5 Learning-Focused Halloween Activities for Upper Elementary

Summary:

Five no-prep Halloween activities and mini-units for Halloween week, selected with the busy teacher in mind!

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For me, being creative is one of the most essential skills a teacher should possess. The thing is–being creative sometimes makes me a bit of a, well, a procrastinator. Without the stroke of lightning that one might refer to as “creative genius,” I find it difficult to plan lessons that I believe in and that I think my students will believe in, too. So, if you’re anything like me, you might have also waited until the last minute to plan Halloween activities for your class this year and now you’re realizing you’re out of time. However, if that’s the case, take a deep breath; we’ve got you. 

Here are five learning-focused Halloween activities and unit plans for the upper elementary grades. Consider this list our gift to you. All that we ask in return is that with all that extra time you’ll have this weekend, you put your feet up and binge-watch all the classic Halloween movies you’ve added to your “Watch Later” list. You deserve it.

Learning-Focused Halloween Activities

1. Escape from the Emoji Pumpkin Patch Math Escape Game

  • Format: Print File

Looking for a fun activity that isn’t specifically Halloween-themed? Escape from the Emoji Pumpkin Patch is pumpkin-themed which makes it easy to use with all students. Escape games are the perfect way to practice math skills and keep students focused on learning while still having fun before or after the Halloween holiday.

Escape rooms are the most fun way to review standards while encouraging team work, critical thinking, and problem solving! In this classroom escape, students will compete as teams to Escape the Emoji Pumpkin Patch!

2. Trunk or Treat Project-Based Learning Unit

Trunk or Treat Project Based Learning Mini-Unit for Upper Elementary
Trunk or Treat Project Based Learning Mini-Unit for Upper Elementary
  • Grade Level(s): 4th-6th Grades
  • Format: Digital and Print File

Cancel whatever skeleton plans you had scheduled for next week. You won’t be needing them with this five-day project-based learning unit that incorporates math, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. It’s perfect for fourth through sixth-grades, and you won’t regret the TPT purchase, which you’ll use for years to come. 

We love that this unit provides student choice, allowing them to select a theme, the candy they’ll distribute, and how they’ll decorate their “Halloween Trunk.” But that’s not all. The unit integrates mathematical thinking with estimating, predicting, and calculating costs for Trunk or Treating, while also highlighting research and persuasive writing skills. This Trunk or Treat mini-unit is a SPOOK-TACULAR option, my friends.

Trunk or Treat Project Based Learning Mini-Unit for Upper Elementary

3. Haunted House Math Mission

  • Grade Level(s): 3rd-6th Grades
  • Format: Digital and Print File

Looking for a way to engage your upper elementary students in math class next week? Look no further. This activity integrates problem-solving, math, reading, and critical thinking for a fun Halloween-themed activity. The resource comes with print and digital formatting options for your in-class and virtual learners, and it provides three levels of math tasks to help you differentiate instruction. 

4. Said is Dead Writing Activities, like this one by Education Chic

  • Grade Level(s): 5th-8th Grades
  • Format: Digital and Print-Friendly

Oh, how I love laying Said to rest at this time of year! While you might think I’m one sinister teacher, I advise you to try laying Said to rest in your classroom! After this lesson, my students will never again let me get away with using “said” as a speech tag in my model writing tasks. This also means that they are very vocal with one another when peer revising. I’ve heard my students kindly advising with suggestions like, “Said is dead. Let’s think of another speech tag to use here.” Yes, that really happened.

Want to have even more fun? Hold a funeral for Said. Have students write obituaries. Create a readers’ theatre play and have students play the roles of other speech tags as they lay Said to rest.

Said is Dead Halloween Activity

5. Research Día de Los Muertos & Design Sugar Skulls

  • Grade Level(s): 5th-8th Grades
  • Format: Both Print and Digital Friendly

Okay, so I have to admit, this idea requires a little bit more prep than the others, but I had to include it here. I’ll tell you why. I love learning about the rich customs and traditions behind Día de Los Muertos, and to my surprise, last year I came to find that Disney’s Coco had inspired my students’ love for it too.

So, if you’re tired of all the spooks and candy, this time of year is also a great time to explore other traditions from around the world that share similar characteristics with Halloween. Try reading informational texts about Día de Los Muertos, like this one from Nat Geo, with your class, then use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the Central American holiday with our traditions in the United States. Investigate the significance and color symbolism seen in the intricate designs of sugar skulls, placed on ofrendas to honor deceased relatives during Día de Los Muertos. Then, have students draw and design sugar skulls after watching this how-to-guide. Your students will surely remember this lesson for years to come!

Which other Halloween activities do you have planned this year? We’d love to hear your best ideas!

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Written by
April Smith