Halloween Costumes – ESL Listening Activity

Halloween takes place on October 31. Will your students be dressing up for the occasion? Do they know how to respond to the standard question that people are asking kids at this time of year?

“What are you going to be for Halloween?”

Talking about Halloween costumes before the big day is useful for practicing “going to” to make simple future plans.

Listening Activity

After you try our Halloween Word Bank lesson with your students, try this listening activity. Play the recording and talk about what these kids are going to wear for Halloween.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

Tara: It’s almost Halloween. Kids are starting to plan their Halloween costumes. I wonder what the kids in my neighborhood are going to be this year. Let’s ask them.
Tara: Hi Jenny. What are you going to be for Halloween?
Jenny: I’m going to be a vampire.
Tara: How are you going to turn yourself into a vampire?
Jenny: I am going to wear a black dress, a black cape, and black boots. I am also going to have pointy teeth.
Tara: Are you going to paint your lips black?
Jenny: Yes I am.

Tara: Hi John. What are you going to be for Halloween?
John: I’m going to be the Big Bad Wolf.
Tara: That’s very original. What does your costume look like?
John: It’s gray and furry, and I have a long tail. I also have pointy ears on my wolf mask.
Tara: Look out little piggies!

Tara: Hi Austin. What are you going to be for Halloween this year?
Austin: I’m either going to be a pirate or a skeleton. Or maybe I’ll be or a zombie.
Tara: Those are good ideas. I vote for the pirate!

Tara: I can’t wait to see your Halloween costumes, kids. Don’t forget to come trick-or-treating at my house on October 31. We’ll have jack-o’-lanterns and a spooky ghost out front, and I’ll be handing out candy! This year I’m going as a witch. I am going to wear a black dress, a black cape, and a pointy black hat. Happy Halloween!

Speaking or Writing Practice

Here are some questions you can ask your students after they listen to the conversation.

1. What are Jenny, Georgie, and Austin going to be for Halloween this year?

2. Describe Jenny’s costume. What does Georgie’s costume look like? Austin hasn’t decided on his costume yet. What ideas does he have?

3. What is Tara going to be for Halloween?

4. What will kids find at Tara’s house on October 31?

Note: Some students aren’t allowed to dress up for Halloween. This may be due to religious or cultural reasons. Make sure that these students know how to respond to the question, too.

Q: What are you going to be for Halloween?
A: My family doesn’t celebrate Halloween. OR I am not going to dress up for Halloween.


Hand out Halloween flashcards or pictures of costumes that your students cut out from magazines. Give one picture to each student and have kids walk around asking and answering the question: What are you going to be for Halloween? After a minute or two, have your students switch costumes.


Spooky Halloween Fun for Young Learners
Halloween: Find the Objects
Halloween Vocabulary Lesson
Haunted House Writing Task
Halloween Coloring Worksheets
5 Tricky Halloween Words
It’s Monstrous: Suggested Halloween Activities by Shelly Terrell
Mary Shelley Spooky Fiction Contest (includes a listening activity)
Draw and Describe Monsters
Dangerous Aliens Board Game

Tara Benwell

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry. She is the media director and head writer for ESL-Library, and a contributor to its sister site Sprout English. Tara is the author of an iPad storybook series for kids called Happy Campers Books. Her debut novel, The Proper Order of Things is available on Amazon and in the iBookstore.

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