Halloween Activities for Kids - 7 Engaging Ideas for Upper Elementary

Halloween Activities for Kids - 7 Engaging Ideas for Upper Elementary

Nothings excites students more than the thought of Halloween! The candy, the costumes, and all things spooky truly bring out the joy of being a kid. As an 18 year veteran teacher, I know all too well that Halloween can sometimes be a distraction for students. That is why I love to weave Halloween and Halloween topics into the classroom with standards based lessons. By using themes related to Halloween, you can engage and motivate students, while meeting the content standards that you need to teach! 

These seven ideas and activities are ones that are just the right amount of spookiness for your upper elementary classroom!

Kindly note this disclaimer: Please be aware of your district's policy when it comes to Halloween. While most schools do celebrate Halloween, many schools do not. I would also encourage you to confirm with the families of your students to make sure that they are allowed to do Halloween activities. If your school does NOT celebrate Halloween, you will love this list of ideas that are alternatives to Halloween activities.

1. Create a Festive Environment with Purposeful Decor

halloween bulletin board for the classroom

Spread kindness this October with this easy display! These Halloween themed kindness sayings are a great way to bring attention to the kind behavior you want to see in your classroom. I love displaying kindness posters all year long and these have just a bit of spooky goodness that will grab your students' attention this October.

halloween kindness grams for kids

Go one step further and print these Halloween posters four to a page to create instant kindness grams and notecards. You can spread kindness by sending your students quick notes on these cards, or you can have students send kindness notes to their friends and family. They are a fun and simple way to spread some kindness this Halloween season.

Halloween writing activity and bulletin board display for the classroom

I also love to decorate our classroom with students' writing! These haunted haikus are perfect for the beginning of the year. Haikus are a short piece of poetry that follow a specific pattern related to syllables. Just what our upper elementary students need practice with to help them grow as readers, writers, and spellers. Throw in a spooky theme and the kids will be done writing their haikus in no time. Have students write their haikus on pumpkins, cauldrons, and gravestones to create the perfect bulletin board display or banner to string around your room! These haikus are one of my favorite writing projects of the year. The students always ask to write another one!

2. Read a Halloween Picture Book

Halloween Read Aloud Picture Books 3rd 4th 5th grade

Each year, my Halloween picture book stack gets taller and taller...I just love a good holiday read aloud! While it is fun to read some stories, just to celebrate the holidays, I like to use picture books to teach skills, practice reading and writing strategies, and cover objectives that I already need to teach.

Need a good Halloween book suggestion specifically for upper elementary students? Head to this blog post that shares my favorite 9 Halloween read alouds and content-based objectives that I use each to address.

3. Learn Through History

My students are always asking questions! They love to know the why or how behind something we learn or celebrate...like Halloween! We always dive deep into the history of jack o lanters, candy corn, and the holiday of Halloween. The kids walk away from our lessons feeling like detectives who have figured out the mystery of this spooky day!

👉 Want to try out some spooky Halloween activities to engage your students? Grab these FREE Haunted House reading and writing activities below! Click the image to grab them!

free halloween writing and reading activities for 3rd 4th 5th graders

4.  Get Creative...but with the Standards!

Halloween writing persuasive project what should my teacher be for halloween

I love bringing the holidays and seasons into our writing period. You can keep your students engaged the last week of October with this persuasive writing project that they love! Students brainstorm, illustrate and then persuade YOU to wear the Halloween costume that they picked out for you to wear. It is so much fun, and to be honest, I have gotten some good costume ideas from them! 

5. Sprinkle in the Fun 

Halloween color by code activities for classroom parties

Sprinkle in a little bit of fun this October with coloring activities that kids just LOVE! Packed with activities that meet the standards for reading, grammar, word work, and math, your students won't just be coloring, but they will be learning and reviewing important skills, too!

halloween coloring pages for 3rd 4th 5th grade classrooms

The Holiday Doodle Thinkers are a great way to kick off the day with a calm start and help your students ease into the day. It combines coloring, brainstorming, word review, and writing into one activity that is perfect to last for morning work for the week!

Halloween must have ideas and amazon list
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Other ways that I sprinkle in some fun for the month is by decorating bulletin boards with Halloween writing, using Halloween erasers during math as manipulative, and bringing in some creative tasks like coloring bookmarks, creating sticker characters, and scratch-and-go shapes!

6. Watch a Story and Summarize

I love treating my students to a quick video or two throughout the week. We love favorite stories from Storyline Online and PIXAR shorts. These are great to watch and dive into reading strategy work like inferring and summarizing. And since we are knee-deep in summarizing just around Halloween time, we love to watch Quackenstein Hatches a Family and write a summary about it!

7. Halloween Math Stations

Halloween math game spinners

Nothing says holiday fun like math games! Whether you have fun Friday, math centers, or use it as a party game, Halloween math games are so much fun!

We love spinner games to practice and review important skills. Spinner games are a great tool to have students play with a partner to increase math discourse OR to play alone, to just practice a skill. They are print and go and only require a paperclip and pencil to make the spinner and different color crayons or manipulatives.  And since these are interactive with a digital option, you can play as a whole class, too!

No matter which Halloween activity you choose, you will see instant engagement, participation, and smiles from your upper elementary students. Bring holiday activities into your reading, writing, and math blocks this month and excite your students. Happy Halloween!

You will also love reading:

Check out my favorite Halloween activities HERE

Halloween print and go no prep activities 3rd 4th 5th grade

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Halloween Activities for Kids - 7 Engaging Ideas for Upper Elementary

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