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Witches, Ninjas, Fairies, Princesses, and Super Heroes

Part of the series: Stuff All EFL Teachers Should Know

It’s Halloween, and time for another class party!

These were my students’ costumes for our Halloween party this year. Considering that dressing up wasn’t mentioned, I was impressed that they made such an effort to come in character!

Class parties can be a great reward for learning English. In our case, the theme of the party always closely matches the theme of recent lessons. This Halloween, that meant exploiting vocabulary for body parts because that’s what the younger kids have been learning about recently.

We played Bingo and a memory game (with cards made from free clip art—thanks to @talkclouds on Twitter), but used more familiar words –mouth and head, instead of fangs and skull, for example. If you need a ready-made set of cards for younger children, you’re welcome to download mine. They’re on google docs.

We also played a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey type of game, but rather than having students sticking pins in various locations on my walls (or on each other), we put the body parts on a pumpkin cut out that was on top of a table. Students were blindfolded, and then given the pumpkin’s eyes, nose, and mouth. They had fun trying to put the facial features on the jack o’lantern.

To continue with our body parts theme, students used candy pieces to add hair and faces to their witch cupcakes. After finishing their masterpieces (but before eating them) the children talked about their creations (and how many eyes and noses they’d decided to add to the faces).

Finally, parents stationed themselves at different spots around my house and the children went trick or treating. I noticed parents asking the kids to identify the colors of the candies, or to count the candies as they got them, and everyone had to say “thank you!” I love how the parents made the activity even better. The only unexpected result is that one of the younger children seems to have decided that “trick or treat” is just another way to say “thank you,” so I’ll probably be hearing “trick or treat” at the end of class for awhile.

I know it’s sneaky, but parties are a great way for children to have fun because they learned the language.

If you’d like to see more photos of our party (the cupcakes are definitely worth a peek!) I’ve put them together in an animoto video.

Happy Halloween!

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6 Comments

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, Barbara Sakamoto and Nick Jaworski, David Dodgson. David Dodgson said: Witches, Ninjas, Fairies, Princesses, and Super Heroes http://bit.ly/ahDARN via @barbsaka [...]

  2. DavidD says:

    This looks great Barbara! I wish I had been a kid there as well. :)

    I’ve held fancy dress parties in class before to coincide with a unit from the coursebook about, well… fancy dress parties! I had students come in as cowboys, pirates, footballers and princesses (accounting for more than half of the girls!) and they described their outfits with great enthusiam. We had a fancy dress parade with awards for the best costumes and they even came up with little role-plays like the princess being kidnapped by the pirate and rescued by the cowboy! We made a huge wall display the following week using all the photos in which they recycled clothes vocab and ‘(S)he is wearing…’ extensively, not that they noticed.

    Alas, I don’t teach that grade anymore (and they use a different book now) so it won’t be so easy to find an excuse to have a similar party this year (getting official permission was difficult enough as it was).

    I love the way the parents got involved in your party as well. It all adds to the learning experience.

    1. Barbara says:

      Oh my goodness, David! I can just imagine the princesses on parade! I would have loved to see that :-)

      The role plays were an inspired idea, as well.

      I’ve been impressed by my parents as well–this is the party I’ve put together where the parents improved on my original idea. I hope it’s a sign of things to come!

  3. Julia says:

    I’m no fan of Halloween but I can see how great it was for the children. Such a lot of learning all dressed up as fun! Well done!

  4. Great fun! I had a Halloween party with my adult class this year and they loved it! Heading to Japan soon….can’t wait to bring this fun to our local neighborhood there!

  5. [...] Then, Ha-chan came up to me after class to tell me that she was going to be a princess this year. She was a witch last year, and quite envious of the one princess who attended the party. (You can see the costumes in this post about last year’s party.) [...]

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