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Are You Afraid of the Dark? 4 Halloween Activities for the Music Classroom

written by: Sarah Malburg • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 10/16/2013

Here are four fun Halloween music activities that you can do with your elementary Music students that will teach a variety of music concepts while scaring the pants off them! Sounds thrilling? Take a look!

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    Musical Bumps in the Night

    Ghosts and goblins, witches too. I'm not scared, how about YOU?

    Activities incorporating rhymes like these are what get the adrenaline pumping for your Music students around Halloween time. Here are a few that I have used that I found to be both instructionally effective and of course, fun!

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    Halloween Rhythm Worksheet

    Rhythm WOrksheet for Halloween This is a fun worksheet that contains various Halloween phrases and a rhythm box. Students have to match the correct rhythm to each phrase. You can make this worksheet as long or short as you want. I give prizes to those who have the most answers correct. By doing this activity, students must be able to identify various rhythm combinations and use their listening skills to match them to the phrases. For example, quarter notes will be used for one syllable words and eighth notes will be used for two syllable words. See below for an example of a Halloween rhythm worksheet.

    Download the Sheet

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    It's All Right...In The Dark!

    It's All Right in the Dark This is a Halloween poem written by Sharon Falk, that incorporates various dynamic changes. It starts off very soft and each line gets louder as your students read. They also have to pat a steady beat on their laps as they recite the poem aloud as a class. (A drum may also be used for this) The dynamic markings are indicated on the handouts. Please see below for an example.

    Download the Sheet

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    Sammy, the Snickers Snake

    This is a longer Halloween poem written by Bob Tucker (click the link for the poem), that I first read to my students (appropriate for my 3rd-5th graders). It is quite comical in nature and they get a laugh out of it. I have used it as a mini-play that the students actually act out that allows us to focus on the drama aspect that Halloween often brings. The poem is about a snake that dresses up as a barber pole for Halloween but gets himself in trouble with the vampires that come out that night. It is suspenseful but funny all at the same time. I do a lot in my class with poetry, rhyming and it's connections with song and rhythm and this activity can be used for this as well.

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    Halloween Hot Potato

    This is a spin-off of the classic Music game, Hot Potato, but instead of using a potato we use a witch or a ghost beanie baby. I found these at a craft fair and they make really great Halloween game props! Sometimes I will have the students use one or both and they listen to Halloween music and pass the beanies in a circle. When the music stops, whom ever gets stuck with one in their hands is out.
    I also put another spin on this game as I pick one student to sit in the middle of the circle with their eyes closed. (I always check for peeking too!) The kids in the circle have to pass the ghost or witch beanie behind their backs and when the music stops, the person in the middle has to guess who has it. If they guess right, then that person with the beanie has to go in the middle, if they guess wrong, that same person stays until they get it correct.
    For younger students (in Pre-K and Kindergarten) we use Jack, my Halloween tiger who is big, soft and easy to handle. All of my students beg to play a version of this game all year. This game enhances listening skills as well as keeping a steady beat.
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    These Halloween activities will give your elementary kids a treat, while you "trick" them into learning several musical concepts. Halloween is one of the best holidays to celebrate the joy of music!

References

  • Author's teaching experience
  • Worksheets courtesy of author

Halloween in Music: Songs, Activities, and Books for Classroom Use

Looking for some "spooktacular" Halloween songs and activities to use with your elementary Music students? Well, here you go...use them if you dare!
  1. Howl for Halloween! - Classroom Song Ideas and Lyrics
  2. Are You Afraid of the Dark? 4 Halloween Activities for the Music Classroom
  3. Cackles, Creaks, Moans and Groans: Musical Stories for Halloween Fun

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