Boo! by Trout Fishing in America

This new song and video from Trout Fishing in America is a perfect choice for Hallowe’en. Enjoy the video, learn the song, and then pick and choose from this list of activities:

  • The song begins with a list of scary things: clowns, shadows, scratching noises at windows… Ask students to list things they find scary.
  • The second verse describes telling someone about the scary things and not being believed. Have students write a story about this experience. Younger students could write about what it feels like to worry about monsters even though they don’t exist, but older students could imagine a case in which there really is something to fear and the narrator of the story can’t make anyone take action.
  • This song is like the traditional “jump story” in which the teller of the tale tells a suspenseful story in a quiet voice and then shouts to make listeners jump. Another example is “The Teeny Tiny Woman.” Compare “Boo!” and “The Teeny Tiny Woman” — click through for more about it. For older students, form groups and have each group write a jump story and then tell it to the class.
  • Have students list the visual elements of the video that make it scary.
  • The video is made with shadow puppets. Click through to learn more about this art form, and to try it with your class.
  • The scarecrow in the video literally loses his head. People who are scared sometimes are said to lose their heads. Have students interview people in their families to create as long a list as possible of expressions like this.
  • There are other characters in the video, and some might be monsters. Click through to find ideas for lessons about monsters.
  • The word “Boo!” is written in big, puffy letters in the video. Have students fill a sheet of paper with the word and then decorate it with scary things, either drawn or added in collage form. Create a bulletin board with the scary projects.
  • Ask students what scary sounds are in the video. Have students identify the instruments they hear and discuss how the musicians make the sounds seem scary.
  • Listen to other pieces of music that are often considered scary, such as “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Grieg, “Danse Macabre” by Saint-Saens, or “Night on Bald Mountain” by Mussogorsky. Challenge students to identify characteristics that these pieces share with “Boo!”
  • Being scared may not be fun, but feeling scared when you know you’re safe is fun.  Create a class bar graph showing how many students enjoy scary movies, roller coasters, spooky books, or ghost stories.
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