high engagement with your students! I did this in 7th grade and it blew my mind. Check out how to do it here.
8. Dissect An Owl Pellet Or Worm
I remember doing owl pellets this on in 6th grade. We pulled it apart and then attempted to put together a mouse skeleton on a black piece of paper. This was cool to do in 6th grade because it went right along with learning human anatomy. Here’s where to get these pellets.
9. Analyze A Spooky Podcast, Horror Movie, Or Book
Now you probably can’t watch the movie, but you can go over the summary of it. And there are plenty of spooky podcasts and books out there for kids. Then have students critically analyze it. You can do this as a class for practice, or have students pick their own and do it individually.
10. Create Math Worksheets That Give Facts About Halloween
There are several ideas on this online, but you can really tailor it to your subject area. You could do this question and answer style (How many pounds of candy are purchased on average? Then make the answer to the problem the answer to the question.), or have each answer build off the last solution.
All right! Let me know if there’s one of these you love! And do you have any other ideas? Share them here!