Halloween is one of the only holidays that’s just plain fun: you dress up, you get candy, you get to pull pranks on your friends and neighbors. But sometimes Halloween gets short shrift, with more time devoted to Thanksgiving and Christmas than this kooky holiday.
I’ve gathered some easy and fun ways you can bring the Halloween spirit to your classroom this year! Remember that these are just a few suggestions: use them as a jumping off point to come up with your own classroom activities. No matter how you celebrate Halloween in your classroom, your students will have a great time.
1. Make a Halloween mystery box
Find some old shoe boxes and cut a hole in each. Fill each box with different items and have students reach their arms in and feel what’s inside.
Possible items to include are eyeballs (peeled grapes), teeth (candy corn or popcorn kernels), faux fur, spiders’ legs (pipe cleaners), brains (wet sponge), and guts (spaghetti).
You can come up with your own ideas, too — the yuckier the better. Your kids will love getting grossed out and touching all the weird creepy “body parts” in your
Halloween mystery box!
2. Decorate pumpkins
Decorating pumpkins is a classic activity for a reason: it’s satisfying, fun, and just the right amount goopy.
If you have older students, have students first trace where they want to cut their pumpkin. Then put out knives, newspapers, and bowls for pumpkin innards. Be sure to demonstrate safe cutting techniques and supervise students closely to avert accidents.
If you have younger students (or just don’t want a classroom full of students armed with knives), you can have your students draw or paint their pumpkins instead of carving them. Hot tip: Sharpies work well on pumpkins.
Don’t have access to pumpkins? Don’t worry. You can use felt or paper cutouts to make your own pumpkins! Precut orange ovals, green stems, and black triangles or have students cut their pumpkins out on their own.
3. Make your own monsters
Create a lesson where students create their own monsters (or witches or ghosts or whatever else) out of construction paper and present them to the class.
Depending on your students’ language capability, you can have them write short stories about their creature creations or write three descriptive sentences about them (i.e. My monster is red. She has 4 eyes. Her tail is long and pointy).
The students can then decorate the classroom with their creatures or take them home to show their parents!
4. Decorate the classroom
You can decorate according to a theme (and then dress up in matching costumes for bonus points), or just fill your classroom with goblins, ghosts, and witches. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you involve your students in the process and have fun with it.
Skeletons, spider webs, pumpkins, and gravestones are all classic Halloween decorations, or you can do a Charlie Brown, Willy Wonka, or other similar
theme. My old kindergarten did a Harry Potter Halloween theme! It was so fun seeing all the classrooms interpret the themes in different ways and put their own spin on it.
5. Make witches’ brew
Combine science and fun by making a “witches’ brew” with your students in class. All you need is a little food coloring and some water, baking soda, and vinegar.
First put the water, baking soda, and food coloring together in a container, and then pour a little vinegar in and watch your brew bubble over! Be sure to do this activity somewhere it’s okay to make a mess.
You can use multiple containers with different colors of food coloring if you’d like to turn up the drama a little bit.
If you have very young students, you can forgo the fizzy reaction and just combine two different colored liquids (like red and yellow) to make a new color!
No matter what kind of experiment you do, turn up the drama by muttering an incantation or having the whole class chant a “magic spell”. The theatrics will help turn a simple experiment into some classroom magic.