Have a Pet Costume DebateTowards the end of October and the beginning of November, several countries celebrate by wearing costumes. In Mexico, Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated and in mostly North America, Halloween is celebrated! In most countries there are celebrations with costumes, fun customs, and great treats. For this reason, I enjoy having Halloween lessons with my language learners even if that is not a holiday celebrated. This holiday is a great way to compare the way fun festivals are celebrated in various countries. Moreover, we have a lot of fun while learning! I hope these ideas will be useful in having some fun this month with your students.

Discussion Starters

  • If you have students from several countries, have them survey or interview each other about similar festivals and celebrations. This tends to generate a lot of discussion.
  • Have students use a Google form to survey others online or through email about festivals that are similar to Halloween and discuss the results in class.
  • Have students bring in pictures of their families, pets, or themselves dressed up in costumes. Play a guessing game where the students have to guess which picture belongs to which student. Then have the student discuss the picture’s location, event, and so forth.
  • Show images of several costumes throughout history and have students guess what the occasion may have been. You can collect several costume pictures from various countries on the Internet to show on a projector. Some festivals in which people dress in costumes include Mardi GrasCarnaval, Dia de los Muertos, FaschingCarnevale di Venezia, and Purim.
  • Show a collection of pet costumes. This is sure to make your students laugh. You can even have a debate on whether it is ethical to dress pets.


  • Host a Trick or Treat event between classes. Have the younger kids dress up in costumes while the older kids pass out healthy treats. Kids receive the treats if they say, “Trick or Treat!”
  • Here is a bit of history about this custom.
  • Here are safety tips. This video could be a good way to start a discussion.
  • Trick or Treat song and video by Genki English.
  • Here is a Trick or Treat board game.
  • Students can send a funny e-card where there friends are dressed up in costumes rapping!
  • Students can host a Halloween party with different stations of activities. Have students get into groups. Each group can be in charge of determining an activity, setting up the station, and organizing it. Some suggested activities include creating jack-o-lanterns, bobbing for apples, or a bean bag toss.
  • Break students into groups and host a haunted house for the rest of the classes and parents.
  • Have students read ghost stories and create their own.
  • R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series is specifically written for adolescents and is not too scary. Check out the website with games, audio clips, and more.
  • Here are some ghost stories with activities specifically catered to English language learners.
  • Have students Skype with another country and ask questions about their festivals or how they celebrate one of the festivals mentioned. You can find classes in these countries through EPals or Skype Classrooms.

More Lesson Plans and Resources

More Lesson Plan Ideas and Resources

What kind of fun activities do you do this time of year?

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, and author. She has been recognized by various entities, such as the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as a leader, innovator, and visionary in the movement of teacher driven professional development, education technology, elearning, and mobile learning. She is the co-founder of #Edchat, the Reform Symposium Web Conference, and The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. She has trained teachers and taught learners in 100+ countries and has consulted with organizations such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and the British Council in South East Asia. She is the host of American TESOL’s Free Friday Webinars and shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/shellyterrell, and Google.com/+ShellySanchezTerrell. She’s the author of Learning To Go, Byte-sized Potential, and The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers published by Routledge. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by the National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award for #Edchat.   Website: http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/   Twitter: @ShellTerrell