Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board is the my first logic puzzle. While thinking of some fun Halloween-themed activities, the party game Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board came to me naturally. What’s more creepy or mysterious than a game where you sit in the dark, tell the story of someone’s death, and then lift them with only your finger? However, rather than a normal clue by clue mystery game, this one evolved into a Halloween Logic Puzzle. It seemed only natural as I imagined the scenario. Everyone is in costume. It’s pitch-black. The police need to figure out who is who before they can say who the mystery is.
What’s a Logic Puzzle?
A logic puzzle, or logic grid puzzle, is a kind of critical thinking activity where students must use clues to match people with facts about them. In this Halloween logic puzzle, students must figure out which costume each person was wearing and where they are sitting. Often it helps to draw a grid to solve this kind of logic puzzle, and I’ve included one with this fun classroom activity.
Why do a Logic Puzzle?
Although this isn’t a typical clue by clue mystery, the benefits still hold. As with all clue by clue mysteries, students are given the situation to analyze. They are then given the clue cards, one at a time. In pairs or small groups, students analyze each clue to try to decide if it’s relevant or irrelevant. They also analyze it to figure out how it helps solve the mystery. It’s a great way for students to practice critical thinking skills. Solving a mystery means evaluating evidence, synthesizing information from different clues, and telling truth from lie and fact from opinion. (Check out my post on Why short mysteries make awesome critical thinking activities for more and a list of all my clue by clue activities). Continue reading “Halloween Logic Puzzle: Light as a Feather”
The Halloween Mystery Activity: The Candy Thief is the first clue by clue I wrote with a holiday theme, namely Halloween. It’s also the first one targeted to younger learners. While trick or treating, a boy is knocked over and his candy stolen. His three friends were wearing costumes so they didn’t see much. But, one of them is lying about what they know. Can your students find the lie and figure out which one was an accomplice to the robbery?
While the mystery may be aimed at younger learners, the benefits of a clue by clue are clear. As with all clue by clue mysteries, students are given the situation to analyze. They are then given the clue cards, one at a time. In pairs or small groups, students analyze each clue to try to decide if it’s relevant or irrelevant. They also analyze it to figure out how it helps solve the mystery. It’s a great way for students to practice critical thinking skills. Solving a mystery means evaluating evidence, synthesizing information from different clues, and telling truth from lie and fact from opinion. (Check out my post on Why short mysteries make awesome critical thinking activities for more and a list of all my clue by clue activities). Continue reading “Halloween Mystery Activity: The Candy Thief”
Are you looking for Halloween Lesson Plans and Activities for ELA/ESL/EFL? Here’s a collection of my best-sellers, as well as some new critical thinking mystery games with a Halloween theme. I now keep all my lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers, so the links go directly to that site.
Introducing Halloween Lesson Plans and Activities
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Lesson Plan A complete lesson plan with a warmer, guide to the video, a vocabulary list and activities, comprehension and discussion questions, and ideas for extension activities. I love using Charlie Brown movies to introduce holidays to my international students. It’s also amazing how much they already know about the holidays. Unlike other Charlie Brown films, It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown doesn’t have much of a moral lesson, but there’s an underlying theme of naive faith and childhood stories that you can get students talking about. It’s also a fun, funny movie to bring a little holiday spirit into the classroom.
Halloween True or False My go-to lesson to introduce Halloween to EFL and ESL students. Students are presented with a series of Halloween traditions and have to figure out or research which are real and which are not. This activity lends itself to lots of discussion and can be turned into a webquest easily. Teach research skills and good Internet habits along with your Halloween fun!
“This is Halloween” Lyrics Gap-Fill Use the popular Tim Burton song from The Nightmare Before Christmas to introduce Halloween and have some fun. Obviously, this makes for a good listening lesson.
My Comprehensive, Highly Adaptable Halloween Lesson Plan which covers a lot of territory from reading scary stories to reviewing Halloween vocabulary to the Halloween True or False lesson. So it’s bits and pieces of things, including some of the other ideas you see here.
Halloween Lesson Plans and Activities for Writing
The Movie of Death: This lesson plan uses the genre method of writing to help students analyze a scary story. After reading an example scary story, they look for the key features that make it scary using a worksheet. Then they are ready to write a scary story of their own. The sample story is as silly as the title suggests, so students won’t be too scared by it. But my students come up with some creepy ideas when I do this one with them!
Halloween Process Essay If you’re teaching the process essay, here’s a way to give it a Halloween flair. Students assemble and then read an essay on how to make a mask. You can even make masks with them in class if you want.
The Candy Thief Halloween Mystery Someone stole a bag of candy from a trick-or-treater. There were three witnesses but one of them is lying. Can your students follow the clues and figure out who did it? This lesson is one of my best-selling, critically teacher-acclaimed clue by clue lessons, targeted for a slightly younger audience. It’s a great critical thinking and discussion activity. This version is in PDF so you can download and print it. There’s also a PowerPoint version to display in class.
Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board A creepy Halloween murder mystery. Who stabbed the victim in the dark while they were playing the popular Halloween game. This one takes the form of a logic puzzle. Can your students use the clues to match the name to the costume and seating position? And then figure out Whodunit?
Reading Activities for Halloween
Scary Stories adapted for intermediate students. These are short urban-legend-style scary stories each only a couple of paragraphs long. Have students read them and then retell them, act them out, or illustrate them.
This is a great lesson plan for Halloween. My Writing a Scary Story Lesson Plan: Movie of Death uses the genre-based approach to writing. Instead of starting with a set formulaic template, much as we teach the 5-paragraph essay, in the genre-based approach, students look at examples of a kind of writing. They then analyze the key elements that make that writing what it is. This makes it easy to use those elements in their own writing.
In this Writing a Scary Story Lesson Plan, students read several scary stories. They also talk about horror movies they are familiar with. They are then guided through an analysis of key features of a scary story. These include typical settings for a scary story, building tension, the concept of a twist,and endings. Students then write a story with those genre-specific elements.
Writing a Scary Story Lesson Plan Objectives
Students will read and analyze a scary story.
Students will use elements of a scary story to write their own.
Teachers will have fun and integrate Halloween into an academic curriculum.
Writing a Scary Story Lesson Plan Materials
The Movie of Death story
Scary Story Genre Analysis Worksheet
Scary Stories adapted for intermediate students. (optional)
I love Halloween and I love teaching writing. So when my English language school required teaching the process essay, I figured out how to do a Halloween Process Essay.
What is a Halloween Process Essay?
Trying to explain what makes a good process essay can be difficult. Maybe because the textbook gives a list as an example, students tend to underestimate this essay type. So I’m always on the lookout for ways to teach the process essay better. And I’m also always looking for ways to make it fun and original. I’ve had enough of recipes for Saudi dishes (no offense to the food, but after a few years it gets tedious!)
So last fall, I began looking for ways to tie the process essay into Halloween. That’s when I found these instructions on how to make a mask. I thought they’d be perfect as an example of a process essay. However they did need to be adapted them slightly, because I don’t think everyone wants to go as a guy from Slipknot. I also simplified the language a bit.
I present it by cutting it up into individual paragraphs and having students figure out what order the paragraphs go in. That puts an emphasis on order in process essays. It also helps them notice how writers indicate the order of activities, how they create coherence by referring to objects and steps that came before, and how they introduce or conclude a section of a process.
After students have assembled the essay, we highlight a lot of that language. We also highlight repeated words and talk about why they repeat. Then we look at verb tenses.
Now, the “How to make a mask”: A Halloween Process Essay might still seem to be a bit long but making a mask takes a certain amount of detail. So draw your students attention to the length. Point out that it’s important to be thorough in describing a process, particularly one that you want students to do themselves. I also have a nice activity on the completeness of instructions where students look at how to register a webpage. If you have enough time and space, students can make actually masks. Then you can discuss how clear the instructions were. Plus it’s fun to do arts and crafts in class.
Ultimately, you will want your students to write a process essay of their own!
“This is Halloween” is the opening song from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. It makes a great classroom activity to introduce the concept of Halloween, especially setting the mood. Note that this song is not to be confused with the Marilyn Manson song of the same name!
I show the video to my ESL and EFL students and discuss what they see and what it tells them about Halloween. I made a This is Halloween lyrics gap-fill activity, which you can purchase and download at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. This video makes a good opening activity. Or a filler to fill up the last 10-15 minutes of class. Of course, it’s great practice at listening comprehension and it can be a fun sing-along.
This is Halloween Lyrics Video
Here are a few other ways to put the song to use:
You can have students watch and list all the scary monsters they see.
Introduce the idea of the Boogey man, the monster who hides in the closet or under the bed. Ask if their culture has a similar catch-all monster.
Ask if scary and creepy things can ever be fun?
Discuss the lyrics. Why do the monsters say they aren’t mean? Are the things mentioned in the song scary or funny?
Rank the scariness of the different monster they see in the video
Show part of the video for 30-60 minutes and have students make as many sentences as they can about what they see.