Espresso Shot: Setting the Scene for Halloween

BOO! Halloween is almost here and the ladies of The Secondary English Coffee Shop have come together to share some creative ideas on how WE set the scene for Halloween in our classrooms! Here are a few simple, but fun ways how we like to incorporate Halloween into our classrooms.

To bring a little Halloween spirit into the classroom, I give each of my students a Halloween-themed bookmark! If you can print them out on card stock paper, they will last longer! I also use orange-colored paper, too! These FREE bookmarks are a simple and easy way to get your students excited for the upcoming season!

I love to play spooky Halloween sounds and dim the lights as we work on Halloween Writing! If you can find electric candles that flicker they can be a fun and safe addition to your room. I also make a trip to the dollar store to grab some Halloween pencils and erasers. I print out some themed paper and we have fun writing Halloween haikus, coming up with the worst opening line for a scary story and creating spooky settings using vivid words. Even my senior students have fun!!

Get students' spooky creativity flowing with "Scary Six-word Horror Stories." Simply hand out appropriately fall-themed scraps of paper (think oranges and reds) along with thick markers. Then instruct students to think of a truly horror-story-worthy situation (you can even hint that these could be humorous). Instruct students to then write this out in exactly six words: no more, no less! Stick them up for a fun Halloween week display!
A fun activity for students to complete during the Halloween season is rewriting one of their favorite horror stories, but for an audience of children. This activity forces students to think about their audience and make conscientious writing decisions that are specifically targeted toward children. Students might need to change a character or conflict slightly, or they might need to make adjustments to the setting. However they alter the story though, students will be thinking about plot, characterization, conflict, setting, and audience while having a ghoulishly great time.
We love dressing up at our school for Halloween. The students love to see their teachers in a different light and it's a great way to show our creativity. If your school doesn't allow dressing up, try approaching the idea from a curriculum standpoint: famous characters from literature day! One of my favorite costumes to construct and wear was Scout's ham costume from To Kill a Mockingbird. We also had a lot of students dressing up as characters from The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and even some Stephen King novels (both Carrie and IT have made appearances). It's a fun way to promote literature while getting the students excited about Halloween.
Help your students improve their descriptive writing by bringing in some Halloween candy, chocolate, and/or chips. Give each student an item and have them write a paragraph that uses strong imagery to describe the appearance, taste, texture, and smell of the treat.

You can also make this a competition by putting students into groups and having them write a paragraph collaboratively. Each group can present their paragraph while YOU eat the snack they are describing. Whichever group you decide described the treat most accurately gets to have the leftover treats. They practice their writing and you get to eat Halloween candy; it sounds like a win-win to me ;).

I'm not as headlong into holidays as some of these other fabulous Coffee Shop ladies, but I have to do at least one thing, right? ;) One of the ways I work a little Halloween in is reading "Masque of the Red Death" and teaching about symbolism using Tootsie Roll Pops. It's pretty much the best lesson of the year when you give students candy and tell them it's time to ANALYZE it. Hah!
I always get my kids to write a scary story - it's an engaging way to get them to work on their narration and description skills. To set the scene and give them some inspiration, I begin with a few short YouTube clips that you can access HERE. Grab my FREE Spooky Story Graphic Organizer HERE to help you get started!

I love “The Raven”, but it’s not an easy poem at first, so I’m using stations to help students identify literal and figurative meanings in the text, including allusion and structure. I can’t wait to introduce my middle schoolers to Poe!

Share your favorite ways to set the scene for Halloween below!                    
We'd love to hear from you!
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