It’s almost Halloween, which means costumes, candy, and fun activities!! It’s always fun to dress up in different costumes and be someone (or something) else for once! Traditional monsters such as ghosts, vampires, zombies, or skeletons are great! But newer characters such as superheroes, cowboys, or aliens are also popular, too!
Halloween is also great for developing your ESL students’ vocabulary and speaking skills. They can talk about what scares them, or what monsters they know. There are other fun activities you can do, too! I’ve found too great sites that have wonderful activities: FluentU and BusyTeacher! I’ve chosen a few from each site to share. Let’s look at them of them below!
Eight Fun Halloween Activities for ESL Students~!
- Halloween Tongue Twisters. Tongue Twisters are fun because they are hard to say and it’s funny to hear someone make a mistake. You might want to give your students a few classic examples such as “red leather yellow leather,” “rubber baby buggy bumpers” and “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.” Once students get the idea, challenge them to write their own Halloween tongue twisters. As a class, brainstorm some words associated with Halloween, like “goblin,” “monster,” “ghost,” etc. When it’s time to write the tongue twisters, start with a spooky Halloween term and add words with similar sounds to make a phrase. You can use the following examples or write your own.
Glowing ghosts gobble goodies.
Warty witches wish for watches.
Big bats match hats.
Musty mummies make monster masks.
Celebrate your tricky phrases with a reading contest in which each person reads their tongue twister for the class–five times fast, of course! (source)
- What Am I? Your students will have practice using descriptive words as well as learning Halloween vocabulary with this simple game. Simply give one student a card with a Halloween picture on it. (You can get plenty of Halloween pictures online. Try to include the following in your set: jack-o-lantern, black cat, candy, pumpkin, ghost, spider, spider web, monster, trick or treaters, witch, broomstick, haunted house, bats, ghost, Dracula, Frankenstein, and candy corn.) Then give that student one to two minutes to describe their picture to the class. The goal is to get the class to guess the object without telling them what it is. The class member who first guesses the object correctly gets a point. Play until everyone has had a chance to describe an object, and the students with the most points wins. (source)
- Candy Taste Test.Who doesn’t like an excuse to eat candy in class? Halloween is the perfect time of year to host a candy taste test with your students. Bring in three different types of Halloween candies for students to taste (allergies permitting).
Before starting the activity, review with your students how to form comparative and superlative adjectives. Then let each student try each of the sweets you brought in.
After tasting each candy, your students should make notes about how it tastes. For example:
This one tastes sweeter than the first.
This candy is the hardest.
This is a good time to remind students of adjectives that describe flavor. Once they have tasted and described each candy, students write a paragraph saying which candy was best. They should use comparative and superlative adjectives to support their opinions in the paragraph. (source)
- Halloween BINGO! Give each students a blank bingo board, and have him draw a picture of a Halloween item in each empty box. (You will probably need to review the vocabulary before you start playing. See activity number one for some Halloween words.) Then play each round as you would normally play bingo, but call out the words that match your students’ pictures rather than numbers. Students will then have to listen for the word you call and then match that word with one of the pictures on their board (if they have it there). If a student has an item on his board, he marks it. The first person with five in a row wins. (source)
- Guess Who?This is a simple game that even beginning students can play. As a class, brainstorm a list of creepy Halloween creatures—such as bats, black cats, Frankenstein, mummies, etc. From the list, each person chooses one creature and writes three clues about it. Make sure they don’t write down the name of the Halloween creature, though!
Tell your students to number their clues and make the most obvious clues last in the list. Students take turns sharing their clues and guessing which Halloween creature each person chose.
If a student guesses correctly after one clue, they score three points. After two clues, two points. After three clues, one point. Keep score and give a prize to the person with the highest score at the end of the game. (source)
- Halloween Charades!
Charades is always a good game to get ESL students speaking boldly. You can make this active competition Halloween specific by using charades that Halloween items might perform. Your list might include the following.
- Walk like Frankenstein
- Dracula drinking blood
- A witch flying on a broom
- Kids going trick or treating
- Carving a jack-o-lantern
- Giving out candy
- Running away from a monster
- Putting on a costume
- Bobbing for apples
Play in teams and see which team can get the most correct guesses from their classmates’ pantomimes. (source)
- Give Scary Advice.Everyone needs advice at some point, and scary situations are a good time to ask for it. Start this activity by reviewing modal verbs with your students. Then show your students some advice letters such as those written to Dear Abby.
Challenge your students to think of a scary situation (either realistic or ridiculous) in which they might like advice. Have each person write a letter to Dear Abby. Collect the letters and redistribute them to your students.
Each person will now pretend to be Abby and give advice to their classmate using modal verbs in their answer. Collect the letters and display them on a bulletin board laid out to look like a newspaper.
Halloween is a fun holiday filled with spooky monsters and sweet treats. It’s also a fun way to incorporate U.S. culture into language lessons.
Your students can work on pronunciation, grammar, speaking, reading and writing all while having fun and satisfying their sweet tooth. Try these activities and everyone will walk away from class with a smile on their lips and a shiver in their spine. (source)
- Remember this! Prepare a deck of index cards with some story starters and transitions that your students can use to start or continue a ghost story. Then turn off the lights and sit your class in a circle. Give a flashlight to one person and have her draw a card from the deck of story starters. For three to five minutes, she should tell the spooky story to the rest of the class, and if she likes, include scary lighting (shining the flashlight under your chin) and spooky noises. When her time is up, she passes the flashlight to the next person in the circle and he draws a transition card. (All of a sudden, bats fly… Out of nowhere… You hear a scream and …)He then continues the same story for three to five minutes. Take turns around the circle until everyone has had a chance to add to the tale. (source)
These are just some of the many activities you can do for Halloween.
Feel free to use these or make your own!