If you are looking for a fun Middle School ELA Halloween lesson, we are here to share our best and most memorable ones from over the years. We’ve been teaching for quite some time, to say the least, so we have collected several fun and engaging middle school ELA Halloween lessons. In fact, we have so many fun ones to choose from that now is is hard to figure out the one that we want to use in our classrooms each Halloween season.
Of course, any good scary story is perfect for a memorable middle school ELA Halloween lesson. Dim your classroom lights, play some spooky organ music while your students are entering the room, start your fog machine. Okay, maybe not a fog machine, but you could put up a picture of fog on your screen! Then, read one of the following stories. We’re going to sprinkle in some of the spooktacular fun we’ve had while reading these favorites of ours! It’s worth the read!
Perfect Stories for a Middle School ELA Halloween Lesson
- “The Highwayman” ~Actually, this isn’t a story, but it’s a narrative poem that tells a ghost story. It makes the perfect middle school ELA Halloween lesson because it’s short and captivating. After reading it, discuss with your students how the poetic elements such as repetition and rhythm help contribute to the spooky mood of the poem. I always have one or two kids that have good rhythm keep the beat on their desks while I read it aloud. Afterwards, you can have your students write their own story or poem about Bess and the Highwayman and how they continue to haunt to this day. If you’d like some other standards-based activities for this poem, we have a “Highwayman” Teaching unit in our TpT store.
- “Three Skeleton Key” by George G. Toudouze is not that scary, but it is truly a disturbing short story, for lack of a better word. It’s not too disturbing for middle schoolers though. Our middle schoolers love it! It’s about three men who find themselves trapped in a lighthouse, and that lighthouse ends up being attacked by rats. Thousands of starving rats are literally trying to get into the lighthouse and eat the men alive. I’ll never forget one year we were reading this story, and Tammy (my colleague) and I found remote controlled rats. Right in the middle of the story, we electronically ran those suckers out into the middle of our class. For a split second, our students were stunned and afraid, but then they saw that they were mechanical, and we all laughed and laughed. It brought some fun, which is important to incorporate in your ELA class from time to time. This story used to be in our Holt textbook, but you could probably find it online. You can also find this story on Actively learn, a free website that provides stories that you could send to your students. We also have a teaching unit for “Three Skeleton Key” in our TpT store.
- “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” ~This is a teleplay written for The Twilight Zone. It’s about a neighborhood where all sorts of strange things start happening after a flash shoots across the sky. First, their power goes out; then the phone lines stop working. Then, other strange things start to occur. One little boy who reads comic books tells the neighbors that he read about aliens, disguised as humans, who visited a town and caused problems. This causes the neighbors to be suspicious of one another, and the conflict arises because the neighbors start to blame one another. One year before I read the story, I staged several spooky happenings to occur in my classroom. I arranged for Tammy to call my room three or four times and just hang up. This occurred before we read the story. My phone would ring. I would answer it saying, ” Hello, hello?” And I’d tell my class, “Well, I don’t know what’s going on. Someone must be messing with me.” I also set an alarm to go off by itself, and I said, “I don’t know what is happening in this classroom today. Something strange is going on.” At this point, we would start reading the play. So, I already had their imaginations primed before we even started. Then, in the middle of reading it, I would stop and look at my kids as seriously as I could and I would say, “I’m here to tell you that I’m not really your teacher. I’m an alien. If you go to that door, you’ll find it locked.” Now, mind you, these were seventh graders, so they could handle this little prank. For a few seconds, the look in their eyes would tell me that they actually believed that I was an alien, and then we would all crack up laughing and go on with our lives. Check out our TpT unit for “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” if you need more standards-based activities.
- “Sorry, Wrong Number” and “The Hitchhiker,” both by Lucille Fletcher are also great plays that would serve as perfect spooky middle school ELA Halloween lessons!
- “Duffy’s Jacket” by Bruce Coville is one of the BEST stories to use around Halloween. It’s the perfect length to read in one class period, and it’s one of the most suspenseful short stories for this age group. It’s about these three kids who go on a camping trip with their moms. They end up staying in an old hunting lodge, and the moms leave the kids in the lodge one night while they go go to town. While the kids are there alone, something comes after them. It first shows up scratching at the door. When we read this story, we always use sound effects of the scratch scratch scratch part. There’s also one part of the story where a door falls down, and we bang our hands on the table at that point just to watch our students jump. At that point, they are all so into the story, they make easy targets. The ending of this story is almost like a “gotcha” kind of thing, so it builds tension and then has a comical ending. Kids love it. We have a complete teaching unit for this story too!
- Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”~ When I read this story, I always find a sound effect of a heart beating and press play at the times when the narrator hears the old man’s beating heart.
Whatever Halloween story that you choose, see if you can do something a little fun along with it. I promise you, not only will your students have fun, but you will too. Teaching ELA can be so stressful at times; it’s important to have fun along with your students. It really will help you love your job even more! Just make sure it’s nothing too scary!
In addition to these stories, we also have plenty of fun and memorable writing activities that would be perfect for a middle school ELA Halloween lesson! At some point in our career, we’ve completed all of these. They’re all so great that it makes it hard to choose which one to do this Halloween! Our list is below, and we will start with a lighthearted one, one that isn’t spooky at all but involves candy!
Perfect Writing Activities for Halloween
- Pop Rocks Poetry ~You’ll want to teach a lesson on imagery first and provide plenty of great examples of imagery from literature. Then, provide each student with a small bag of Pop Rocks. Recently, we’ve found Pop Rocks at the Dollar Tree, but they are now a different brand (Hawaiian Punch). The original ones are at Dollar General in our area, and they may be easy to find around Halloween. Give students a “Pop Rocks Poetry” notetaking handout for them to write their descriptions on. First, all together as a class, have students first shake the bag of Pop Rocks and listen to the sound that makes. Have them record words that describe that sound on their hand-out. Next, students should open the bag and smell them, and then record words that describe the smell. Encourage them to write similes and metaphors. After this, tell your students to put a few of the rocks in their hands and study them. Ask students to write what they look like and feel like, providing as much detail and figurative language as possible. Finally, have all students put a handful in their mouth all together. Instruct them to open their mouths and be very still and quiet so that the class can listen to what it sounds like. It’s pretty loud when everyone does this at the same time. Record words to describe this sound on the page. Finally, have them describe the taste. Once students have all of these descriptions, instruct them to write a Pop Rocks poem, pulling in the words, descriptions, similes, and metaphors that they recorded. Our free packet contains a sample poem too!
- Another fun poetry lesson is Halloween lunes. Lunes are short poems that are silly. The first line has three words, the second line has five words, and the third line has three words. One Halloween, we had our students write body part lunes. We bought those body part gummies, the ones that have individually wrapped feet, eyeballs, ears, brains, and hands. We gave each student one of these and then told them they had to write a lune about it. They had a ton of fun, and loved reading them out loud!
- Candy corn haiku are fun too! Simply review the rules for writing haiku. Give your students some candy corn, and have them write a few of those poems to share with their classmates. Then, let them enjoy eating the candy corn.
- Body Beast Poetry~ Body beast as in lice, mites, bed bugs, leeches, etc. Gross. Huh? We know it, but our middle schoolers loved it. This activity incorporates some research. Students choose one body beast to research, make a list of facts, and then they have to weave at least three facts into a poem that they write about their beast.
We are so happy to have you here reading our blog! We want to say thank you by providing you with this FREE resource that will give you all of the printables that you need for lunes, Pop Rock poetry, body beast poetry, candy corn haiku, and even a few others. We’d love for you to follow us on TpT, Instagram, Facebook, and of course our Podcast, which is titled Two Middle School ELA Teachers.
One more thing…(We’ve been teaching so long, we just have soooo many things to share!) Another way that you can spend Halloween class time is with an episode of The Twilight Zone. In fact, “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” mentioned earlier is a Twilight Zone episode. That show was popular when we were kids, but the episodes are now on Netflix. We’ve created a wealth of resources to accompany four different episodes, and these are all seriously standards based… Students will write objective summaries, determine themes, and more. You can check out our Twilight Zone bundle in our TpT store if you’d like by clicking here. Oh, and one other resource we have that would make the perfect middle school ELA Halloween lesson is our Dead Verbs funeral activity! This is a great lesson to teach students the importance of word choice!
I think that’s about it. It looks like Halloween Day is on a school day for most this year! We hope you have a spooktacular time in your own ELA class this year for Halloween!