Halloween ESL Archives

The 15 Best Halloween ESL Activity Links on the (Spider) Web!

We have searched long and far, and found what we think are some of the best 15 Halloween ESL activities on the world wide Spider Web!  Enjoy. The links will take you to the individual sites. We congratulate each site for their excellent efforts in successfully publishing a spooky good activity for learning the Halloween ESL theme.

 1.  Looking for a tasty Halloween treat you can make in class (other than severed limbs?) Try this with your voracious zombies and see how they like it! Visit Site

2. With Halloween-based conversation, vocabulary, grammar and even a recipe this lesson has all the right ingredients to keep everyone busy and in the holiday spirit. Visit Site

3. Want a little history with your howls of horror? Dig a little deeper (grave?!) and learn about where Halloween actually comes from. Great question and answer sheet based on the reading as well. Visit Site

4. Never run out of things to keep your little ghouls busy. With readings, matching exercises, idioms, pair work and more, there’ll be no need to tie anyone up! Visit Site

5. Fun and creative “Dancing Witch” craft project for your aspiring sorcerers. Scissors are mandatory (knives, scythes and guillotines are optional) so watch the bloodshed! Visit Site

6. Super cool comic strip lesson plan to get all your students involved. A perfect opportunity to let them release their inner zombie! Visit Site

7. Easy recipes to gross out even the most ghastly of your students. Throw a blindforld on them and check out their horrified expression when you say they’re eating “lady fingers”! Visit Site

8. A real casket full of lesson plans from this link. Math, Art, Computers, Language Arts it’s all there for taking. Bwahahahaha! Visit Site

9. Here’s a great face mask activity to keep your little monsters active. Use the empty egg cartons you have left over from all the eggs you threw at cars. Visit Site

10. Want a little history with your howls of horror? Dig a little deeper (grave?!) and learn about where Halloween actually comes from. Great question and answer sheet based on the reading as well. Visit Site 

11. If you’re looking to make the hairs on the back of their neck stand stand straight up (and get a few screams out of them as well) this is the activity for you. A bit of set-up time, but it’s worth it. Visit Site

12. Multi-Activity unit on pumpkins. Color ‘em, cut ‘em, eat ‘em, it’s all there. Keep your little ones busy in the pumpkin patch for hours. Visit Site

13. Just what the little monsters need at Halloween, more candy. The But it’s homemade, so it’s ok. They’ll get a kick out of these edible eyeballs. Visit Site

14. Books, pumpkins, spiders and even macaroni (?!) – Ghoulish Halloween activities to keep them coming back for more. Visit Site

15. Make cool Halloween craft memories that won’t get chewed up and forgotten like their bags and bags on candy. Visit Site

 

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Ideas for Halloween ESL Party Planning – Halloween activities you can do with your ESL class

  • Pumpkin carving contest: Make teams of students to carve a nice jack-o-lantern, the teachers can be the judges
  • Halloween Costume Ideas: Your students can get creative and make costumes to wear for you ESL class Halloween Party
  • Halloween costume parade and contest: Make sure yo show all the other students and teachers yuor creative efforts in designing a costume with a parade and contest voted on by ESL students and teachers who has the best costume
  • Bobbing for apples: This is a fun activity we do at Halloween. You can use your hands and you have to get an apple from the water barrel with your mouth. These days it is not as popular of an activity because people are worried about germs, etc. So do so at your own, risk and it is a good idea to exclude anyone who is sick to not spread germs.
  • Haunted House: turn your ESL classroom into a haunted house tour with different spooky stations and slimy guts to touch and guess what it is… have fun!
  • Trick or Treating: you can have a class or school trick or treating event. Each class, or small group can make treats (such as candy apples, cookies, etc.), and give them to the other students if they say the famous Halloween words. (or if treats are limited, perhaps a prize for best costumes).
  • Listen to Haunted Music at the party
  • tell Ghost Stories
  • Watch a Halloween movie (be sure to be age sensitive) don’t scare little kids, and don’t scare adults either, they wont give your class / school good reviews. Keep it fun and use common sense.

Halloween Words / Halloween Vocabulary

Halloween Words – Vocabulary 

This is a list of common words used at Halloween. ESL teachers and students can use this as a warm up or backdrop for further ESL lessons and activities about the Halloween theme, one of the most enjoyable ESL themes to teach.

Halloween: Halloween day is every year on October 31 st. On Halloween day children go trick-or-treating(see below).

Jack O Lantern: This is the most significant / important Halloween symbol. This is a pumpkin which has been carved and cleaned. The most common way is to have a face on it, like in the picture. These days there are all kinds of different designs which people make.

Trick-or-treat / trick or treating: This is when children dress up in Halloween costumes and go to their neighbours houses and say – trick-or treat. Then the people will come from the house and give the children candy. Kids love trick-or-treating because they get lots of free candy (treats) every Halloween.

Goblin: This is a generic name for a weird, half monster creature. Sometimes they are short, sometimes like a human in size. They are always ugly and sometimes have some kind of black magic power. Just about any weird monster costume you make can be called a goblin, if it doesn’t have any other names.

Witch: Witches are Halloween symbols as well, they are scary old ladies with green faces, a mole on their nose and a loud and scary laugh. Ahhhhh, haaaaa, ha ha ha ha ha hhaaaaaa! They fly around at night on their broom stick and wear a black cape and pointy black hat.

Spell: witches cast (make) spells, which are black or bad magic formulas they use to harm people. For example, a witch can cast a spell to turn a handsome prince into a frog until a beautiful princess frees him.

Magic Potion: this is what someone makes in order to drink it to give them magic powers. A witch or a magic wizard will make a potion for good or bad reasons. For example they can make a potion to make them strong or invisible or to sleep for a hundred years.

Haunted house: a haunted house is an old and dark house, usually on top of a hill and it is full of ghosts.

Halloween costume: this is what children wear when they go trick or treating. Many common, or traditional costumes include vampires, witches, ghosts, werewolves, zombies. However, it is also common to see famous superheroes and celebrities as costumes such as batman, superman, etc. costumes can be store bought or home made.

  

Zombie: this is mythical a dead body which walks around at night looking for brains of humans to eat. They are stupid and scary creatures and they walk with their hands and arms out in front of them. In Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, there were lots of zombies.

Black Cat: A black cat is a Halloween symbol. Usually we see black cats with witches. There is a saying that you don’t want to cross the path of a black cat because it will bring you bad luck.

The Origins of Halloween (Advanced reading)

It was a dark night at the end of the summer, hundreds of years ago, when our Celtic ancestors celebrated the autumn Sabbath known as Samhain (pronounced “Sow-In”) – the Witches New Year.

In those days, autumn was a time for harvesting the last of the crops, feasting and celebrating the end of the year. This was well before our modern form of calendar was created, and many people simply considered autumn to be the end of the year, as the season quickly changes into winter – the time of “great death“. Winter was the time when snow blanketed the ground, chilling crops, animals and people to the bone. No sustainable crops were able to be grown in winter, so the fall harvest season was especially important. The bounty that came in at the end of the year was a forecast of how well a family would do over the winter. If the crops were plentiful, they would likely have an easier time over the cold months. If the crops were meager due to fire, flood or not enough nutrients in the soil, then the winter would be hard.

Back then, the rumor was, that during the end of the year, when the earth traveled from the busy autumn season into the dead of winter, that the etheric veil between our world and the otherworld’s, would be lifted in order to make the transition possible. During this transition, it was believed that entities and spirits that would not normally be able to co-exist on this wave-length with us, could cross over and create all sorts of mischief. Now, before the christian era took over, this time of year was a time of celebration. The clans and tribes of western Europe – who began the traditions followed by most Canadian, American and European cultures to this day – thought of the transition as a powerful time to make connections with higher deities, and to use various forms of magic to safe guard them over the winter. This was because most of the dogmas of that time, worshipped the moon. During the autumn season, the largest and most colorful full moon, the Harvest Moon, can be seen taking over the night sky. It was because the harvest moon appears on different days of the year, that the Halloween of that era, was not on any specific day. It came when the crops were all picked, and the moon was full in the fall.

Now, as the cultural times began to change, and Abrahamic religions had seriously spread across western Europe, the silly faeries, malevolent gnomes, strange but harmless ghosts and funny little brownies that were once an aid to farmers and hunters – soon became dangerous little demons, frightening specters and devious spirits that could harm crops, steal children and scare the skin color out of the most courageous person. It was the fear of even stranger and scarier beings coming through the weakened veil in the fall, which inspired the tradition of wearing masks and dawning costumes. It was thought, at the time, that by dressing up as ghoulish goblins, creepy creatures, strange animals, fairies and other not-human beings, that we could trick the dangerous spirits into believing they were not in our realm. It was this theory that had adults and children wearing masks and costumes, if they were planning any ventures outside of their homes on all hallows eve.

Over time our cultures evolved and spread across the earth, taking their traditions with them. It was the Irish, Scottish and Welsh who had brought the most influence to Canada and America, when it comes to holidays like Halloween. Some of those customs evolved into the traditions we know today.

Trick or Treating used to be a druidic custom when it first began. Because of the belief that malevolent spirits would try to play tricks on you when the veil between the worlds is so thin (tricks that could result in harsh winters and destroyed harvests), they gave treats to the druids, asking them to bless their homes and appease the spirits so they would leave them alone. Now, the treats of that age were certainly not the over-processed sugar filled sweets that we see today. They were eggs, butter, apples, cheese, breadcake, money and barnbrack (a special fruitcake). These were seen as items that the wayward spirits and strange other beings, would eat or use and be sated enough to leave the people alone. As time went on, and the druids were pushed out of society, a new but similar tradition took hold, where beggars would go around to the people’s doors and receive “soul cakes” in exchange for their prayers. The more cakes the beggars got, the more prayers they sent out for the passed loved ones of the folks who handed out the bread cakes. It was believed that the more prayers that were said for a recently dead loved one, the more likely they were to make a safe passage into their next life.

Bobbing for Apples, Riding Broomsticks, Big Bonfires and Halloween Masquerade were all traditions carried over from Celtic times. Interestingly enough, the use of Pumpkins was one of the largest differences between the original Celtic traditions and the newer Canadian and American traditions. In Ireland, children used to carve jack-o-lanterns out of potatoes and turnips, as a way of remembering the dead. They didn’t have Pumpkins, as it is primarily a fruit that grows here in North America. Sometime after pumpkins were discovered by a French explorer, they began to replace potatoes in the North American version of Halloween. Now we can clearly see them decorating our communities in the forms of lit up jack-o-lanterns, candy buckets and cute little baby costumes.

All in all, Halloween is a tradition that has stood the test of the ages. It has changed and changed again, and will continue to do so, as we do, yet forever hold on to its origins. As we know it today, it is still a time for remembrance and winter preparations, though for the most part, it’s just fun.

References:

Samhain – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain

 

Exercise:

– list all the phrases and words that are new to you.  Find the meanings and make two additional sentences using the pattern or word.

Comprehension:

  1. In your own words, summarize the origin of trick or treating.
  2. Why do you think Sowin marked the ‘witch’s new year’?
  3. Why do we carve jack-o-lanterns now and why do we use pumpkins?