The Scaredy-Cat: ESL Halloween Listening Activity

Halloween is coming soon! Have you tried Sprout English’s Halloween-themed Word Bank lesson? In this lesson, your students will learn some Halloween vocabulary in a fun way. We also have a fun NEW lesson on Prepositions of Place. Try both of these lessons before you try this follow-up Halloween listening activity.

Listening Activity

This activity works best if you have already introduced your students to Halloween vocabulary and prepositions of place. Play the recording and have your students listen to find out where the witch’s black cat is hiding. Listen a few more times and ask your students to draw a scene from the story.

Why not share this story on National Black Cat Day (Oct 27)? You can talk about why black cats are often left in animal shelters with no homes.

The Scaredy-Cat

One Halloween night, a young witch lost her black cat. “Here, kitty kitty,” the witch called, but the cat did not come out.

The witch walked down her street and called again. “Here, kitty kitty,” the witch called, but again the cat did not come out.

The young witch walked across the street and up the hill. At the top of the hill, there was a big house with Halloween decorations. It looked like a haunted house. There was a zombie in front of the fence. Behind the fence, there was a tree. A ghost hung on a tree branch. Below the tree, there was a graveyard.

The little witch stood in the graveyard and called her cat, but it did not come out. It was time to ask for help.

The witch walked up the steps and knocked on the door of the house. A young boy in a pirate costume opened the door. “You didn’t say trick or treat,” he said.

The witch laughed. “I am not looking for candy. I am looking for my black cat. Can you help me find her? She is afraid of Halloween.”

“That’s funny,” the boy said. “You have a black cat that is afraid of Halloween!”

He stepped out of his house and helped the witch. They looked behind the pumpkins and under the welcome mat. They looked in the garden and in between the cars.

Just then, they heard a lady scream across the street. The boy and the witch ran to help the lady. She had a candle in her hands. “I took the lid off my jack-o’-lantern and a black cat jumped out,” the lady said. “It scared me!”

This time the witch laughed. “Don’t be scared. That was my cat. She’s afraid of Halloween.”

“Here, kitty kitty,” the witch called, and the black cat ran out of the bushes and into her arms.

“That’s one scaredy-cat,” the boy said, and they all laughed.

The lady put the candle inside the jack-o’-lantern. “I like your costumes,” she said, and she gave the boy and the witch some candy. “Happy Halloween!”

black cat
haunted house


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

1. Why is the cat hiding?

2. What decorations does the big house have?

3. Who helps the witch find the cat?

4. Why does the lady across the street scream?

5. What does the pirate call the cat at the end of the story?

1. The cat is hiding because it is afraid of Halloween.
2. The house has a graveyard beside it with a zombie and a ghost. It also has pumpkins.
3. A boy in a pirate costume helps the witch look for the cat.
4. The lady across the street screams because the witch’s cat jumped out of the jack-o’-lantern.
5. The pirate calls the cat a “scaredy cat.”

Draw a scene from the story

Invite your students to draw a scene from the story. They can write a sentence underneath their picture. You can put these examples on the board to review some prepositions of place.

  • The witch is on the street.
  • The zombie is in front of the fence.
  • The ghost is on the branch.
  • The pirate is behind the door.
  • The cat is in the jack-o’-lantern.


Halloween Costumes: ESL Listening Activity
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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