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Halloween makes kids crazy, but it is so much fun! Whether you can celebrate Halloween officially at your school or not, it is fun to get a little bit into the Halloween spirit with some Halloween lessons for elementary music class. Many of these qualify as fall, so if you don’t do Halloween at your school, you can still do them.
There are tons of things that you can do for Halloween. As I started writing this post, I kept thinking of more and more Halloween lessons for elementary music, but here are a few of my favorites….
Feed the Monster
Feed the Monster is awesome any time of year, but extra awesome around Halloween. This is a game that you can do with any concept as long as you can flashcards. I typically usually use it for rhythm, but you can do it for solfege.
- Make a monster!
- Kids get into groups
- Students take turns reading the flashcards
- If they get it right, they feed the monster!
It’s that simple, but so much fun. Perfect for K-2.
While we’re on K-2, Hey Jack! Is a K-8 song that is so much fun! It’s all about Jack the jack-o-lantern. I like to use this to work on beat v. rhythm. We keep the beat on the verse, and we drum the rhythm of the chorus on our legs.
I also use it with second grade, mostly as a movement activity.
Because we need all the movement we can get with all of the candy going around….
Speaking of candy, one of my favorite ways Halloween music lessons is candy rhythms! We use these to sort candies by their rhythms. Once sorted, we do some candy composing.
And if we really need an energy release, we play candy rhythms four corners, which you can check out here.
Depending on the rhythms you pick, you can do it with any grade, but I like to do it with older students (3-5).
Pass the Pumpkin
Pass the pumpkin is a super simple beat passing game. It’s extra fun if you get a pumpkin from the dollar tree or the Target dollar spot.
The words go like this:
Pass the pumpkin all around
Listen to the spooky sound
Will it stop on you?
Sit in a circle and say the chant. Pass the pumpkin (or a ball or a crumbled up piece of paper….) to the steady beat. Whoever it stops on is out!
Good for K-2
Halloween Matching Games
For older students, we can do matching games! We do candy corn matching games and pumpkin matching games.
You can make these by printing out pumpkin or candy corn shapes and drawing the matches on them.
Or you can purchase them from my shop. They are available in all different versions– recorder matching, solfege matching, rhythm matching, treble clef, bass clef, piano, etc. Check out the pumpkin matching games here, and the candy corn matching games here.
I like to use the rhythm matching games for third grade, because they are learning the names of the rhythms. I also like the sol-mi-la ones for second grade. You can do it for anything though– piano, recorder fingering, treble clef notes, bass clef, etc.
Hint: If you want to make multiple sets to have different sets of kids do the activity at the same time, print them on different colored paper! That way you make sure that all of the blue ones end up together, and no one loses their match!
Fairies and Giants
Fairies and Giants by Elgar is a song that I use for high and low. It has very distinctive high sections and low sections.
On the high sections, we pretend to be fairies (if anyone says they don’t want to be fairies, you can just say fly around).
On the low sections, we do monsters instead of giants. I do this because I want them to associate low with being low to the ground. We scrunch down low, make mean monster faces, and we stomp to the steady beat.
It’s so much fun. Just try it.
Ghosts are perfect for vocalizing, because they actually say “ooh”.
Or at least they do if you are on Scooby Doo.
Draw some lines on the board, and have students vocalize by moving their fingers up when the line goes up and down when it goes down.
To make it extra fun, give the kids scarves or tissue paper to be their ghost and let them fly around.
I always like to end these by having students make up their own!
In the Hall of the Mountain King
I have many, many Halloween music lessons that revolve around In the Hall of the Mountain King but…. Here’s the top three:
- Steady beat: Have students step to the beat. I use this with littles and older students. Little to work on the beat, and older students to talk about accelerando. Have them jump on the loud parts at the end, and check over your shoulder for trolls!
- Boomwhacker/rhythm: There are boomwhacker and rhythm play alongs for this piece on YouTube! I like the rhythm for 2nd grade (because it has half notes!), and the boomwhackers for the older students. It’s not hard, but it’s fun.
- Reading: If you want the kids to calm down a bit, then you can read the book In the Hall of the Mountain King. Check it out here.
5 Little Pumpkins
5 Little Pumpkins in a rhythmic chant, and a perfect Halloween Music lesson for kindergarten or first grade.
I have this book, which we read first. Then we add movements!
Because, again, we need all of the movement activities around Halloween time.
Here’s what we do:
- 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, to complete the Halloween lesson goodness… we add instruments.
I have one student on the wind chimes, one on the temple blocks, and five students on the had drums.
- 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”
Witch, Witch is a chase game– the perfect Halloween music lesson for getting the wiggles out.
One student solo sings the Witch part, 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.
Those who are tagged can either be out, or they can join the witch and become witches themselves.
Whoo! Once I started writing out my favorite Halloween music lessons I couldn’t stop! I originally only had a couple, but I kept thinking of more!
Even so, I’m sure I missed a bunch. What is your favorite Halloween lesson for elementary music? Let us know in the comments!