Let’s be honest. Halloween is not one of the best days for teachers-even worse, the day after. So, unless the day lands on a weekend, chances are you’re going to be somehow involved in Halloween festivities. So, other than sitting and eating junk food while dressed in costumes, what other activities can a teacher do with their class while still celebrating Halloween?
We’ve got some great ideas for you to help keep things in check!
If you have students that don’t don’t celebrate Halloween, communicate your plans with parents so they can make the decision about whether or not their child can participate.
Pumpkin Designer Contest
Instead of pumpkins, students get a balloon and Sharpie marker. They design a pumpkin on the balloon. Balloons are fun for any age. Just be sure the marker is dry before playing with the balloon (or you’ll have lots of students with interesting marks on their hands and faces).
The Tiniest Jack-O-Lantern
Give each student a grape and a Sharpie. See what they can create. Any tiny roundish object will work. And if you’re looking for a laugh use Google Search to look up “faces on grapes.”
Sometimes you just want a quiet, clean and simple to prepare activity and that’s where our Halloween Reading & Writing Activities come in. It’s filled with reading, writing and puzzle activities which can keep your students busy while learning and having fun.
There are actual lessons about main idea and supporting details, so you won’t have to spend all your time justifying that you are teaching instead of just having fun.
If you are looking for lots of logic puzzles with a Halloween theme, we’ve got you covered for that, too!
Put students in groups of 4-5 students. One student is the mummy and the others will help wrap the student in one roll of toilet paper. No tape, scissors or glue allowed. Which group can cover the student the best? This can be lots of fun so be sure to take some video to share with parents.
Be sure to have a conversation with your class about being respectful of the person your wrapping by making sure they aren’t hurting or touching the person in a way they would feel uncomfortable.
Toilet Paper Sculptures
You might want a few parent volunteers for this activity. It’s lots of fun, but it takes a bit of prep (that’s where those parent helpers come in).
Take the toilet paper mentioned above in the mummy activity and have students rip it up into lots of little pieces. Place it in a big bucket. Gradually add 1/4 cup of flour per roll of toilet paper and add 1/4 cup of water per roll of toilet paper, mixing with your hands as you go. If you have more than one bin, you can have a few mixing at a time.
We recommend having a student mix while you measure and add the ingredients so you can monitor the mixing. Continue to mix and knead until the dough is manageable (it will make and hold a ball).
Place a piece of parchment paper on each student’s desk. Give a handful of dough to each student and have them sculpt their dough into something creative. Let the sculptures dry overnight on the parchment paper. This is much easier to clean up when it’s dry. Be careful not to wash any of the dough down the drain.
We found that five rolls of toilet paper worked for a class of about twenty-six kids. Their sculptures were about 5 cm tall/wide.
Students can paint the toilet paper, but we found that using markers worked better as it didn’t get the sculpture wet again.
Design a Haunted House
What would happen if your classroom was converted into a haunted house? Don’t worry, you don’t have to actually host a haunted house, but you can have students take some graph paper and design one.
Tie in a bit of math with area and perimeter for fun, too. Make it even more exciting by actually building a haunted house and hosting other classes.
If you don’t want to go that far, have students build a mini version out of cardboard. Before you start the project, check out our free checklist for Project Based Learning. We also have this whole post full of other ideas for Critical Thinking Challenges.
Bring in some of the favourite candy choices of your students and have them graph the amounts. Or, poll students to create their own graphs.
Basically you could graph anything-costumes, number of people who go trick-or-treating, number of Batmans in the school parade.
Have a Mini Dance Party
Just put on some music and dance it out for a while to break up the day. Do some dances that include the whole class like the Chicken Dance, Macarena or line dancing.
Read a Halloween Book
There are so many great Halloween stories out there and older students love picture books (even though they like to pretend they don’t. Pick up a collection of picture books and teach some basic comprehension strategies using them. Check out this post by Little Teacher Wife to get more ideas for books that you can use to teach English skills with picture books.
Pair up students to come up with a clever or silly description of their partner’s costume. Set up a runway in the classroom so the fashion show can have a catwalk. Christmas lights or flashlights can make it more interesting and it’s easy to find runway music on YouTube that just runs in the background.
And for some ingenious ideas, check out this list of ideas of Educational Costumes: Dressing Up With a Purpose from Rooster’s Teaching Resources. These ideas can work any time of year-not just Halloween!
Divide your students into groups or three to four students and give them a pumpkin. Before handing out the pumpkins you may want to use a large knife to cut through the top of the pumpkin to make a lid. This way your students won’t have to do any cutting.
Have your students weigh the pumpkin, measure it’s circumference, dig out the insides, count the seeds and play with the goop from the guts. They could even make some ugly pumpkin art on metal cookie sheets. Take photos to display the art.
We’ve done this with our students in grade four and five and they had so much fun. Yes, they made a mess, but it was nothing some wash cloths and a mop couldn’t fix.
If you are looking for more Halloween activities that stick to learning outcomes, you should check out this great post by Vestal’s 21st Century Classroom. She has lots of reading and writing activities.
Donut (Or apple or carrot) On A String
This is a great alternative to bobbing for apples (which can be a little unsanitary).
Tie a donut (or your healthier choice alternative) on a string and hang it where your students can reach it with their mouth. It can be higher for standing students or shorter for students that sit. They can try to eat it without touching it with their hands. Lots of fun!
One year we tied the food to the backs of chairs so it hung just above the floor. Student laid down on the floor and tried to eat the food from there. It was so much fun that we did it again later in the year.
Styrofoam Cup Bowling
This one is pretty easy to set up. Draw some scary faces on six styrofoam cups. Stack them in a pyramid. Use a lightweight ball (a beach ball is perfect) to go bowling. Your students can even make their own sets and play all around the room.
You can make more durable versions of this using tin cans that have been painted white. You can even paint them orange to have them look like pumpkins.
An Interesting Alternative to Typical Slime: Gloose Slime
This is a slime recipe we came across by accident (thinking we were making real slime) and we actually found it lots of fun-but a warning-it is a little messier.
The materials you will need to make one batch:
- 7 tbsp of skim milk
- 2 cups or 2 bowls
- 1 tbsp Vinegar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- a coffee filter
How to Make the Gloose Slime
- Add 7 tablespoons of skim milk to a cup/bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the milk. Gently stir the mixture until solids have formed in the mixture.
- Let the solids settle to the bottom of the mixture.
- Place a coffee filter over the other cup/bowl. Pour the mixture into the filter to drain all the liquid. You might have to let it sit for a bit to drain completely.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the solids and knead together to form a slimy mixture from milk.
Warning: Since this is made from milk, students will need to store their slime in the fridge when they are not using it. Do not leave it in your car until March!
Let Your Students Create Monsters
Use any art materials you have in your room: pencil crayons, paint, crayons, pastels all work. Use black construction paper and ask your students to draw ugly monsters.
This entire lesson involved black paper, white pencil crayons and some googly eyes. So simple and the students had a great time looking at each others’ creations.
For a twist, give all your students some googly eyes. Make the monsters even uglier by giving them two different sized eyes.
Create a Scavenger Hunt (and then go hunting)
Have students come up with the items that they might find in the classroom or out on the playground. If they have devices that can take photos, you can make it a photo find. Possible ideas might be: a math problem, a flower, another country or a piece of fruit.
You’ll want to make clear guidelines about the rules (where students can/can’t go) and how much time they will have to hunt. Maybe you should have teams or small groups.
This can be really fun if you invite another class to join in.
Board Game Battles
So many students don’t get the chance to play board games with other kids these days. Invite your students to bring a favourite board game-be really clear about the criteria so you don’t get any electronic games.
Have a tournament or just let students pick players and play games. Bring a few decks of cards and learn a new game to play together. Keep it simple, but fun. We love this blog post that has simple games students can learn.
Have a Joke Contest
Get your students to find Halloween themed jokes or write their own and then have a mini comedy show. Set the classroom up like a club where students can sit at tables and use towels for table cloths with battery operated tealight candles. Put a spotlight on the performer with a flashlight or two and give them your FM system microphone for the performance.
Create a Drawing Game (and then play it)
Give students index cards and have them write Halloween themed words like: ghost, pumpkin, trick-or-treat and so on. They write one word per card. You may have to sort through them and get rid of the duplicates. Reuse these by writing other words on them.
Have one student choose a card and draw it on the whiteboard. Have the other students try to guess what it is. Don’t keep score.
A twist on this game is to blindfold the person who is drawing so they can’t see what they write. It makes it much harder to guess, but it’s pretty fun for your students.
What activities do you enjoy during Halloween? Let us know in the comments below or send us a note and we’ll add them to our list.