6 Halloween Ideas & Resources for your English Language Arts Class

Halloween is a fun time for all involved, including teachers! If you're stumped for ideas on how you can bring the Halloween spirit into your English Language Arts class, here are a few ideas to help you get started!
A great way to establish a routine in any classroom is through the use of daily writing prompts/bell ringers. Not only are students practicing their writing daily, but they are also developing a standard in your class, which might also encourage students to arrive to class on time, prepared to write! You can easily incorporate the Halloween theme into an English class, by having your students respond to a Halloween themed prompt during the weeks leading up to the holiday!

Here are five Halloween-themed writing prompts that you could use with your students:

1. Write a 10 line Halloween poem using the following words: black cat, pumpkin, dark, graveyard, death, witch, gloomy, haunted, clown, and spooky.

2. Of all of the costumes you have ever worn on Halloween, what costumes are among your favorite? What makes these costumes so memorable? Describe what the costumes looked like.

3. Write a 50-100 word story using the first line, "It was all fun and games until we saw something move in the Haunted house."

4. Write a recipe for a magic potion using five items you see around the classroom. In addition to the ingredients list, provide cooking directions and explain the purpose of the magic potion.

5. Imagine you are hosting a Halloween party. Identify three people (dead or alive) that you would invite to your party (aside from your friends and family). What makes these guests so special? Why do you think they would make a great guest at your Halloween party?

Another way to bring the Halloween spirit into your middle and high school English classes could be through the use of spooky short stories and books during the month of October. I typically complete my short story unit around this time of the year anyway, so it works for me to incorporate these 'spooky' stories into my unit.

Here are a few spooky short stories you could use during the month of October:

• The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Washington Irvine)
• The Tell-Tale Heart (Edgar Allan Poe)
• The Fall of the House of Usher (Edgar Allan Poe)
• The Monkey's Paw (W. W. Jacobs)
• The Landlady (Roald Dahl)
• If Cornered, Scream (Patricia J. Thurmon)

TIP: Turn the lights off and have creepy music playing in the background to help set the scene when reading short stories around the Halloween season (a shout out to The Daring English Teacher for the tip!)  

 Here are a few spooky books you could use during the month of October:

• World War Z (Max Brook)
• Patient Zero (Jonathan Maberry)
• The Reapers Are the Angels (Alden Bell)
• The Walking Dead series (Robert Kirkman)
• Feed (Mira Grant)

• Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)

Click HERE for some FREE Halloween-themed bookmarks!
If you are looking for a creative way to teach the elements of plot, as well as short story writing around the Halloween season, this Halloween Short Story Flip Book is not only fun to complete, but also a convenient size that can be stored in a desk, binder or interactive notebook for quick reference when writing. Follow the directions and prompts in the flip book and have your students successfully write a SPOOKY short story from start to finish! 

Begin your lesson with the short story elements handout included. The handout reviews 15 items necessary to any short story including the explanations and definitions for effective leads, dialogue, direct speech, protagonist, antagonist, mood, tone, literary devices, plot structure (diagram), exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion. An answer key has been provided!
Next, get writing! Once your students have a better understanding of what's required in the various elements of plot, they can begin to brainstorm their short story ideas using the step-by-step instructions in their six-tab story flip book! The final page in the flip book includes 100 Halloween-themed words.

Add creativity to the short stories by having students randomly select characters and setting prompts (12 provided for each category). Simply, cut out the character and setting prompts, place face down on a table, and have students randomly select some Halloween-themed ideas to incorporate into their own stories. 
Finally, to ensure your students' tales are full of the details that are required in a short story, an additional full-page short story writing organizer has been included, as well as a character building handout, which will review and expand the elements plot and character again, but in more detail.

Visuals are another way that Halloween can be incorporated into your daily writing routine. This type of writing gives students the opportunity to focus on the five senses, incorporating the Halloween theme into their writing using a picture prompt. Try this Descriptive Halloween Photo Activity for FREE!

Use these fun Halloween-themed topics to practice public speaking and debate-style skills in your classroom! Get your students moving by hanging up four signs that indicate the following: strongly agree, agree, strongly disagree, disagree. 

Present the following topics and let the discussion begin! Students should be prepared to share their reasons for their opinion selection, so they should choose their decision wisely.

Discussion topic #1: Are high school students too old for trick or treating?

Discussion topic #2: Should schools be allowed to celebrate Halloween?

Discussion topic #3: Are costumes necessary when trick or treating?

Discussion topic #4: Should trick or treating be an all-day event?

Discussion topic #5: Should non-sugary candy be mandatory on Halloween?
If you're in the neighborhood for a quick and simple Halloween activity for your class, have students write their own two-line ghost story. While the writing itself may not take a long time, thinking of the clever idea may take a few minutes! Consider letting your students work in pairs or small groups. Once students write their two-line ghost story, they can share it with the class, then the stories can be displayed on a bulletin board. Find more examples of two-line ghost stories, HERE!

Looking for more ideas to bring the Halloween spirit into an ELA classroom? Check out these activities and posts from other Secondary English Coffee Shop bloggers!

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