In the United States, Halloween is celebrated on October 31. The holiday has its roots in the pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhain. It was Christianized in the 9th century as "All Hallows' Eve," which precedes the Roman Catholic celebration of All Saints' Day on November 1.
- If you have Internet access in your class or school, assign one common aspect of Halloween (e.g., costumes, pumpkins, witches) to a group of students and ask them to search for information about how that aspect came to be a part of Halloween tradition.
- Have students make a list of the characters from a text that they are currently reading (or from texts read earlier in the year). Ask students to create masks or costumes that represent one of the characters from the text. Each student could then be asked to deliver a short monologue as that character to a small group.
- Ask students to write a narrative describing their best Halloween ever, an expository essay that tells how to plan a Halloween celebration, or a spooky Halloween mystery story. They can plan the last one using the interactive Mystery Cube tool. Helpful information can be found on the Mystery Cube page.
This online magazine is a great place to research the history of Halloween and includes a link for teachers to find a few classroom activities.
Elementary students in the United States and Canada share their language arts activities in this collaborative Internet project about autumn. Students can view the work and use it as a model for their own projects. Don't miss the Haunted House showcased in Mrs. Silverman and Miss Sowa's class.
This page from KidsReads.com provides an annotated list of books about Halloween.
This page from the Library of Congress American Memory website features primary documents related to Halloween, including interviews, folk tales, and audio files. Some highlights include images of magician Harry Houdini, first-hand accounts of Halloween tricks of the past, and spooky songs.