10 Halloween Read Alouds and Activities
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
With Halloween just around the corner, I want to provide a few great Halloween read-aloud stories for elementary-age students along with activities to go with the books. A great way to motivate students’ love for reading and celebrate with them.
Here are 10 great Halloween read-aloud in school, plus a craft project for each story. Some of the art projects would go well with multiple stories so feel free to mix and match. Read on for the list of books and activities (as well as bonus activities and spooky chapter books)!
Many of these books have been read aloud on videos online if you can't find them in your school or local library.
1. I Need My Monster By Amanda Noll
Paper Bag Puppet: As a craft project for this book kids can make paper bag puppet monsters. You can give them paper bags, glue, colored paper, markers, and scissors. Let the students create their own pet monster. This craft project could easily be turned into a writing piece where the students talk about different attributes they gave their monster and how the monster would make a good fit for them.
2. What Was I Afraid Of By Dr. Suess
Scary Squiggle Drawing: Give each student a piece of plain white paper with a simple scribble on it (you can draw quick scribbles beforehand or go around quickly and draw it once the paper is out. Have the students turn the squiggle into something scary (but school appropriate of course). Then have them color the drawing with lots of detail and as a fast finisher, the kids could write a story about how they befriended their beast.
3. The Teeny, Tiny Woman By Jane O’Conner
Song and Activity: Have the students learn the song, "There Was an Old Lady All Skin and Bones". I wrote the lyrics below, but you can go to this video to hear the tune. Once the kids know the tune, I give the kids different parts to act out. One person gets to be the old lady who walks through the graveyard to the closet door that she opens and gets scared, then you have two kids who are the doors to the closet (the "old lady" takes there arms and they walk away as she "opens the door") then a third kid is the ghost who says "boo". The rest of the class gets split into two groups one is the choir who sings the song. the rest are ghosts who lay on the floor and move their arms up and down and only sing "oooo-ooo-o-ooool" between each line.
There was an old lady all skin and bones
Oh oh oh oh
She lived down by an old grave yard
Oh oh oh oh
One day she thought she’d take a walk
Oh oh oh oh
She walked down by an old grave yard
Oh oh oh oh
She saw the bones a’laying around
Oh oh oh oh
She went to her closet to get a broom
Oh oh oh oh
She opened the door and
Twirling Ghost: If you want to have the kids do a quick activity they can also make a twirling ghost using cutouts from here (or make your own). The students can just make one or make several and turn it into a mobile.
Design a Gravestone: The last activity is you could have the students make a class graveyard. The students could each make a gravestone for their favorite book character and then write an obituary for the character.
4. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever By Steven Kroll
Paper Jack-O-Lantern: Either have pumpkin cut-outs or have students draw a pumpkin on an orange piece of paper. then give each student yellow paper to cut and glue onto the pumpkin to create their own Jack-o-lantern.
5. The Very Brave Witch By Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss
Home Made Costumes: Get students in groups of 3 and bring lots of recycled items from home. give the students 5 or 10 minutes to dress one of the kids in the group up in a costume, using only the recycled materials. Let the students show off the costumes and vote who would make the best trick or treater.
6. The Widow's Broom By Chris Van Allsburg
Broom Snacks: This is more of a fun treat to give the students at a class party than it is a project. Get a small plastic baggy and fill it with pretzel sticks. Then get a pencil and stick it in the bag. Tie the bag filled with pretzels around the pencil with a ribbon. The pencil will look like the hand of the broom and the bag full of pretzel sticks will look like the bristles of the broom.
7. Room on the Broom By Julia Donaldson
Make a beast from paper scraps: If you are a teacher you probably already have a bin full of scratch paper. If not cut some paper into squares or even just tear some papers up. Then have the students glue the paper scraps onto one piece of paper to create a “beast” just like the animals in the story came together to create a scary-looking monster.
8. Stellaluna By Janell Cannon
Paper Bats: There are lots of different ways to make paper bats. As a teacher, you can prep this for your students by cutting out shapes for the body (circles or triangles work best), small triangles for the teeth and then the bat wings. The students can fold the bat wings back and forth so they look like little accordions and then glue the wings to the body and then draw a face with a white crayon or cut out the different pieces of the face and glue them to the body. Kids can make multiple bats and turn them into a mobile.
9. Where the Wild Things Are By Maurice Sendak
Paper Plate Masks: You can either cut the plates in half or just give each child one plate. Cut holes for the eyes and then either glue a popsicle stick to the bottom that the students can use to hold the mask or hole punch on either side of the plate and tie the mask on with ribbon or string. Once the prep work is done, let the students decorate their mask to become a “Wild Thing” like the ones from the story. You could end with a dance party or have a contest to see which student has the most terrible roar.
10. The Dragons are Singing Tonight By Jack Prelutsky
Draw What You Feel: this is a very easy exercise, but it can be relaxing and fun for kids. Give the students a half piece of paper and have them draw what they feel as you read the poem a few times. It should be a quick drawing and it can be abstract if the students want. The point is to capture the feeling of the poem, more than the content of the poem.
Toilet Paper Fire Breathing Dragon: In this craft project students use paper and markers to decorate a toilet paper roll to look like a dragon’s head. Then place orange, red and yellow tissue paper strips about 4 inches long on the inside of the toilet paper roll. It should look like fire coming out of the dragon’s mouth. Then to make it fun, if you blow through the roll, the fire should wiggle and move, bringing the dragon to life! Check out this site for more details.
PomPom painting skeleton masks: This craft would go along with any Dia De Los Muertos Books or activities. Print out Dia De Los Muertos skeleton masks. Then have the students paint them using pompoms and cloths pins. The students pinch the pompoms with cloths pins and then dip them in the paint. Then they pat the pompom on their paper to form a little circle dot. When they are finished with that color, they drop the pompom back into that color and pinch a different pompom to get the next color. It is a really clean way to paint with younger students and it is a great way to practice fine motor skills. For more pictures of the activity go to my Disney Camp blog.
Great Chapter Books for the Month of October:
Here are a few more books that are great to read with kids around this time of year!
2. The Graveyard Book
3. The Witches by Ronald Dahl
5. Goosebumps books
6. Hank the Cowdog and the Case of the Halloween Ghost
What are some fun fall crafts for kids?
Many of these activities would work throughout the fall months, especially the dragon poetry and the "Biggest Pumpkin Ever" (a great book to read and then have your students actually grow pumpkins). Also, the monster activities are fun year-round! Also, many of the activities can be adapted to fit different content entirely. For example, making little creatures out of toilet paper rolls is fun in all sorts of contexts. Paper bag puppets and paper plate masks are also very adaptable projects.
What are some holiday read-alouds for elementary students?
These are great Halloween Holiday read alouds. Stay tuned for great Thanksgiving and Christmas book lists coming soon!