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Beginners’ Halloween Party

This is not a game, but a lesson plan idea for a Halloween party for a young (6 to 10 years old) class that doesn’t read or write yet – this could be for kindergarten or elementary school students. The objective is to have a variety of types of games, including opportunities for students to practice what they’ve learned and pick up a few new Halloween-related words. I’m also trying to strike a balance between active games and quieter games. My policy is to keep games short and sweet – in beginners’ classes I don’t spend more than 10 minutes on any activity.

  1. Candy Guessing Game – 10 minutes. Award a prize for the winning guess, and hand out one or two pieces of candy per student. The rest can be used as prizes for games during the party.
  2. Pin the Face on the Pumpkin – 10 minutes. Now the kids are sugared up, give them a chance to giggle and get dizzy.
  3. Halloween Concentration – 10 minutes. Take a minute to slow down with concentration – you may have to teach them the new words for ghosts, owls, bats, and zombies.
  4. Candy and Spoon Race – 10 minutes. Another opportunity to get goofy in a traditional fall carnival game. (Straw Relay Race works just as well, too.)
  5. Halloween Costume Fashion Show – 10 minutes. Let the students show off their costumes in front of the class. Award prizes for the funniest, cutest, and best costumes. (I put this toward the end of the program so there won’t be upset kids all class if they lose.)
  6. Trick-Or-Treating – 10 minutes. Students knock on the doors of other classrooms asking for candy!

If you have spare time or need to replace a game, Witch Hat Ring Toss and Monster Golf are good active filler games. If your class is going crazy and you need to calm them down, have a dozen copies of an “I Spy”-type find-a-picture game on hand to dampen their spirits without ruining all the fun – they can work in groups to find the items you name, and be awarded prizes for finding them quickly.

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Monster Mini Golf

Make a cardboard cutout of a monster (or other Halloween-appropriate shape) with the open mouth on the floor. You’ll also need ping-pong balls and a squeaky hammer (or rubber chicken, if you swing that way!).

Divide the class into teams. After each student answers a skill-testing question, let them use the squeaky hammer or rubber chicken to try to hit the ping pong ball into the monster’s mouth. Keep a tally of team points – one point per hit – and the team with the lowest score at the end of class is the winner.

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Witch Hat Ring Toss

Stuff a witch’s hat with newspaper to keep it standing tall. You’ll also need some rings – dollar stores and bookstores sell large rings that would work, or check out toy stores as well.

Have each student answer a skill-testing question before throwing three to five rings at the witch’s hat. Award candy or stickers for each successful throw!

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Trick AND Treat

This is a fun way to liven up a class Halloween party!

Before class, write down silly actions on slips of paper, and put them in a plastic Halloween Jack-O-Lantern. (If you trust your students to choose appropriate tricks, you can let them make the slips themselves.) Make sure you have lots of candy on hand, too!

Students come to the front of the classroom, say “Trick or Treat!”, and draw a slip of paper from the pumpkin. This gives them instructions on what trick they have to perform to earn their treat! Good tricks might include:

  • Sing a song (with actions).
  • Walk like a chicken, making chicken noises.
  • Pretend to die, violently.
  • Hop on one foot across the classroom.
  • Lead the class in singing “head, shoulders, knees and toes”.
  • Pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time.
  • Make the ugliest face you can!
  • Pretend to be a monkey eating a banana.
  • Walk like a zombie.
  • Try to make the teacher laugh.
  • Stand on one foot while you recite the alphabet.
  • Spin around five times, then walk in a straight line.
  • Go to the class next door and ask to borrow the teacher’s lunch.
  • Say something nice about every classmate.
  • Open the next class’s door and shout boo!
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Straw Relay Race

This is like the Candy and Spoon Race, but a bit more ridiculous. Rather than balancing a candy on a spoon, the students each have a drinking straw, and need to breathe in to hold a candy or a ping-pong ball onto the straw.

To play with a ping-pong ball, follow the rules for the Candy and Spoon Race. If you’re playing with candies instead, use small candies like m&m’s or small gumballs. Each team has a bowl or cup of candies in its starting place. The first student uses the straw to pick up a candy, then runs the obstacle course and returns to the desk. Instead of giving her candy to the next student (Gross! Germs!) she puts her candy down on the desk, and the next student (using his own straw) picks up a different candy from the cup and runs the race. Dropped candies are (obviously) discarded and the racer must return to the candy bowl to get a new candy. The first team to successfully carry ten candies through the race and put them on the desk without dropping them is the winner!

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Candy and Spoon Relay Race

This is a less-messy version of the classic egg-and-spoon race.

You’ll need at least two spoons per team, and several large round candies – think jawbreakers. For a Halloween party, I’ll be using eyeball jawbreakers or gumballs. I suppose you could use ping pong balls, too.

To play, the first team members take a candy and place it on a spoon. They need to walk/run from one end of the class to the other, walk around an obstacle (a chair or desk, if you’re inside), and return to the starting point, without dropping the candy from the spoon. Then, they have to tip the candy from their spoon to their teammate’s spoon, and the race continues until every member of the team has completed the race. If someone drops a candy, they need to return to their home base to get a new candy, then that person runs their leg of the race again.

Variation:

If you want to play this game during class without moving all your desks around, I have another version of the game. For this one, only one team is doing the spoon race at a time. The other team is performing some other kind of speed test – reading a passage, answering review questions, etc. After the reading team finishes, record how well the racing team did, then switch roles. Award points for the number of passes completed, and subtract points for dropped candies.

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Halloween Go Fish

This game uses the same cards as in the previous game, Halloween Concentration, although you might want to include more cards. To expand the card deck, include faces for each picture – happy pumpkins versus angry pumpkins, happy owls versus angry owls, etc. This way you have “suits” (happy, angry, sad, and crazy would be my choices). Make sure you have enough sets of cards for each group to play.

Before playing, teach the students the phrases “Do you have a ________?” “No, I don’t. Go fish.” and “Yes, I do. Here you are.” Students play in groups of three to six.

There are several different variations of “Go Fish” – if you don’t remember the rules, here’s a summary of the most common ways to play. For added educational value, have the students tell you what sets of cards they earned, and trade them in for candy, stickers, or other prizes. For example, Kevin wins the game. To win his prize, he must tell you “I have two happy owls, two sad pumpkins, two angry spiders, and two crazy pumpkins.”