Do you observe Hallowe’en in your classroom? Some do, with parties and costume parades and all, and some don’t.
Maybe you (or your district, parents, community leaders, administration…) disapprove of Halloween and would rather not bring it into the classroom at all, but you feel like you spend the whole month of October avoiding the subject. Maybe you love Halloween and want to include it in every class you teach. Maybe you don’t care one way or the other, but it’s on the list of things you’re supposed to cover, or your students ask about it and you figure you might as well be a bit seasonal.
Whatever your situation, we have lesson plans for you. Finesse the question by studying bones, harvest, or chocolate. Celebrate with monsters and vampires. Go with the classics, or take the subject to high tech heights. Here’s a great collection of lessons and ideas for the season:
- Background info on the history of the holiday from History.com
- Vampire Lesson Plans
- Monster Classroom Theme Ideas
- Hansel and Gretel is spooky enough for anyone, without any overt holiday overtones.
- Cinderella is another fairy tale and it includes a pumpkin.
- The Teeny Tiny Woman is the perfect first scary story, and there are upper level lit and writing lesson plans, too.
- Dia de Los Muertos Lesson Plans
- Halloween candy math
- Chocolate Lesson Plans
- Fungus Lesson Plans include the witchcraft/ergot science connection.
- Bones Lesson Plans
- Werewolf Lesson Plans focus on literature.
- Ghost Stories Lesson Plans are all about reading and writing.
- Haunted House Lesson Plans include architecture, art, and reading.
- The Ghost of John is a fun Hallowe’en song, and we’ve got lesson plans for it at the link.
- Pumpkin Lesson Plans include math, science, and writing.
- Mummy lesson plans look at archaeology, Ancient Egypt, and the interesting story of “The Mummy’s Curse” that took on urban myth status after the opening of King Tut’s tomb.
Here are some astronomy offerings, in case you want to be seasonal without any spookiness:
- A good article on the astronomical significance of Halloween from NASA for your students to read. From the same author, Halloween Sky Show. Compare the writing styles of the two pieces, since you can’t look at the night sky during the school day anyway.
- A more detailed article about cross-quarter days and their significance in terms of weather, including some great charts and diagrams for your visual literacy practice.
- Use Google Sky to see the things you’ve been reading about.
There are some great seasonal opportunities for practicing using computer input devices:
- Here’s an interactive haunted house with lots of reading and some clicking
- A little basic mouse practice for the youngest students at Meddybemps.
- PBS Halloween games
- Click and drag practice with virtual pumpkin carving. Halloween printables:
- A Hallowe’en-themed printable book on shapes. Jack o-Lanterns make a great shape exercise, but this book carries it further, and gives you coloring pages to boot.
- A Hallowe’en card game to print out and play like Old Maid, or to use for practicing complex sentences. Try out a very similar resource in French for your French classes.
- Fun Hallowe’en stuff from The Toymaker.
- A report planner for guiding research on the holiday.
- a primary-level holiday wordsearch.
- Jan Brett’s Hallowe’en bookmarks and Hallowe’en placemat.
- A Jack o’ Lantern luminaria pattern with directions.
- Hallowe’en lunchbox notes from Activity Village are on the page right by a bunch of other links.
- Potion labels for ambience — but we’d use them for writing prompts, too. They range from the cute and sweet to the creepy.
- From the same artist, Phee McFaddell, a complex moving cat puppet. For following directions, for practicing paper skills, or for a very fancy bulletin board.
We aren’t usually that big on printables — for one thing, with the price of printer inks and toners, they cost as much as ready-made, take way more time, and they often aren’t as good. So here we have collected only the ones that we think really are worth your time, ink, and trouble.
Our favorite Halloween books:
- In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting
- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
- Shake Dem Halloween Bones by W. Nikola-Lisa. See our Shake Dem Halloween Bones lesson plans for fun ideas you can use right away.
- Dem Bones by Bob Barner
- Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
- Piggie Pie! by Margie Palatini
- Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood
- Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
Literature choices for your upper elementary to high school students (click for lesson plans):
Fun stuff for the classroom:
- Halloween Hanging Bats – 3 Piece Set
- Color Your Own Halloween Bingo Game
- Martha Stewart Window Cling Silhouette Skeleton
- Spooky Buddy Bands
Great ideas! Some years, I had to dance around the subject, due to parental wishes. Other years, we were able to go full tilt with working Halloween plans into and across the curriculum. I like this list; there’s something to suit every need. Thanks for putting it together!
It’s true, it can really vary from one year to another, depending on the population. I’m glad you found something useful. Thanks for joining us!