It’s almost Halloween time, and I’ve certainly been guilty in past years of not taking the time to plan halloween activities for high school students. Partly, this is because I never grew up celebrating Halloween, and partly this is because this holiday always falls during one of the busiest times of the first semester.
That being said, I think that there is value in building in an activity or even timing an assessment for the Halloween connection.
Last year, I tried out the latter. I knew that the end of our microfiction unit was going to coincide with Halloween, so I purposefully planned the unit summative to be a scary or mysterious story that students would then record on Anchor.fm to share with the class. Using this podcast creation platform was a move on my part to frontload the skills students would need for their next unit which focused on podcasting in the classroom.
Fun Halloween Writing Activities
If you don’t have a summative assessment or project like mine that connects well to Halloween, it is likely that you’ll aim for a one-day activity. Here are some fun writing activities you can try out with students if Halloween falls on a school day. (Because we all know they’ll be powered by sugar anyway!) As a fair warning, students will most likely ask to share their stories with others and/or the class which is a great way to end the lesson. To keep the sharing fair and equitable, ask students to share their favorite 1-2 sentences from their stories.
➡️ Try a collaborative writing activity that asks students to co-author a story together. You can generate a topic with the whole class or allow students to select their own. You could also have students (without telling them the activity) write down nouns, adjectives, and situations one may find him or herself in on Halloween (school-appropriate, of course) and have students randomly pick three of these to generate a story idea. If you are distance learning, you could modify this activity to have students post their ideas to Padlet and then choose three different posts to combine together for a story prompt.
➡️ Choose your own adventure stories are great fun. Have students begin their story and, every minute or two, throw in a random detail, situation, word, etc. that they must work into their story (in any way they see fit). I love seeing what students come up with!
➡️ Story pass & twist activities ask students to begin writing and then pass their story to another student who continues writing. Each new writer must somehow “twist” the story in a new direction.
➡️ Photo writing prompts engage students, especially if they are mysterious or open to interpretation. I love creating prompts that combine an ambiguous picture (settings work well) with a story starter and hearing the click clacking of computer keys as students are so focused on writing.
Short Stories to Read (or View) for Halloween
➡️ Halloween activities, for high school students, don’t have to be light on content. I love asking students to read a short story and then discussing it.
➡️ Last year, I fell in love with hexagonal thinking and created a digital hexagonal thinking activity for “The Tell Tale Heart.” This is a hands-on and interactive activity that is great for a Halloween lesson plan.
I hope that you found an idea for your Halloween day lesson plan, and I hope that mid-semester is going well for you! As always, I’d love to help you brainstorm ideas – leave a comment and I’ll have an A to your Q as soon as possible!
Hey, if you loved this post, I want to be sure you’ve had the chance to grab a FREE copy of my guide to streamlined grading. I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m over the moon to be able to share with you some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm.
Click on the link above or the image below to get started!