It´s the spookiest time of the year… Halloween

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It´s the spookiest time of the year… Halloween

In the UK on 31st October there are celebrations for Halloween. Here in Spain it is more commonly known as El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Halloween in Spain is the start of a three-day celebration. Far from what you find in America or the UK, this is not a commercial holiday. In Spain, this time is all about honouring the dead and celebrating the continuity of life. The specific customs and rituals that can be observed are similar to those seen in Mexico. Different regions of Spain also have different traditions. Northern Spain is known for having a more Celtic background while Barcelona has its Catalan traditions.

Whatever this festive period means to you, it gives the opportunity to switch things up a bit in when in comes to teaching English. At this time of the year you can do some fun Halloween based activities that will also help introduce new vocabulary in a fun and exciting way. Below we will discuss lots of fun and different activities you can do at this time of the year.

What am I?

This allows children to practise their vocabulary by using descriptive words to try to help other people guess who they are. For example if they are a Pumpkin they can say ´I am orange and round, I am a vegetable.´
You can use a wide range of Halloween themed words from a broomstick to Dracula. Have a picture of who they are meant to be printed out to make it easier for younger children to describe. Give a time limit and whoever guesses correctly gets the next go. This can be played with a minimum of two people so is perfect as a little activity if it is just a child and their babysitter or it can be turned into a family game.

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Halloween bingo

We have mentioned playing Bingo in the blog previously, it is a good game to help practice English vocabulary. You can tweak this traditional game to make it Halloween themed. This game is better with more people so maybe this would be good when there are more children. Make several bingo cards with a 6 by 6 grid and fill each square with a different Halloween themed word. Then pick the words out of a hat/bowl and see who gets BINGO (4 in a row). If anyone is unsure of what a word means you can explain it to them or see if one of the other children can explain it.

Halloween Charades

Charades is great for getting children moving while also getting them to practice speaking English with some added time pressure. Write different Halloween themed charades on a piece of paper and place them in a bowl. Then let the children take turns to act out the word without making any sounds. Then the other children can try and guess in English what the word or action is. Some examples are:

Walk like Frankenstein
A witch flying on a broom
Bobbing for apples

Tailor the difficultly to the age and level the children are at.

Halloween songs
Music is a great way to learn new vocabulary and there are some good spooky themed songs out there. Playing these and learning the words is a fun activity to do while still learning English. For example ‘The Monster Mash’ has very basic words with good repetition so this might be a good one to start with.

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I was working in the lab, late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab, began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise
He did the mash, he did the monster mash
The monster mash, it was a graveyard smash
He did the mash, it caught on in a flash
He did the mash, he did the monster mash
From my laboratory in the castle east
To the master bedroom where the vampire’s feast
The ghouls all came from their humble abodes
To get a jolt from my electrodes
They did the mash, they did the monster mash
The monster mash, it was a graveyard smash
They did the mash, it caught on in a flash
They did the mash, they did the monster mash

This is just one example but you can also learn Thriller by Michael Jackson or Ghostbusters. All the lyrics would be available online so you could print them out and have a little sing along. Another way you could make this even more educational is by doing fill the missing gaps in exercise.

For instance ´I _______ working in the lab, late one night´  Fill in the gap with the correct word     was / am / going

Get creative
Make a Halloween poster. This is a great way to combine art and English. Discuss with them what they might want to include on the poster, a pumpkin, ghost, vampire or black cat. By discussing the different themes, they can practice new vocabulary and then start making a poster or card with different arts and crafts. Or you could even do a haunted house leaflet. Any way to incorporate art and English is a great way to spend the afternoon.

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Pumpkin Carving
This is always a fun activity around Halloween and even if the children are too young to do any carving they can still design what they want the pumpkin to look like. Discuss with them what facial feature they want the pumpkin to have. Do they have big eyes or a big smile on their face? Get them to use lots of descriptive words to show what they want the pumpkin to look like. Then you can even make a pumpkin soup afterwards so you have something to eat for dinner too. Depending on the age of the child you could use an English recipe for the soup. This will be an opportunity to expand their vocabulary even more. Check out this recipe at BBC Food!

 

These are just a few ideas to help parents or babysitters get into the Halloween spirit while still incorporating English. Let us know if this is helpful down in the comments. Until next week!

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