Activities & Lessons
From the costumes to the candy to the ghosts and goblins, Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays for students, and there are so many fun ways to incorporate it into your teaching for any grade level or subject area!
Use these Halloween activities for elementary students to engage them for the holiday. Consider supplementing these activities with healthy treats for your students along with spooky music. Note that while these activities are geared mostly toward elementary school students, they can be adapted for any grade level through middle school!
Fun Halloween Elementary School Activities
1. Read Halloween Books
One of the best ways to celebrate Halloween is a simple one—read some Halloween books! Below are some suggestions to read aloud to elementary students.
- Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting (Pre-K–3)
- The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen (Pre-K-3)
- Hooray for Halloween, Curious George by H.A. Rey (Pre-K–3)
- Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson (Pre-K–3)
- Bone Soup by Cambria Evans (2–5)
- The Witches by Roald Dahl (2–5)
2. Create a Spooky Story
Around Halloween, students hear and read so many stories—whether they’re scary, silly, or somewhere in between, this holiday is all about storytelling! Encourage your students to create their own Halloween-themed stories.
To help get them started, you can provide an opening line or some target vocabulary words to include. Depending on their grade level, their stories could be anywhere from a paragraph to a few pages, and you could even have the students draw illustrations! Use Halloween-themed or colored paper for extra fun! Older students can workshop their stories to foster peer collaboration and present their end results to the class on Halloween.
3. Teach the Salem Witch Trials
If you’re teaching your students U.S. history, Halloween is the perfect time of year to learn about the Salem Witch Trials, which began in 1692 after a group of women in Massachusetts were accused of witchcraft. This period teaches students about tolerance, superstition, and peer pressure.
To encourage deeper learning and immersion into the events, older students can read Elizabeth George Speare’s Newbery Medal-winning book The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Though it takes place a few years before the witch trials in colonial Connecticut, this book examines the societal pressures that ultimately culminated in trials from the perspective of a relatable teenage girl.
4. Teach Students About Spiders
During Halloween, many animals that we normally consider “pests” take the spotlight, and there are few animals so popular on Halloween as spiders. Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is a common fear, especially among children, but spiders are incredibly important animals. Teach your students spiders’ role in nature as bug-catchers, and have them conduct original research on spiders that they can then present to the class!
For more hands-on learning, show your students one of the spider’s most unique qualities—its webs—and have your students create their own webs. They can use a variety of materials, from yarn to straws—as long as they get creative, because each spiderweb is unique!
5. Make a Ghost Float
Use the power of static electricity to make a “ghost” float with this fun science activity. Cut out a ghost shape in tissue paper, and then rub a balloon on a sweater or a head of hair. When you place the balloon a few inches above the ghost, it will float up. Play around with it and see if you can make the ghost dance. Find more instructions here.
6. Have a Costume Contest
One of the most exciting parts of Halloween is dressing up in costumes. You’re sure to find a lot of superheroes, princesses, and witches, and maybe different characters—both real and fictional—from throughout history. Have a costume contest in your classroom and give bonus points to any student who dresses up as a historical figure and gives the class a presentation on the figure's life.
Find more lesson plans and classroom resources on Shaped.
For more ways to celebrate Halloween with your students, read:
- 12 Ideas for Best DIY Teacher Halloween Costumes
- ELA Halloween Activities for Middle School and High School Students
This blog, originally published in September 2019, was updated for 2022.