Halloween Sensory Activity
Buy some small plastic jack-o’-lanterns that are meant to be filled with treats. Fill them with cotton balls that have been perfumed with scents from the pantry (pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, peppermint extract, lemon peel, orange peel, etc.). Put these in the sensory center. Children can enjoy smelling the scents.
Put several mini pumpkins, small gourds, and Indian corn in a basket with magnifying lenses. Put the basket in the sensory center. Children feel the different textures, look at a variety of colors, and examine them close up with the magnifying lenses. Autumn leaves, pine cones, and nuts can be added.
Ask the children what they will dress up as for Halloween and have them move that way to where they want to go.
Mummy Dress Up
Let the children wrap each other in toilet paper and pretend to be a mummy.
Pin The Tail On The Cat
Cut out a cat shape from black felt. Use fabric paint to add the eyes, nose, and whiskers. Cut out several tails from black felt and sew or glue the hook side of Velcro onto the end that attaches to the cat. The hook Velcro will stick to the felt anywhere the children put it. They play the game just like pin the tail on the donkey.
Spray shaving cream on your carved pumpkin. Take turns shaving the pumpkin with safety razors that have the blades removed.
Ghost Callers/Ghost Hunt
Two ghosts; draw them or use two ghost figures.
Cut white construction paper into 4″x5″ pieces. Roll and tape to form tubes.
These are the ghost callers. Make one for each child.
1. Go on a ghost hunt. Show everyone the two ghosts. Have children close their eyes. Teacher hides the ghosts.
2. Children open eyes and count 1-2-3 GHOST! On the count of “ghost” the hunt begins.
3. The children who find the two ghosts sit by the teacher. Give them a ghost caller and let them make ghost noises for the next ghost hunt. The noise helps call the ghosts from their hiding places.
4. Continue until all children are making ghost noises.
Pass The Pumpkin
Sit in a circle. Provide a plastic pumpkin for children to pass while the teacher beats on a drum. Children pass the pumpkin to the tempo of the music. Alternate between fast and slow. When the music stops the child who has the pumpkin stands and takes a bow. Continue.
Provide small plastic pumpkins. Number each 1-10. Have the children count out the correct number of pumpkin seeds to each pumpkin.
Provide wet sand and Halloween cookie cutters and kitchen utensils.
(You may also use orange and black clay for other days of week)
After examining a pumpkin with your class leave the pumpkin flesh and seeds out for examining with microscope and magnifying glasses. Children also enjoy the texture, so don’t get upset if the get a little messy.
The Count’s House
Set up the Count’s haunted house. Provide children with black capes and Halloween items to count.
Ideas you could use include: Apples, plastic spiders, tiny pumpkins ,etc.
Have parents donate old costumes to cut the cost of this center. Provide pencils, paper, cash register and dressing rooms to try on costumes.
Discuss spiders (eight legs, webs, life cycle) show pictures.
Discuss bats (radar, babies, sleeping habits)
Discuss the history of Halloween. Review the date and customs.
Discuss what a superstition is. Give examples such as rabbits foot, Friday The 13th, Broken mirrors, walking under a ladder, horseshoe, finding a penny heads up. Give examples of both good and the bad.
Discuss the life cycle of a pumpkin. Have the children estimate the circumference of a pumpkin by cutting a piece of string that they believe will fit around the pumpkin. Have each child test their string.
Discuss the difference between a Jack-O-Lantern and a pumpkin.
Tell the children that each one of them will have a chance to show the others in the group a trick. Call on a child and lead the group to chant:
Hello, (name), Spook-E-Do What is the trick you are going to do Will you hop, or bend, or spin around Stretch, or wiggle, or touch the ground
Continue until all the children have had a chance to show their trick.
Pin The Stem On The Pumpkin
Have the children paint a large cardboard pumpkin shape. When the pumpkin is dry, secure it to the wall or your bulletin board. Give each child a construction paper stem with a piece of tape looped at the top. Let each child cover or close their eyes and let them try to pin the stem on the pumpkin.
Melt The Witch Game
A movable chalkboard, Colored Chalk, Sponges, Bin of water
Draw a witch’s head (not too scary) or whole body on the chalkboard. Filled the bin with water and sponges. Have children stand close enough to the board to be able to hit it accurately with a wet sponge. Place water bin and sponges near this spot. Tell children to take turns throwing wet sponges at the witch to try and “melt” her away. As the witch becomes wet and water drips down the board, it will appear as if she is melting. Be sure the children are squeezing out to the sponges before throwing.
Make a small hole in the bottom of a small cottage cheese container. Any similar container will do. Make it near the edge. Put some cotton in the bottom and the container will be ready. To fool your friends, paint the first finger of one hand with poster paint. Stick your painted finger through the hole and bend it inward. Let the rest of your fingers grip the container naturally. Arrange the cotton around your finger to hide the hole.Cover the container and ask one of your unsuspecting friends to remove the lid. When he does, move the finger up and down.
Costume Class Halloween Party
Each child comes dress up in their favorite costume. Each child receives an award for various categories as funniest, silliest, cutest, prettiest, etc. You can make your awards out of construction paper. Our awards were pumpkins cut out of orange construction paper. We then attached these pumpkins to lollipops, and each child received a lollipop with their award category.
Pass the Pumpkin
It is played like hot potato using a small real or toy pumpkin. Children pass the pumpkin to Halloween music while seated in a circle. When the music stops that child holding the pumpkin is out and receives a small prize like a sticker, pencil or lollipop. At the end of the game, the last child left receives a bigger prize like crayons, coloring book or notebook.
Pin the smile on the pumpkin-
Make a huge pumpkin out of posterboard. Decorate the pumpkin with eyes minus a smile. Make a smile for each child out of black construction paper. Then play the game pin the smile on the pumpkin.
The Five Senses
The week before Halloween I begin a lesson on My Body and the 5 senses. This lesson ends with a review of our bones and with tricking our senses.
Take at least 6 shoe boxes and cut out a hole at the center of each lid large enough to put a child’s hand comfortably inside. The trick is to make sure the children cannot see inside of the box. (You may want to add colored plastic wrap to the hole for this purpose. It can be stapled to the lid with a slit in it for passage). Each box should have something textually interesting. I use a banana smashed into a brush, jello, cooked spaghetti with raisins, cooked rice, flower blossoms, meat of a pumpkin, hair gel…well you get the picture. The first step is to have the children put their hand into one box at a time. Note the child’s expression. Have the child tell you what he/she thinks is in the box..chart the answers. Then show the child what was really in there. Maybe the child guessed correctly, but maybe his/her senses were fooled.
Teach Halloween Safety Rules:
1. Please make sure you go with a friend, someone who’ll stay with you up til the end.
2. With this rule, I can’t be more graphic…When you go Trick or Treating, watch out for traffic.
3. If you’re alone don’t talk to a stranger, this is one way you’ll stay out of danger.
4. When Trick or Treating, act just like a pro–Only go to houses of people that you know.
5. After getting treats, don’t forget to say: “Thank you very much!” And then go on your way.
6. Last is a rule that can’t be beat: Let your parents check your treats right before you eat.
This activity works well in the month of October. On the first of the month, bring in a large, black pot that resembles a witches’ pot. Inside the pot there is a slip of paper that reads: “I am the Witch of the West and I am out gathering ingredients for our halloween brew.” On designated days, place the bags containing ingredients in the pot. The ingredients should be placed in a pot, inside a plastic bag so that no smell escaped. Place plastic bags within brown paper lunch bags and have appropriate names printed on the outside of the bag. On Halloween, empty all the bags and stir the brew. This recipe is a guarantee for perfect attendance.
Make 6 pairs of pumpkin faces on 12 white index cards. Mix up the cards.
Let the children take turns matching the pumpkin faces.
Game Procedure: Teacher pretends not to know what Halloween is, and keeps describing the wrong holiday; children correctly label the holiday described. Example-“Oh, Halloween is when the bunny leaves candy and you color eggs.” Use Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, etc.
The Pumpkins Are Here
Procedure: Give each child a pumpkin cutout that has been mounted on a craft stick. Then as verse is recited, have children hold their pumpkins as indicated by the words. The pumpkins are here; the pumpkins are there. The pumpkins, the pumpkins are everywhere. The pumpkins are up; the pumpkins are down. The pumpkins, the pumpkins are all around. The pumpkins are in; the pumpkins are out. The pumpkins, the pumpkins are all about. The pumpkins are low; the pumpkins are high. The pumpkins, the pumpkins all say,”Good-bye.”
Game-Trick or Treat
Procedure: Place slips of paper in a brown lunch bag. On each write down a different “trick” such as “hop on one foot” or “close your eyes and touch your nose.” Have each child in turn, say, “trick or treat” and draw a paper from the bag. When she performs the “trick” say “treat” and give her either a Halloween sticker or a couple pieces of candy corn.
Procedure: Teacher gives lead sentence; each child continues story in turn. Difficult for younger children but good introduction to critical and creative thinking skills. Samples: “Joey Jack O Lantern wants to run away because he is afraid of Halloween Night, so he…….””Gus the Ghost is very sad because everyone is afraid of him, so he decides to…” “Wanda the Witch has lost her broom and she can’t fly without it, so she….”
Move as if you are: Carrying a great big pumpkin. A witch combing her long, stringy hair. A little baby ghost. Putting on your Halloween costume. Carving a little tiny pumpkin. Going up and down a porch’s steps trick or treating. Jumping up to say Boo-oo-oo. A big black cat.
Witch, Witch, Ghost
Play exactly like “Duck, duck, goose”–just change the names. I play this game all the time but I change the names to fit my theme.
Old Witch and Her Black Cat Game
Procedure: Children sit on the floor in a half circle. One child, the witch, stands a short distance away with her back to the cats. One of the children is pointed to, by the teacher and the child “meows.” The witch turns around and tries to quess which child is the black cat. Continue until everyone has a turn.
Black Cat Hunt
Procedure: Hide many paper black cats around the classroom so that children do not have to move objects to find them. Have children each hold hands with a partner. Each pair of children must find as many black cats as they can without letting go of their partner’s hand. After the hunt, everybody meows, and receives cat food from the teacher. (Candy corn.)
Procedure: Teacher is the Silly Witch with the broom. “It is Halloween Night and it is very dark outside. I am a very silly witch and I am going to cast a very silly spell on you. I am going to wave my broom and turn all of you into frogs.Now, how do frogs move around? They Jump. Everytime I wave my broom, you will all jump around. When I put my broom down, you will all stop. “Great opportunity for teacher to display her acting talents.
Procedure: Place paper pumpkins, all different colors, and without stems, on floor. Give each child a stem that matches one of the pumpkins. Then form a circle, and walk around the pumpkins as you chant: Pumpkin, pumpkin without a stem, laying in the pumpkin patch. Here comes (name a child) with a stem of(child names color) to match. (Child then matches stem to correct pumpkin. Continue.)
The Very Hungry Pumpkin
Procedure: Put paper pumpkins of different colors in the middle of the circle.Begin a story by telling the children that an orange pumpkin (hold up orange one) was very hungry, and so he ate a banana and turned——. Children say “yellow” and one picks up the yellow pumpkin and hands it to the teacher. Teacher holds it and continues with other food items such as an apple, lime, chocolate ice cream, the sky, peas, etc. etc. Continue the same way. At the end, ask children to think of a food the pumpkin could eat, so he could turn orange again.
I love to use pumpkins in a variety of ways for learning fun with 2’s and 3’s. During the first part of October, we pick the mini pumpkins that grew in the garden over the summer) are harvested and then the fun begins. We count them, name them, draw faces on them, stack them, give them rides in the wagon, and we have even taken them on our walks the Fabric Softener Sheet Ghosts:
Ever wondered what to do with old fabric softener sheets? Why not make a spooky little Ghost! And they smell great too! Don’t have enough sheets? Use white tissue paper instead. You will need: Three used fabric softener sheets; Some string or an elastic band; A black marker. Crumple two of the sheets into a ball. Put the other piece on the table, spread out and flat. The put the ball of tissue paper in the center of the flat peace. Pull up all the corners and squeeze the paper just under the ball (it should look like a ghost shape now). Tie the string or elastic band (just under the ball). Add eyes and a mouth with the marker. Voila! A little Ghost!!
Pumpkin and Halloween Activities
Pumpkin facts: The pumpkin is a member of the squash family. Pumpkins grow on vines and bushes. Most pumpkins are orange, but some are white, yellow, or other colors.
Mr. Pumpkin Head
Get a real pumpkin and supply washable markers, and props such as glasses, paper mustache, hats, scarves, and wigs. Let each child have turn to decorate and dress up pumpkin. When next child’s turn – just wash the markers off!
Felt Pumpkin Cut pumpkin from orange felt. Have variety of black felt shapes in box for features. Include, half circles, crescents, ovals, triangles, circles, and squares. Teacher instructs child to make face of jack-o-lantern using particular shapes. For ex. “Decorate jack-o-lantern using 2 triangles for eyes, square for nose, and crescent for mouth.” A variation is to draw several jack-o-lanterns models using outline of shapes for features. Child matches felt shapes to model.
Display skeleton decoration which can be purchased or drawn. Count number of ribs, bones in hand, leg bones, arm bones. Graph.
Pumpkins in a Jar?
Put candy or eraser pumpkins in a jar. Each child takes a guess (teacher should keep record of ea. guess). At the end of the day count pumpkins.
Jar of Pumpkin Seeds
Same as above with children guessing the number of pumpkin seeds.
Order by Size
Have several pumpkins for children to order from smallest to largest (paper pumpkins can be used also)
Write” How many pumpkins tall are you?” on the top of long strip of craft paper. Glue paper pumpkins on the paper and number them from bottom up. Tape the chart on wall so children can measure their height.
Make a graph of what kind of face to carve on a class pumpkin—-happy, sad, or scary.
Use stickers or stamps to make a pattern on a sentence strip or any strip of paper.
Form line on one side of room. Cross room in following ways: 1). Fly like a bat; 2) gallop like a cowboy on a horse; 3) hop like a bunny; 4) roll like a pumpkin; 5) dance like a princess; 6) creep like a cat; 7) walk like a skeleton; 8) float like a ghost; 9) stomp like a monster.