Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And it’s a great holiday to share with students. Some say it’s too scary or macabre to do Halloween activities in English class. But you can always find an aspect of the holiday that isn’t too gruesome. You can talk about trick-or-treating, costumes, or creepy animals such as spiders, bats, or owls. You can tell or write silly ghost stories, instead of scary ones. Of course, you can also go for the scary—I miss my 6th and 7th graders who were all about the gore!).
So here are some of our best-selling Halloween activities for English class, whether it be ESL or EFL. These resources are all available on Teachers Pay Teachers where you can download and print them for your whole class. However, you’ll also find links to the books the activities come from, so you can check out the whole collection!
Printable Halloween Resources
What-Would-You-Dos are a great critical thinking activity that get students talking about hypothetical situations. Kill a Spider is a nice simple one that appeals to all ages and isn’t overly scary. But it’s still got a Halloween feel because it’s about creepy-crawlies!
Get students talking about whether it’s ok to kill spiders or other annoying animals. Find the whole activity, including background story, supporting questions, and extension ideas on TpT or check out our whole collection of hypothetical situations, What Would You Do by Taylor Sapp.
What would you do if you were bitten by a zombie? Would you kill yourself before you could turn? Try to find an antidote? Maybe the zombie is really just a weird guy. This one really sets the Halloween mood, but also brings pop culture into the classroom, and even gives some insight into student character. What kind of person you are could really change what you do in a life-or-death situation, even one as fantastical as this!
Find the whole Zombie Bite activity on TpT including background story, supporting questions, and extension ideas or check out our whole collection of hypothetical situations, What Would You Do by Taylor Sapp.
Maybe your students don’t want to celebrate Halloween, or they have their own ideas for a scary holiday (or a new autumn celebration). This page from Teresa X. Nguyen‘s wonderful book gets students thinking about a new holiday of their own design.
This hand-drawn illustrated prompt has students thinking of their holiday name, purpose, activities, food and more. Then they can share it in writing, discussion, or art. So many ways to use Teresa’s amazing prompt!
Another What Would You Do, hypothetical situation for critical thinking, Haunted Bedroom. What would your students do if there were a ghost in their house? This is one that can be as scary or as mild as you like. Perhaps the ghost is friendly, or needs your help.
Find the whole activity including background story, supporting questions, and extension ideas on Teachers Pay Teachers or check out our whole collection of hypothetical situations, What Would You Do by Taylor Sapp.
What would Halloween be without scary stories? This one from Stories Without End by Taylor Sapp is a classic. One kid is dared to go into a (supposedly) haunted house. The twist is that your students get to write the twist.
This haunted house Halloween story ends at the moment the boy decides to enter the house. What happens next? Is the house really haunted? Or is it all a hoax? Your students get to decide!
Tell a Scary Story or Act One Out
You can also check out some of our teacher activity books for some ideas for Halloween Activities for EFL students. Instant EFL Lesson Plans by Cristian Spiteri has a number of storytelling and roleplay activities, that you could adapt by allowing only scary stories! For example, you could do this improv storytelling activity but tell students the story is a scary Halloween tale!
Another of Cristian’s activities involves exploring a literary genre and then creating a scene in that genre. While the activity in the book focuses on fantasy and sci-fi, it could just as easily be adapted to be about horror or Halloween stories.
And while you’re at it, why not have students improvise a scene from a horror movie? Or write a Halloween script? The Drama Book is full of activities, lesson plans, and guidance to get students using theater, drama, and acting skills to practice natural communication.
What’s your go-to Halloween activity for English class? Share in the comments!