From dressing up in spooky costumes to trick-or-treating in class, Halloween is a holiday that all children love celebrating at school. However, if you've been teaching for a while, you may be getting tired of the typical Halloween lesson plans you've used in the past. To make your Halloween lessons spook-tacular, try these unique ideas in your classroom.
Divide students into groups of two and give each group a small pumpkin to carve. If you're working with younger students, make sure that the pumpkin tops have already been removed—I've found it's much safer. Before you begin, ask students to estimate how many seeds they think their pumpkin has and write it down. Then instruct students to remove all of the seeds and count them.
Further reading: The Worst Halloween at School Ever
Once all of the seeds are counted, one person from each group will tally the number on the front board. Together as a class, record students' findings onto a chart and compare the findings from each group. When the lesson is over, divide the seeds up between students and give them instructions on how to roast them at home.
To practice fractions, have students come up with a Halloween recipe to serve 12 hungry witches. On the front board, give students the following example:
- 2 cups of bat wings
- 3 chopped toads
- 1/2 cup of bats blood
- 4 eyeballs
- 1/2 cup lizard lips
- 2 cups of swamp water
For this activity, the students' job is to conjure up some imaginative ingredients to come up with their own witches' brew. They must include at least six ingredients, as well as indicate the amount needed for each ingredient—at least two should be in fractions. To make it even harder, add more witches to the dinner table, and have students figure out how much of each ingredient they would need to feed 24 or even 36 witches. I've done this activity with younger students too, and instead of fractions, we used addition.
Whose Pumpkin Is It?
If you get the opportunity to take a field trip to a pumpkin patch, then this is a great activity to do at the site. If not, then you will need to purchase pumpkins or have each student bring in a small pumpkin to class. I suggest purchasing the palm-sized pumpkins/gourds that you can find at the grocery store because they vary in appearance.
Instruct students to use their observation skills to take a closer look at every detail of their pumpkin. They should write down everything they notice about their pumpkin, from the color of its exterior to the irregularities on its surface. Encourage students to look for any noticeable details that will distinguish it from the other pumpkins. Once the observation period is over, collect the pumpkins and display them at the front of the class.
After your students have written brief descriptions of their pumpkins, have them take turns reading them aloud to their classmates. While listening to the descriptions, challenge the class to figure out which pumpkin is whose. When a student's pumpkin has been identified, they can take it back to their seat.
A fun and unique activity is to have students give their pumpkin a background and a personality. Each student must not only decorate and name their pumpkin but write an entire biography as well. I did this activity in a fifth-grade classroom, and the students got very creative. It was fun to see their personalities come out. One student wrote an entire biography about his football-playing pumpkin, even decorating "him" with a football helmet. Here's an example of another student's pumpkin biography: My pumpkin is named Justin Bieber. He is a famous singing pumpkin that has toured the world. He was born on March 1, 1994, and was discovered through his YouTube videos. He has won many awards.
Further reading: 1-Hour Halloween Costumes
Halloween is a fun time of year, so get in the spirit with these activities. What are your favorite Halloween lesson plans or activities? Share if you dare!