A Halloween Letter for ESL Parents

Hi Parents,

Is this your first time experiencing Halloween in a foreign country, or have you been celebrating Halloween since childhood? For those of us who grew up trick-or-treating, this Halloween tradition feels like a safe and fun thing to do. We enjoy watching kids run around in costumes because it brings back memories from our own childhood.

Not all parents are familiar with this tradition, though. Many ESL parents in my neighborhood aren’t comfortable with Halloween. Some don’t send their kids to school with costumes. This may be because of religious reasons, or because they don’t know enough about the tradtion. Others allow their kids to dress up for school, but they don’t take their kids out trick-or-treating. Some people do not feel comfortable with the idea of children knocking on strangers’ doors.

I have met ESL parents in my neighborhood who think Halloween looks fun, but don’t understand how trick-or-treating works. Are you one of these parents? Don’t be afraid! Here is a step-by-step list you can follow if it’s your first time taking your kids trick-or-treating. The two English phrases your kids need to practice are “trick or treat” and “thank you.” (more…)

10+ Halloween Lessons, Crafts, and Activities

It’s that scary, creepy, spooky, eerie time of year! The monsters are coming out to play, and I don’t mean your students! On Thursday, October 31st, many countries will be celebrating Halloween. Kids will get dressed up in costumes like witches, ghosts, cats, cartoon characters, etc. and go trick-or-treating. The next day, they’ll undoubtedly have tummy aches from all the candy they collected and consumed! It’s a fun time of year for kids. Teachers and parents can keep the fun going all week long with various Halloween activities, lessons, and crafts. Sprout English has some great Halloween resources that are right at your fingertips! Try some of our suggestions below to infuse your kids with the Halloween spirit. (more…)

Spooky Spelling – 5 Tricky Halloween Words

It’s almost Halloween! This scary, fun holiday takes place on October 31st in many countries. Many teachers will be doing Halloween activities with their classes, and this means that Halloween vocabulary will be featured a lot. Now is a good time to review some of the trickier words that scare English learners and native speakers alike!


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen students get these two words mixed up. They’re tricky! Point out to your students that they have different pronunciations and different meanings. A costume, pronounced /ˈkɑs tjum/, is an outfit that people wear on Halloween in order to appear as someone/something else.

  • I bought a cat costume for Halloween this year. My friend is dressing up in a zombie costume.

A custom, pronounced /ˈkʌs təm/, is a tradition or habitual action that people do.

  • Taking off your shoes when you enter someone’s house is a well-known Japanese custom. (more…)

A Writing Contest for Frankenstein Day

Frankenstein Day takes place on the last Friday of October. Do your students know the story of Frankenstein? Do they know the story behind the story?

Listen or Read The Story Behind Frankenstein

Mary Shelley was in a writing group. The writers challenged each other to think of a ghost story. They talked about scary things that were happening in the world to help inspire each other. Mary Shelley tried to think of an idea, but she couldn’t come up with anything. The other writers were busy at work! Finally, Mary Shelley had a bad dream about a scientist who created a monster that ended up coming to life. According to legend, Mary Shelley had the dream while she was awake! She was afraid of her own dream, and she decided to write it down. Her idea turned into a novel and a film. Many people think the monster’s name in the story is Frankenstein. It’s not! In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein is actually the last name of the scientist who created the monster. Over the years, it’s almost like the monster claimed the name for itself. Creepy!


Draw and Describe: Monsters

Young learners love to draw creatures such as monster or aliens. If you celebrate Halloween at your school, your classroom walls should be filling up with scary, creepy, and silly creatures by now. Here’s a fun activity to get your students into the Halloween spirit. It will also help your students practice listening, speaking, and giving instructions. You don’t have to tell your little monsters that they are also learning prepositions of place!

My Monster
1. Invite all of your students to draw a colorful monster or alien on a blank sheet of paper. They shouldn’t show any of their classmates. (Have them open up a big book around their drawing to make a little secret cave as they draw.) Tell your students they should use as much detail as possible. (See vocab list below.) If you have some spooky music, play it while the kids draw. The “Monster Mash” is a fun song to put on. If you want to speed up the drawing portion of this activity, tell students they have to put their crayons or markers down as soon as the music ends.

Your Monster (more…)

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. (more…)

Dangerous Aliens

Sprout English’s featured lesson this week is the Dangerous Aliens game from the Board Games section in the Games Room. This game, published by the Kinney Brothers, is a great one to play since Halloween is just around the corner. Spooky (and kind of cute) aliens will get your young learners into the Halloween spirit! (more…)