Halloween is such a fun time of year. We always enjoy carving a pumpkin and reading stories in the dark by our Jack-o-lantern. However, there are other fun activities that can relate to any area of the curriculum. Below are a few that we or other colleagues have done over the years.
Scary pictures: This is a simple writing activity based on the big book “In the Dark, Dark Wood.” First we read the book and then the children create a scary picture and finish the sentence by stretching out their words. The children love this activity and having them draw on black or blue paper makes it really different.
Monster Blobs: To prep this activity fold a piece of paper in half and then open it again. Have the children paint one side of the paper and then fold it in half so that the paint spreads to both sides. Unfold the paper and add eyes. Find out about each monster by asking the children questions such as: “What is your monster’s name? Where does your monster live? What does it like to eat? What does it like to do?” Type their monster descriptions and display them with their pictures. The children like the surprise element when they unfold their paper and their monster is revealed. They are usually very amused by all the interesting monsters that their classmates create.
Witch's Brew: Pretend you are looking for ideas for a brew for Halloween. Go around the circle and ask each child to contribute an ingredient. Encourage the students to use as much descriptive language as possible, such as slimy, slithering, hairy, venomous…
Spiders: Use a small soup bowl for the spider’s body. Paint it black. Once it dries use paints or dark paper crayons to decorate it. Fold or twist strips of black paper for the legs and staple or glue them on. Add eyes. We usually hang the spiders from our lights but they also look great taped to the wall. Every year we get compliments on our spiders from people visiting our room.
Jack-o-lanterns: Fold a piece of orange construction paper the long way. Make slits by cutting the paper starting at the fold and moving outward. Do NOT cut to the edge of the paper. If you cut all the way you will make strips instead of just slits in the paper. Repeat a few times. Unfold the paper and staple or tape the long sides together in order to create the pumpkin. Use tissue paper to create a ghost and tie it to the pumpkin.
Patterns: Usually we are studying patterns around this time of year so we created this activity to combine that unit with Halloween. First each child votes which type of headpiece they want to make: witch’s hat, bat, or pumpkin. This is done a day before the actual activity in order to have time to prep everything. Each child should have a headpiece and a strip that will be attached to it and will allow them to wear it. Next prepare the pictures for the pattern. Look online to find clipart of Halloween related items: ghosts, pumpkins, candy corn, black cats, monsters, spiders, bats. Print out rows of each one. Cut out the rows and put some of each in trays. The children cut out the pictures and create a Halloween pattern. They glue the pictures in the pattern on their strip. Next they decorate their headpiece. Finally you attach the headpiece to the patterned strip. Although this was a simple activity, our kids really got into it. We will wear our headpieces during our Halloween lunch party.
Estimation: Get two identical jars. Put 10 candy corns in one jar. Put another amount in the other jar. Ask the children to look at the ten and try to estimate how much candy corn is in the other jar. Each child writes down their estimate on a little card. Put a large number line down on the floor. Place each estimate on the number line asking questions such as: “Is 13 more or less than 10? How many more?” Then count the candy corn. If you have a big 100s chart/poster you can put the candy corn on the chart as you count. If you don’t have a 100s chart, place the candy in rows of ten to make recounting easier.
Will it float?: Children are always amazed to find out that pumpkins float. Get a clear container of water and a small pumpkin. Ask the children to guess whether the pumpkin will float or sink in the water. Place the pumpkin in the water to see what happens. Ask the children to explain why the pumpkin floats. Then they can also experiment with various other objects such as a ball, an empty bottle of water, a full bottle of water, a block, a pebble.
Please share with us some Halloween activities that you and your students enjoy at this time of year. We are always looking for new fun things to do with our class.