If you are an elementary teacher looking for free Halloween activities for your students, then you found the right place! This post highlights math, reading, writing, and word study printables for October. They’ll make your job easier since all you need to do is print and go!
This post highlights the following 3 free Halloween activities for elementary students:
- Witches’ Brew Word Study Activity
- Pumpkin Math and Descriptive Writing Activities
- Halloween Graphic Organizers for Teaching Reading and Writing
3 Free Halloween Activities for Elementary Students
Below are 3 free Halloween activities you can use with your students during the month of October.
1. Witches Brew Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives Activity
This Witches Brew Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives Activity is my most popular free Halloween activity!
Are you familiar with Hap Palmer’s song titles, Witches’ Brew? It’s super-catchy. You know that play-back-in-your-head-all-day kind of catchy. You’ve been warned.
The kids LOVE it… and it makes them dance. They can’t help themselves. Ultimately, the “Stir them in my Witches’ Brew” line turns into a choreographed class of kids doing the Cabbage Patch. Who doesn’t love the Cabbage Patch? But, I digress.
In the event that you don’t love the Cabbage Patch (or if you simply don’t have access to the actual song at school) this activity works perfectly fine as a poem as well.
In my classroom, I kick off the Haunted House Writing by introducing this little ditty. We then search for the adjectives in the song and add them to our graphic organizers. Using it as part of the writing process to complete a Haunted House for Sale Writing Project and Craft has worked really well for me. You can read all about how I teach the writing lesson and see a collection of really cool craft ideas to complement their work here: Haunted House for Sale Writing Project and Craft blog post.
We revisit the song and read through the lyrics sans the adjectives which makes them realize how bland it would be.
Together as a class we brainstorm additional thematic adjectives (and have the obligatory “school appropriate thematic adjectives” conversation which keeps them focused on words like “slimy” and “creaky” and avoids words like “bloody”).
Next, I create a class-sized chart and they create their own mini chart using the printables included in this Witches Brew resource. They refer to it often and it really helps to make their writing more descriptive.
Here are some additional ideas of how you can use the Witches Brew activity:
- Cut out the word cards and sort them by nouns and adjectives as a class.
- Use them as a word study work station.
- Use the printable sorting map as a worksheet for students to brainstorm their own Halloween-themed nouns and adjectives.
Grab the free Witches’ Brew activity here!
If you choose to use my Haunted House for Sale Resource Packet you will find it includes everything you need to take the project from start to finish.
2. Pumpkin Math and Writing Activities
You are going to love these Pumpkin Math and Writing Activities!
Halloween is coming, but not all schools let you teach about Halloween. What better way to make the most of the motivation October brings than to engage your students with pumpkins while practicing important math and writing skills as well? These free pumpkin activities help you do just that!
As we work our way through October, the kids become more and more excited about Halloween. I’ve worked in a school where everything stopped and all focus was put on costume parades and classroom parties. I’ve also worked at a school where you were not allowed to even mention the word Halloween.
And between both ends of that spectrum you’ll find some amazing learning opportunities. In my class, we do Haunted House Writing Projects, October-themed journaling, pumpkin book projects, graphing activities and thematic task cards because harnessing that seasonal enthusiasm results in oodles of student engagement. I even introduce rounding using pumpkin-themed number lines and task cards.
So it should not have been a surprise when I spontaneously brought a pumpkin to school and it sparked a wonderful and fun day of learning. As a K-2 teacher, pumpkin carving was an annual tradition. I don’t know why it never crossed my mind to have my 3rd graders do it before, but I am so glad I did.
When I was at the store on Thursday night, I saw a big bin of pumpkins. I thought, “My class has been awesome this week. I want to do something fun with them tomorrow. I’ll buy a pumpkin.”
And that is how I work best.
I am a planner at heart. In fact, I tend to be an overplanner.
But, my best lessons have always been the “scrap the plans and go with it” kind. This was no different.
I woke up the next morning and threw together a packet of printables to use with the pumpkin. We had been working on rounding so I was sure to incorporate that as well as a subtraction activity they could do indepdenently while I assisted with pumpkin dissection. We’ve also been focusing on descriptive writing so I simply tweaked the template I had recently made as part of an update to the Haunted House for Sale writing activity.
I didn’t want my kids to enter the class and go 5 kinds of crazy upon seeing the pumpkin so I covered it with a sheet. That’s when I decided to take it a step further. I put the pumpkin in a milk crate, placed a black cloth over it and taped a giant question mark on the front. The kids came in and instead went 10 kinds of crazy. But the excited buzz was the perfect activator to an unplanned lesson on inferencing.
We talked about using what we know to infer what could be inside. Each student made a guess. I began giving them “pieces of information” and they continued to infer what it could be based on that info.
Once the pumpkin was revealed we started talking about estimation and about how many seeds we thought might be inside. I took the top off (which I highly recommend cutting at home) and they looked inside and made new estimates.
While they worked on the pumpkin-themed rounding and subtraction activity pages, I invited a few students at a time to come to the table and remove and count a handful of seeds. I had them generate descriptive words about how it looked, smelled and felt while they were doing so. This became the base of their descriptive writing.
We added up all the individual student seed amounts to find the sum of all the seeds inside. This was great review of our prior work with place value and addition strategies. The students used that info to complete the math page. Students who were finished early had the choice between rounding their classmates estimates to the nearest 10 and 100 or finding the difference between estimates and the actual sum. I’ll leave these charts posted throughout the week as easy extension activities for early finishers.
During our language arts time they began their work on the descriptive writing pieces by talking with their peers and brainstorming lots of adjectives. I guided them through a graphic organizer to plan ideas and then they worked indepdenently on a draft.
In third grade, we do a comprehensive science unit each spring that focuses on the life cycle of plants. This year I did a mini-unit on the life cycle of an apple and will spend some time this week learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin. I am excited to see how that schema will enhance their understanding during our spring unit.
I love when everything comes together neatly. Are you looking for a way to entertain your students’ Halloween giddiness without losing time on learning? I highly suggest simply bringing in a pumpkin.
You can still use most of the printables even if you don’t want to bring in an actual pumpkin.
3. Free Halloween Reading Graphic Organizer Activities
The third on the list of free Halloween activities is this set of 20 Halloween-themed graphic organizers. They provide engaging, meaningful practice to greatly improve your students’ reading and writing skills. They are quick and easy to prepare.
Each of the free Halloween graphic organizers can be used over and over and with any book you choose. I designed them this way for several reasons:
- Teachers find it helpful to implement an I do – we do – you do approach to literacy instruction. Having open-ended graphic organizers will allow you to model the correct way to use them and then work towards a gradual release where the students complete them independently.
- Research supports the importance of repeated practice. This can be achieved by having students complete the same organizer with different titles.
- All classrooms have students on a spectrum of ability levels. The same graphic organizer can be distributed to the entire class, yet the students can complete them using books at a level that is developmentally appropriate based on their individual needs and abilities.
- Graphic organizers are amazing tools for both comprehending reading and planning writing. The majority of these organizers were designed so they can be used for both.