Holiday celebrations are a cornerstone in classrooms throughout the school year. They are not only something for students to look forward to, but they are also a time to help bring students together and create a sense of school community. While most students will not be celebrating in-person this school year, you can still celebrate virtually with some spooky online fun. Here are a few ideas.

Listen to or Read Halloween Stories (K-2)

Students can listen and read along to Halloween stories right from the comfort of their home. To save some time and hassle for students and parents, you can make it easy by creating your own QR codes that lead directly to the story you want students to read and listen to. You can even link to YouTube videos where students can follow along and watch an author read the story. Choose your favorite spooky stories, poems, or interactive videos, and create a list of QR codes. Then, all parents and students have to do is scan the code of their choosing and they are sent directly to the link.

I Spy Halloween (K-2)

If you’re having a hard time getting your little ones to pay attention to the screen when teaching, then try playing “I Spy Halloween edition”. To play you must set a few ground rules. First, each student must place one Halloween-themed artifact in a clear view of the screen. Second, the artifact must be large enough that everyone can see it. Once you begin each student will take a turn and say “I spy with my little eye, something…” then describe an object. This is a great game to play because it forces children to pay attention to the screen.

Write Halloween Stories (3-8)

Listening to scary stories is so much fun, but creating your own can be even more fun! Instead of giving students free rein on what they should write, try giving them a writing prompt. For example, students can tell a ghost story as if they were a ghost, or pretend they are a witch or warlock and create a spell within their story. You can even incorporate technology and have students videotape themselves reading their stories to share on your class website. Give students bonus points for dressing up in costume as they read their spooky stories.

Play Halloween Math Games (K-5)

There are countless Halloween math games to help students practice their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students can play games like Bug Bash from National Geographic Kids, where students must use their mathematical and critical-thinking skills to eliminate spiders and other insects, or answer multiplication or division problems to save the creatures from the evil Horrefedous in the Legend of Multiplico.

Have Students create Blackout Poetry (K-12)

Another fun idea that can be adapted for students of all ages is to create a blackout poem using a spooky story. Blackout poems are when poets use a black marker to redact the words on a page until a poem is formed. Print out an age-appropriate text for your students and have them read it. Then, challenge them to use a marker to create a blackout poem. You can make it easy or challenging depending upon the students’ ages. For example, older students must use personification, hyperboles, or similes and metaphors.

Conduct a Character Autopsy (6-12)

Many middle school and high school students struggle to peel back the layers of a text to see what’s beneath. Challenging students to conduct a character autopsy will help them use their higher-level thinking skills to better understand a specific character. Instruct students to choose one character and draw an outline of their body on poster paper. Then, dissect each part of the character’s body. For example, their eyes would be how they see the world, their brain would be how they think, their feet would be where they’ve been and what has affected them, and so on. Students must also use text-based details to back up each part of their autopsy.

Strange but True Facts (6-12)

Halloween isn’t just about ghosts and goblins; it can be about creepy and strange things too. Challenge students to use their independent novels to find a few strange but true facts. Students can search for facts about the characters, setting, plot, or even the author. Students must also prove the strange but true fact with supporting evidence from their text.

Virtual Halloween Scavenger Hunt (K-12)

What does a virtual Halloween scavenger hunt look like? Well, it can look exactly the same as a regular in-person scavenger hunt if you want it to. You can make it as easy or as hard as you like. You can share clues or riddles or simply give students a checklist of what they need to find. There are no limits to what you can do. Before you begin your virtual hunt, tell students when the timer is up, they must be back in their seats in front of the computer with their objects . If you don’t like the idea of a live scavenger hunt, you can use Flipgrid instead; this is where you post what you want students to find, then each student sends you their video.

Guess Who? (6-12)

Guess Who? is a virtual team-building game that is played online. Here’s how it works: the teacher asks students a Halloween-themed question (e.g. favorite scary movie) over Zoom or Goggle Hangout; then each student privately messages the teacher their answer. Once responses are all in, the teacher reads them aloud and students must then try to match the reply to the correct student.

Virtual Halloween Costume Contest (K-12)

Students don’t have to miss out on dressing up in their favorite costume and parading through the school this year because you can have a virtual Halloween costume contest. While it may look a little different, it still allows students to show off their costume creations. Set a spooky Zoom background and be ready to send virtual awards. The students will love it!

Help cultivate your students’ creativity with a little spooky fun. Remember, Halloween activities are the most fun when everyone embraces the Halloween spirit, so put on a costume and get your students excited to celebrate the holiday!