If you’re looking for Halloween ESL games, activities, lesson plan ideas and worksheets, then you’re certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for all the details you need to help you plan an awesome ESL Halloween lesson.
Top 21 ESL Halloween Activities
Let’s get into the best 21 activities for Halloween right here.
#1: Password Halloween Speaking Activity ESL
A fun way to review Halloween vocabulary is to play password. The way it works is that students have to describe a secret word to one of their classmates who it up at the front of the class and can’t see the word. It’s simple, engaging and students love playing it! Of course, it’s also an ideal way to review some key words for any lesson.
Do you want to give it a go in your classes? Find out more here: Password ESL Speaking Activity.
#2: 3 Things ESL Writing Activity for Halloween
If you want to focus on some writing during your Halloween themed lesson, try out this simple activity. The way it works is that students choose three words for another student and they have to write a quick story about them. In this case, they’d want to choose halloween vocabulary.
Find out more details about this fun writing activity here: 3 Things.
#3: Candy Jar Contest
One fun game that you might consider playing with your entire school is the traditional candy jar contest. Get your hands on some Halloween candy (candy corn or black & orange jellybeans) and put a bunch of them in a jar. Each student gets to submit a guess for how many are in there and the person with the best guess is the winner.
#4: The Alphabet Game
It’s likely that your students already know lots of Halloween vocab. In that case, you may want to use this activity as a quick warm-up to help them activate their prior knowledge about this popular American and Canadian holiday.
The way it works is that students have to think of a word related to Halloween that begins with each letter of the alphabet. The team with the most words in a certain amount of time is the winner. Find out how to play it here:
#5: Halloween Songs for Kids
If you take a look on YouTube, there are lots of fun songs for kids that are related to Halloween (or any holiday for that matter). Here’s one of the best ones:
#6: ESL Whiteboard Activities for Halloween
Almost nothing says party and fun for kids like writing on whiteboard! I’m not sure what it is but they just love it for some reason. I like to take advantage of this during my classes and use this for lots of fun activities.
It’s certainly possible to adapt these games to a Halloween theme, so take a look at them right here:
#7: Halloween Charades
If you want to have some serious fun, consider playing charades using Halloween vocabulary! It’s fun, exciting and usually hilarious. The difficulty of the words of course depends on the level and age of the students.
#8: Halloween Related Idioms
There are a ton of idioms related to Halloween. For example:
- Skeleton in the closet
- Over my dead body
- Blood runs cold
- Like a bat out of hell
A fun thing to do is have students draw the literal picture of them. Then, discuss the real meaning in English. Find out how to do this activity here:
#9: Touching all the Scary Things!
If you teach little kids, or even older kids too, you may want to consider doing this activity. It does take a bit of time to set it up but the results are worth it.
The way it works is that find a bunch of objects that are a bit unusual to touch and play it up a bit, saying that they are actually body parts! For example:
- Ears (dried apricots)
- Cooked spaghetti (intestines)
- Steamed cauliflower (brains)
- Peeled grapes (eyeballs)
Then students have to touch things while wearing a blindfold (in a separate room) and try to guess what each body part is.
#10: The Duel Halloween Classroom Game
Check out this fun game to try out with your ESL students on Halloween:
A fun but challenging activity for adults is dictogloss. In particular, I love it because it covers a range of skills in one single activity.
The way is works is that you find (or write) a short story related to Halloween. I’ve often made my own talking about my memories of Halloween when I was a kid.
Then, read it out loud to your students at a slightly faster pace than they’re used to. In pairs, students have to work together to recreate the story from their notes. Then, read it again and students can do the same thing. Finally, they can compare their version to the original.
Learn more about it here: ESL Dictogloss Activity.
#12: The Flyswatter Game
A quick but fun ESL activity that can be used for any vocabulary set, including holiday-themed lesson is the flyswatter game. It’s basically a race where students try to slap the correct word on a whiteboard first. See more information about it here:
#13: Word Association Warm-Up
Unless your students are absolute beginners, it’s likely that they already know a lot of words related to this popular holiday. If that’s the case for your students, consider using Word Association as a quick warmer activity to help them activate their prior knowledge.
The way it works is that students make a mind-map of words related to Halloween. For example, they might have one section related to costume ideas, another to traditions and one to food ideas. Check it out here:
#14: Halloween ESL Flashcard Game
In my opinion, flashcards are one of those seriously underrated teaching tools. There are just so many things you can do with them. So, get yourself a set of Halloween flashcards and try out this fun game with your students:
One of my favourite ESL memory games is concentration. It’s challenging but fun and students of all ages and levels love it. In this case, you’d want to have a picture and then a corresponding word related to Halloween. Or, for more advanced levels, the word and the related definition.
Then students have to compete against each other to get the most matches possible. Find out everything you need to know right here:
#16: Error Correction Relay Race
I love to take something old (error correction) and make it new again by making it into a friendly team competition. It’s also a nice way to sneak some serious learning into your Halloween lesson!
The way it works is that you can write a passage related to Halloween, using some of the grammatical points you’ve been teaching in class that semester. And then make some errors. Students have to work in teams to correct them. Learn how to do it here:
#17: Odd One Out
This is a quick warm-up or review activity that can be used with just about any theme, including this one. The way it works is that you think of groups of 4 words, one of which doesn’t fit. For example:
- clown, witch, broom, superman
Then, students have to say which one is the odd one out and tell you why. In this case, the easiest answer is probably broom because all the other ones are costume ideas while broom is not. Learn more about it here;
#18: Mixed Up Sentences
If you want to sneak some serious learning into your Halloween lesson, then consider using mixed up sentences. The way it works is that you can think of a few sentences related to Halloween and then change up the word order. Students have to race to make the correct sentences.
Learn more here: ESL Mixed Up Sentence Game.
#19: Halloween Pictionary
Similar to charades, Pictionary requires that students draw the words instead of acting them out. Again, the results are usually really funny and students really enjoy playing this game.
#20: Halloween Themed Puzzles and Word Searches
I love to create some fun puzzles and word searches for my students. Sure, you can find lots of them online that are already made but I prefer to make my own because I can use the exact vocabulary that I’ve been teaching my students.
By far the best resource for this is here: Discovery’s PuzzleMaker.
#21: ESL Spelling Game
If you’re looking for a quick time-filler activity, then look no further than Word Challenge. It requires only the use of a whiteboard and a couple of markers, along with some Halloween vocabulary (either a list or you can make it up on the spot).
The way it works is that students have to race to spell a word that you say out loud. Want to try it out with your students? You can see all the details here:
Halloween ESL Lesson Plans
If you’re super busy then a real life-saver can be lesson plans that are ready to go and which you can just print off and use. Why reinvent the wheel when another teacher has already done the hard work for you, right? With that in mind, here are my top recommendations for a ESL Halloween Lesson Plans:
Halloween Vocabulary ESL
Here’s a short list of some words that you might consider teaching your students:
- black cat
- dress up
- haunted house
- trick or treat
ESL Halloween Worksheets
There are a ton of great Halloween ESL worksheets out there which you might consider using. Here are some of our top picks:
Did you like these Teaching Ideas?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 132 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Kids. There are dozens of student-centred, engaging and interesting ESL games and activities for kids from around 6 years old to 13 or so.
The key to better English classes with kids is a variety of interesting things to do in class and this book will certainly help you get there. It’s easier than ever to make our lessons better!
We recommend keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide. Or, take the digital version with you to your favourite coffee shop on your tablet, phone or laptop for some serious lesson planning on the go. It really is that easy!
Check out the book for yourself on Amazon, but only if you want a dose of ESL teaching awesome in your life:
Have your Say about ESL Halloween Activities
What’s your top ESL game or activity that you like to do in a Halloween themed lesson? It is one of the options from this list or do you have an idea for another one? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful lesson planning resource.
Last update on 2020-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API