It’s Monstrous! 4 Themes & 20+ Activities Kids Will Love You Explored This Halloween

“There is magic, but you have to be the magician. You have to make the magic happen.”             ~ Sidney Sheldon, Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Halloween is around the corner, so it’s a great time to engage kids with themes that explore the mysterious, dark, and terrifying. These are themes you probably haven’t broached yet. However, most of these themes offer a way to teach children English as well as science and math. The idea is to get students to experiment and explore. Find a list of these themes below, followed by activities and resources. The themes and activities listed below engage children and allow them to learn English hands-on.

Do You Believe in Magic?

Kids enjoy learning about witches and wizards, which is why Harry Potter is one of the most watched films. Try any of these fun activities:

  • Magic potions – In pairs, students create magic potions to solve problems they face. Find the handout here.

  • Drink the potion – Students get to drink their potions. Make a potion with these recipes and let your kids know the science behind these fizzy drinks.

  • Magic spell chants – Kids get to create their own chants and rhymes so be sure they say them before drinking the magic potion!

  • Magic trick presentations – Students present magic tricks to their peers, then teach them how to perform the tricks.

  • Spellbooks – Kids explore spells in this spellbook, then create their own spellbook.

  • One of my favorite books to read to kids about witches is Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson. Find fun activities that accompany this book here.

Eeek! Monsters

Monsters are fun for kids. They are also a nice way to teach about diversity, appearances, and bullying. We can get children to think about celebrating differences while having fun. Try any of these activities:

  • Draw my monster – Students draw monsters, then are put in pairs. Student A must describe his monster to Student B. Student B tries to replicate it with the instructions. Find tips on drawing monsters and lesson plans here.

  • If you teach with iPads you can easily have kids draw the monsters and describe them on a free tool like Educreations. Watch an example here.

  • What would my monster say – Use tools like Blabberize and Voki to get the kids’ monsters to speak.

  • Monster stories – Use tools like Little Bird Tales and Zooburst to create multimedia stories with the monsters.

  • Teach Your Monster to Read is a site that helps kids learn phonics, spelling, and vocabulary through various monster games.

  • My kids love creating monsters with Learn English Kids, because the monsters dance and sing after they are created. Find tons of monster handouts and animated stories with games.

  • Monster planet – Have learners create the planet their monsters came from with Play-Doh.

  • One of my favorite books to read to kids about monsters is The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Find fun activities, songs, handouts, games and more that accompany this book.


Older kids will enjoy exploring language by learning about zombies. Try any of these activities and resources:

  • Surviving a zombie apocalypse – Divide students in groups and tell them the world has been infested with zombies. Each group brainstorms a list of items they will need to survive and provides the reasoning. Each list is displayed on the board and students vote on which team would most likely survive the apocalypse.

  • Graph a zombie infection outbreak and other lesson ideas in the STEM Behind Hollywood site.

  • What’s a zombie’s routine? - Students imagine what a zombie’s routine would be like on an ordinary day. They can create their stories using Little Bird Tales and Zooburst.

  • Kids will enjoy playing the interactive zombie games on the ELT Digital Play site.


Famous ghosts have captured our children’s hearts such as Casper. Try these activities to get kids learning English by exploring ghosts:

  • Where would I haunt? – Kids name a place they would like to haunt, such as a museum, movie theater, or house. Then have the kids make a list describing how they would haunt the place, such as throwing books off the shelf, opening doors, or moving pictures. Have kids create a diorama or 3D model of the place, labeling various rooms and items. They can make a ghost character out of construction paper, clay, or paper and show how it haunts the 3D model of the place.

  • The ESL Ghost Stories Wiki provides resources for learners to listen to ghost stories and create their own to upload to the site.

More Resources

What other ideas do you have?

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is the author of Learning To Go and The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. She is also an adjunct professor, teacher trainer, and international speaker. She has trained teachers in over 25 countries and is a founder of the Bammy Award-winning #Edchat, the ELTON-nominated ELTChat, and The Reform Symposium E-Conference. She is the host of American TESOL’s Free Friday Webinars and shares regularly via, Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and She has taught toddlers to adults English in various countries including the US, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, and Greece.

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