That’s Wicked! 20+ Halloween Activities, Apps & Tools Kids Will Love All Year Long

“As astronauts and space travelers children puzzle over the future; as dinosaurs and princesses they unearth the past…as monsters and gremlins they make sense of the unreal.” —Gretchen Owocki

Children across the globe enjoy dressing up, monsters, ghosts, witches, sorcerers, and horror. Halloween is that time of the year to explore spooky themes that will get your students learning English, science, history, math, and culture hands-on. However, the fun does not have to end on Halloween. Feel free to use any of these wickedly awesome activities, apps, and resources throughout the year to continue to engage your young learners! (more…)

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…)

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!

1. COSTUME / CUSTOM

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…)