Planning classroom games and activities is a great way to get students engaged and excited about upcoming holidays. This provides the teacher with a prime opportunity to incorporate any lessons with the students. Halloween is no exception. Planning classroom activities outside of the normal "trick or treat" can be challenging but the reward of engaged and excited students is worth it.
If you can get your students to resist the urge to go on a pumpkin smashing rampage, pumpkin bowling can be a ton of fun. Set up a bowling "ally" in your room or outside using empty 2 liter soda bottles as pins. Have the students divide into even teams and bowl like they normally would, except have them use small pumpkins. Keep score with traditional bowling score keeping, which can be a great exercise for a math class. For added fun or perhaps for an art class, have the students decorate their own personal or team pumpkin with paint and markers. Have Halloween candy at the ready for prizes for strikes or high scores.
Give the class a writing assignment. Nothing difficult or stressful, just perhaps a page on their favorite Halloween memory or costume. This simply serves as the distraction. While they are working, pass a note to one of the students informing them that they are "patient zero". Their job is to silently pass the "disease" to other students by passing them notes with the same instructions and include instructions to remember who they "infected". Once every student has been "infected", see if they can identify "patient zero". Another fun activity may be tracing the spread on a map of the classroom and trying to predict the spread of a similar outbreak in larger settings.
A great tie in for literature classes reading "The Crucible" or history classes studying the Salem Witch Trials, sending the kids on their very own witch hunt around the school can be great fun. Simply cut out a number of paper witches and tape them in locations throughout your classroom or even the whole school. Attach candy for added incentive and turn the students loose either individually or have them team up. Have a race to see who can collect a certain number first or simply see who can collect the most over a given period of time.
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