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Halloween is coming up, so let’s sing some Halloween folk songs in your elementary music room!
Now, full disclosure, I am not huge into Halloween, so most of these just dance around the topics of Halloween, with pumpkins, cats, and more. This is perfect, though, in case you want to add a tiny bit of Halloween fun without being too overbearing Halloween-ish.
After reading this one, make sure you check out this list of Halloween music lessons to use with your kids this year!
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Pass the Pumpkin
Let’s start with my favorite: Pass the Pumpkin. I have used this with everyone from first to fourth grade, and they have all loved it.
To play the game:
- Students sit in a circle and pass the pumpkin (or a ball of orange paper) to the beat
- Whoever it lands on is out!
My fourth graders were obsessed with Hot Potato this year (I have no idea why), so this was perfect for them. Plus, it’s in a minor key!
With the littles, we focused on beat v. rhythm. With the older kids, we played ostinatos and then the whole song on the xylophones.
I have a whole lesson pack on TPT that share the lesson and visuals for this song– click here to purchase!
Naughty Kitty Cat
I needed to add a cat song to this list, so Naughty Kitty Cat it is! This song is so cute. We like to make up different things that this cat did, and use it to practice quarter rest.
5 Little Pumpkins
Next up– 5 Little Pumpkins. For this, we with reading the book that I have (get it here). Then we add actions:
- Hold up 5 fingers: 5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate
- Put hands to face: 1st one said oh my it’s getting late!
- Point to the sky like you’re looking at something: 2nd one said there are witches in the air
- Brush off shoulders: 3rd one said “But we don’t care!”
- Pretend to run: 4th one said “Let’s run and run and run!”
- Point to yourself: 5th one said “I’m ready for some fun!”
- Move hands up and down: Then ooh went the wind
- Clap on out: And out went the light
- Roll hands around: Then 5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight
Then we add instruments!
- Wind chimes: Beginning and end, plus “ooh went the wind”
- Temple Blocks: “5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate” and “5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight”
- Hand drums: One student plays the rhythm of the words for each of the pumpkins. Everyone play one thump on “out went the light”
My students’ favorite song of of this list of Halloween folk songs for elementary music is definitely Witch, Witch.
This song has a fun singing game. The witch stands in the middle of the classroom. The other students are on one side. One student solo sings the Witch part (Are you my children?), and the rest of the class sings the rest. At the end, the students run across the room to the safe zone and the witch tries to tag them.
I like to be the witch so I can hep control the chaos a bit.
This is also perfect for learning or practicing sol and mi! It only has sol and mi and it’s in 6/8.
What’s more Halloween than a jack-o-lantern?
This chant is perfect for working on sixteenth notes. We added simple movements:
- Pumpkin pumpkin round and: tap rhythm on legs
- Fat: clap
- Turn into a jack-o-lantern: Jump and spin
- Just like that: clap 3 times.
You can also do this in partners, where the students clap the partners’ hands instead of their own hands.
PS When it’s after Halloween, I change the words to “turn into a pumpkin pie” and it works perfectly for Thanksgiving!
Skin and Bones
Lastly, we have to mention Skin and Bones. This is a spooky, creepy song that is perfect for Halloween. I like to have the students put the events of the story in order (you can do this whole group or have students have cards with the parts of the song to put into order at their seat). Then you can have students draw pictures of each of the events.
And, of course, we use this song to practice the xylophones. The students learn the “ooo” part of the song to play while we sing.
What are your favorite Halloween folk songs for elementary music class? Let me know by sending them to me on Instagram @beccamusicroom. I can’t wait to hear your ideas– I feel like Halloween is not my strong suit.