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Flashcards for Halloween Activities and Games

October 14, 2011

Are you going to be talking about Halloween in your language classes this month? Regardless of the level you teach, your students probably need to learn or brush up on most of the vocabulary surrounding this holiday. Even if your students aren't living in a country that celebrates Halloween, this is a fun holiday to cover. Who doesn't like dressing up or eating candy?

We have a fun Halloween flashcard set that you can pair with your lessons and activities. It includes words like zombie, graveyard, and haunted house. 

Here are some activities you can do with our collection. You may want to print the cards out with and without the words on the bottom so that you can try some of the different suggestions. It will also be fun to have a flashlight and some spooky music on hand!

What's the difference?

Print out full-page versions of the following flashcards:

  • Trick or Treat /Trick or Treating
  • Pumpkin / Jack 'O Lantern
  • Ghost/ Skeleton
  • Haunted House/ Graveyard
  • Witch/Witch on a Broom

Hold the cards up and have students shout out differences about them. For example: The witch on the left is stirring her pot. The witch on the right is riding her broom. 

Spooky Chain Story

Gather in a circle and have students work together to tell a chain story. Each student must tell one line of the story. Each time a student takes a turn, hand out (or post on the board) one flashcard from the collection. The student must use that word in his/her sentence. When there are only two or three cards left, make sure the last few students know that they are going to have to wrap up the story.

After telling the story, analyze it. Did it have a beginning, middle, and an end? Did it have conflict? Did it have main characters? Where did the story fall apart (if it did)? If the story fell apart, try again! Remind students that a good story needs conflict. The situation must get worse for the main character! 

Tip: Play some spooky music and turn out the lights. Use a flashlight to light up the flashcards.

Correct the Flashcards

The ESL-Library system allows you to change the default type that appears under the flashcards. You can make a set with all of the wrong words. Then have your students cut the words off (or cross the words out) and write the correct word. Or, have students practice making corrections out loud. For example: "This card says it is a witch, but it is actually a skeleton. A witch flashcard would show a lady in a black dress with a pointy hat."

If your students are practising certain tenses, write sentences under the flashcards with the wrong tense and have students correct them. Or, add blank lines that students have to fill in.

The Haunted House

Print out a large version of the Haunted House flashcard on your board or wall. Hide the other cards around the room. Decide which of your students will be "brave" and which of them will be "scaredy cats." Whisper this word in their ears or write it out on small cards and hand it to them secretly.

Tell students to walk around the room pretending they are in a haunted house. Each time they find a card they have to scream or shriek. The other students will ask: "What's wrong? What did you see?" The person who found the card has to describe the card and exaggerate.

For example, "I saw a black cat! It walked past me and now I'll have bad luck forever." or "I saw a skeleton! It rattled its bones at me. I think it's my dead uncle!" The brave people will say things like, "Don't worry, it will be okay" or, "I'm sure you just imagined it." The scaredy cats will say things like, "Oh, no. I'm scared. Don't leave me alone in here!"

As you are playing, teach your students some new phrases to express bravery and fear:

  • I'm afraid.
  • I'm scared.
  • I'm petrified.
  • I'm not worried.
  • It's not a big deal.
  • You don't scare me.
  • That scared you?
  • That's nothing.
  • Don't worry about it.
  • You're exaggerating!

Tip: This game could get loud, so use it on a Friday afternoon or when there are no tests going on in classrooms nearby.

Missing Flashcards

Work together as a class to brainstorm all of the types of costumes you typically see on Halloween. If your students aren't familiar with the holiday, allow them to do some research online. Witches, skeletons, zombies, monsters, and clowns are typical. What about princesses and bumblebees?

Which costumes are not in the ESL Library flashcard collection? Have each student create one flashcard to go with your collection. Share your ideas with us! You can add your list in the comments below and we'll consider adding these items to our collection for next year.

Trick or Treat

Give each student a turn to be a trick-or-treater. Tell the student to go outside the classroom door. Out in the hallway, give your student a flashcard of a costume. The student should close the door and yell trick-or-treat!

Allow one student to answer the door. The student who answers the door has to guess which flashcard the other person has. He can ask three yes/no questions before taking a guess. If he can't guess, another student can come to the door and ask three more questions.

Here are the ten costumes from our current collection. Feel free to add more of your own pictures from magazines etc. if you have more students.

  1. ghost
  2. pumpkin
  3. witch
  4. zombie
  5. cowboy
  6. wizard
  7. pirate
  8. black cat
  9. monster
  10. skeleton

Flashcard Field Trip

Do you live close to a store that sells Halloween costumes? Why not take a walk with the flashcards! Wait until Halloween Day or the Friday before. Give small groups of students a set of flashcards. They must try to find as many of the items that are on the cards. When they find something they can write information about it on the back of the appropriate flashcard. For example: "We saw a sticker of a black cat in the store window."

When you're back at school, have the groups compare what other groups found. If you're working with children, make sure each group has a parent volunteer or supervisor. If you don't have helpers, do the activity as a whole class. Were there any flashcards that they could not find real life versions of?

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