Many schools in the US and the UK do not celebrate Halloween, whilst other schools decide depending on their particular case and whether celebrating Halloween would upset certain religious or ethnic groups in their community.
Children love Halloween, but you will need to decide whether you celebrate it or not depending on where you teach and be sensitive to the different religions and ethnic groups in your school.
In my school, we deal with Halloween in a very innocent way. The children dress up but their costumes are not scary because the whole school gets involved and there are over 240 pre-schoolers that we have to be careful not to scare!
We have American language assistants and want to celebrate a festival that is popular in their child culture.
Here are some of the activities we do.
Halloween Hello Song Halloween Bye. Bye. Song
Tune: the Farmer’s in his den.
Hello. Hello. Girls and boys. X 3 Bye. Bye. Girls and boys. X 3
Happy Halloween. Happy Halloween.
from Nicholls, S, (1992), Bobby Shaftoe, clap your hands, A & C Black
Tune: Baa. Baa. Black sheep.
Witch’s cauldron, (Cup hands together to make a cauldron.)
Here’s the witch’s hat. (Hold hands in a triangle above your head.)
Witch’s broomstick (Pretend to ride on a broomstick.)
Witch’s cat. (Make ‘whiskers’ with your fingers.)
Fly over here. Fly over there. (‘Fly’ your hand towards you and then away from you.)
Abracadabra! Now you disappear. (Pretend to cast a spell. Then cover your eyes.)
Witch’s spider, (Make a spider with your hand.)
Crawling up a log. (Make your hand crawl up your arm.)
Witch’s spell book. (Make your hands into a book.)
Witch’s frog. (Squat down like a frog.)
Hop over here. Hop over there. (Frog hop around.)
Abracadabra! Now you disappear.
(Pretend to cast a spell. Then cover your eyes.)
Trick or treat (chant)
“Trick, trick or something to eat.”
Trick or treat game
At Halloween, the children in many English-speaking countries do an activity called ‘Trick or treat’. The children dress up as Halloween characters like – witches, cats, bats, monsters, ghosts and pumpkins and they go to the homes of people they know (accompanied by an adult) and say: Trick, treat or something to eat. The householder is expected to give the children sweets, chocolate or fruit like apples. The children then have a Halloween party with all the things they collected once they go home.
You can explain this tradition to the children in L1.
Although it isn’t really possible to do ‘Trick or treat’ in school, this is a version to play with the children.
Materials: A bag with ‘tricks’ written on small pieces of paper. 2 or 3 papers with ‘Something to eat.’
The tricks are things like:
Say six colours in English.
Sing a song in English.
Touch your head then touch your feet three times.
Count from 10 to 1.
Touch your feet five times.
Be a ghost.
Move your arms like this.
Be a monster.
What’s this? (show the child a flash card of vocabulary already studied) etc.
You will need some sweets (enough for the whole class).
Teach the children ‘Trick, treat or something to eat.’ The children then come out one by one and take a piece of paper. With smaller children, read what is on the paper to the child and he/she has to do the trick. When a child gets: ‘Something to eat’ , give them a sweet. Once everyone has finished, give the rest of the class a sweet each as a reward for doing the tricks saying: Very good everyone!
Two of my class’s favourite stories for Halloween.
Nicoll,H & J. Pienkowski, Meg and Mog, Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-050117-7
Paul, K & V. Thomas, Winnie the Witch, ISBN 0-19-459069-0 Oxford University Press
Check out: http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/halloween.php for Halloween flashcards