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.
ESL Halloween Activities
Let’s get into the best 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 is up at the front of the class and can’t see the word. It’s simple, and engaging and students love playing it! Of course, it’s also an ideal way to review some keywords 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.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 78 Pages - 03/22/2021 (Publication Date)
#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 and Chants 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). They are useful for teaching vocabulary and having a bit of fun in class.
#6: Halloween Whiteboard Ideas
Looking for Halloween whiteboard ideas? Almost nothing says party and fun for kids like writing on the 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:
Fun ESL Whiteboard Activities.
#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 Halloween idioms. 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 to have students draw a 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: Dialogue Substitution
It’s very often the case that new vocabulary words are introduced through a dialogue. However, my students often just blow through them and don’t really pay attention to what they’re reading. Here’s how I combat that:
#11: Dictogloss: Halloween ESL Lesson for Adults
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 lessons 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:
ESL Word Association Activity.
#14: I’m an Alien
It’s often the case that students already know a good deal about this holiday before explicitly teaching them. If that’s the case, consider using this simple warm-up activity.
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:
Concentration ESL Memory Game.
#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: Flip Chart Vocabulary Review Game
#19: 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.
#20: 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.
#21: 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.
#22: ESL Spelling Game
If you’re looking for a quick time-filler activity, then look no further than Word Challenge. Spelling games can be easily turned into Halloween spelling activities. 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 the teacher says out loud. Want to try it out with your students? You can see all the details here:
#23: An ESL Speaking Lesson
It’s quite easy to plan an ESL speaking or conversation lesson about any topic, including this one. Have a look here for how to do that:
#24: Costume Contest
A fun way to celebrate Halloween for ESL is to have a costume contest. This can be done with a single class or the entire school. It really is up to you! Encourage creative and original ideas by offering some small prizes.
#25: Have a Halloween Party
I love to celebrate this holiday by having a party in class. Bring some candy and other snacks and do some Halloween-themed activities. Watch a scary movie, do some trivia, play some games, etc. The sky is really the limit and what you do really depends on the age of the students.
#26: Halloween Trivia Game
Try out a fun Halloween general knowledge trivia quiz to test how well you and your students know about the topic.
#27: Decorate Some Halloween Cookies
This activity does take a bit of effort and preparation but students love doing it! Buy or make some cookies in Halloween shapes such as ghosts, cats, cauldrons, etc. Make some icing and ask students to bring in decorations like sprinkles or candies. Then, enjoy some time together making a masterpiece! You’ll also want to have some paper towels to prevent messy and sticky desks.
#28: Door Decoration Contest
If your school does a homeroom-style kind of thing, a nice activity is to have each class decorate a door. Then, the administration or a group of teachers can judge the best ones and that class can get a small prize (candy!).
#29: History of Halloween
Check out this fun video for your students to learn about the history of this fun holiday. You might learn something as well!
#30: Halloween Storytelling
Provide students with Halloween-themed story starters or prompts. Ask them to create their own spooky stories using the vocabulary and grammar they have learned. Afterward, students can take turns sharing their stories with the class, focusing on storytelling skills and using appropriate Halloween vocabulary.
#31: Jack-o’-Lantern Design
Give each student a piece of paper and ask them to draw their own jack-o’-lantern faces. Encourage creativity by allowing them to design different expressions and styles. Then, have students present their jack-o’-lanterns to the class, describing the emotions or personalities they represent.
#32: Halloween Crafts
Engage students in hands-on Halloween crafts. For example, they can make paper bats, paper bag puppets of Halloween characters, or create their own Halloween masks using colored paper and craft materials. While making the crafts, encourage students to describe the steps they are taking and the materials they are using.
Halloween ESL Lesson Plans
If you’re super busy then a real life-saver can be Halloween lesson plans that are ready to go and that 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 ESL Halloween lesson plans:
Halloween Vocabulary ESL
A list of Halloween vocabulary is useful if you are going to do Halloween spelling activities in class. Here’s a short list of some words that you might consider teaching your students:
- black cat
- dress up
- haunted house
- trick or treat
Also, be sure to check out this Halloween ESL vocabulary quiz:
ESL Halloween English Worksheets
There are a ton of great Halloween ESL worksheets out there that you might consider using. Here are some of our top picks:
FAQs About ESL Halloween Activities
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about ESL Halloween lesson plans, games, and activities.
How can I teach ESL Halloween?
You can teach Halloween to ESL students by playing Halloween activities and games. You can use one of the free online lesson plans and worksheets to organize your class. Teach new vocabulary that is Halloween-themed, and try ESL Halloween spelling activities to make learning fun for your students.
What should I teach ESL students about Halloween?
Teach Halloween to your ESL students by briefly explaining the origin of Halloween, giving a list of Halloween-themed vocabulary, playing ESL Halloween spelling activities and whiteboard activities, and doing a Halloween trivia quiz as a class.
What Halloween activities can you do in class?
There are many Halloween activities that you can try out in your ESL class: Password Halloween speaking activity, Halloween Trivia Game, ESL Halloween spelling activities, ESL Halloween whiteboard activities, Odd One Out, Condy Jar Contest, Halloween Songs, and Flip Chart.
Did you like these Teaching Ideas?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 134 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:
ESL Halloween Activities: Join the Conversation
What’s your top ESL game or activity that you like to do in a Halloween-themed lesson? Is it one of the options from this list or do you have an idea for another one? If you are interested in other holiday ESL lessons, check out Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving. 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 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API