A Teacher's Guide to Surviving Halloween: Activities for Upper Elementary Students in October

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As if teaching could get any more complicated--it's now October and Halloween season is right around the corner. For me, teaching on Halloween (and the day after) was a literal nightmare. Kids are overly stimulated, sugared, and excited. And there's nothing you can do about it!

And then it hit me--there's nothing I can do about it. So why fight it??

After a BIG mental shift I've learned to embrace teaching during Halloween week instead of fighting it. We can still learn, but a few strategies are needed to get through the week. Read on for 4 tips for surviving Halloween!  

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1. Know your school's policy for Halloween themes, parties, costumes, etc. 

I know this seems obvious, but policies vary SO MUCH when it comes to celebrating Halloween. I've been in a school where everyone dressed up and a school where we weren't allowed to mention it. Before you plan, make sure you know exactly what you're allowed to do. 

What if you're not allowed to have a "party" or mention Halloween? That's ok! You can still read seasonal books and do "spooky" activities. One of my favorite books to read in October is Creepy Carrots for this very reason! (I also have some super helpful lessons to go along with this book here!)

2. Control what you can, let go of the rest!

Sometimes, school plans are out of our control. Heaven forbid your school plans testing, reports cards, or other time sensitive tasks for the week of Halloween. These things are out of our control and we just have to do our best.

BUT if it is in your control, don't plan crucial tasks for the week of Halloween. Don't do it. Don't stress yourself out unnecessarily. Save the introduction of fractions for the next week. Simplify your life as much as possible. 

3. Embrace the fun!

You KNOW your students are going to be extra stimulated the week of Halloween. You know their sleep schedules will be slightly off and they will have high amounts of sugar in their systems. So don't expect your students to perform at the same level as the rest of the year. 

Once you shift your mindset, it's a lot easier for you to embrace the fun. If your school allows costumes, consider dressing up to go along with something you're studying. Encourage the students to do the same! Tie in seasonal themes to all your subjects. If you are able to relax and participate in their excitement, your students will make some amazing memories.

4. Consider a theme day for Halloween (or the day after)

So how did I tie all these tips together and make it work for me? A theme day!! 

I mentioned earlier that Creepy Carrots is my favorite book to use around Halloween. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of them is a set of lesson plans I created for the book. I created lesson plans for all subjects in our day (reading, writing, math, science, and Social Studies). This allowed us to embrace the fun holiday week without throwing academics out the window. This is what we did:

Creepy Carrots full day of lesson plans for HalloweenCreepy Carrots science lesson plan for HalloweenCreepy Carrots writing lesson plan for Halloween


Interactive read aloud of Creepy Carrots + activities that focus on comprehension, sequence/summary, cause/effect, retelling, and point of view. You can preview the comprehension questions as a FREEBIE at this link!


Writing spooky stories in the style of a graphic novel/comic strip. 


Students are invited to go through 6 themed stations (in the 3-5th grade range). Skills include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, measurement, time, and word problems!


Reviewed the scientific method as we completed a fun carrot experiment. 

Social Studies: 

Explored ideas of citizenship and community building in our classroom.

I've found that these plans are PERFECT for Halloween or the day after (or wherever the needed day falls for the year). I've also been told these make excellent sub plans as I've also included detailed plans for you as the teacher. If you'd like to see a preview you click the thumbnails below! Also checkout the FREE comprehension questions I've made for this book!

Thumbnail to buy Creepy Carrots full day of lessons plans for Halloween from Teachers Pay TeachersThumbnail to download free Creepy Carrots comprehension questions for Halloween from Teachers Pay Teachers

I hope you enjoy! And best wishes to you, friend, during this sugared-student season!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. 

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