Math doesn’t have to be scary – unless you want it to be! Not all schools are able to celebrate Halloween and some kids don’t participate in this holiday. However, vampires are in fashion all year round and almost any child will enjoy learning math with the help of zombies or ghosts. If you are searching for spooky lesson plans, look no further. Here are 16 Halloween activities for kids to try in October and beyond.
1. Teach Probability With M&Ms and Other Candies
Candy is a great way to get kids excited about learning. You can use it around Halloween or throughout the year. Pour a bag of M&Ms (or individually-wrapped candy) into a bowl. Assume that each color is equally represented. What are the odds of pulling a red M&M? You can also create examples of unevenly distributed candy bowls to advance the lesson.
Candy can also be used to teach counting, adding, multiplication, and a variety of other math concepts like greater than, less than, and equal to.
2. Create Haunted Mazes to Teach Area and Perimeter
Hand out graph paper and ask students to create their own spooky mazes. (For a non-Halloween activity, they can create basic corn mazes for fall.) Then use these mazes to solve a variety of problems. What percentage of the paper does the maze take up? What is the perimeter of the maze? After solving these problems, ask students to swap mazes with a peer and solve them for a Ticket Out the Door (TOD).
3. Challenge Students to Create Math Monsters
This is a great way to build on all of the concepts your students have learned this year. Ask students to draw the scariest monsters possible that include a list of math functions they have learned. Examples include an acute angle, isosceles triangle, pentagon, and a sloping line. Make sure students label each element on the monster.
4. Draw Monsters With Math
Another drawing activity involves providing students with a list of equations to solve in order to see what features a monster or alien has. For example, the monster has 32 eyes divided by 8 (four eyes total). Students will solve the problems and then draw a creature with all of these features.
5. Spider Legs and Shoes
Ask students to draw a spider with eight legs, then use basic equations to dress their new friend. For example, the spider needs 14 - 6 shoes (8 shoes total). Create a whole outfit using addition and subtraction as students dress the spider.
6. Identify the Ghost Number
These Halloween activities for kids are great if you are teaching counting. Create paper ghosts that hide numbers in a counting line. Students have to count up to a certain point to show what the ghost number is. This can also be used to teach patterns. What is the ghost hiding: 3, 6, 9, 👻,15?
7. Display Numbers in Different Ways
Fill a cauldron with spooky items. These could be Halloween-colored beads or fun candies. Place a handful from the cauldron on the desks of each student, then walk them through different number activities. For example, ask students to count the candies and write the number as a digit (4), a word (four), and in hash marks (||||) on a whiteboard. Then erase the numbers and have students switch desks to write out different numbers.
8. Teach Greater Than or Less Than With Candy Corn
Candy corn is a fall staple and it’s not just for Halloween. It also can denote inequality when turned on its side. You can either use dominoes or an existing worksheet for this activity. Students will choose which number of greater than the other and place the candy corn according. For example, 8 is greater than 5, so the yellow end of the candy corn faces the letter 8.
9. Create Monster Dice
If you already use dice in your lesson plans, this modification will be easy. Create modified dice where each side has a different monster (one is a ghost, two is a zombie, etc.) Then move forward with your lesson plans using these haunted dice. This is a great way to engage kids who have number anxiety because they are playing with characters instead.
10. Do a Monster Dance
This is one of the top Halloween activities for kids if you want to get little ones moving. Draw out random numbers and ask kids to complete dance moves or physical activities that are Halloween-themed. For example, take six steps on a Zombie walk and then wave your arms like a ghost eight times. You can build on each addition until you have a full monster dance.
11. Eyeball Estimation
Place rubber balls, peeled grapes, olives, or other eyeball-like items in a series of jars. Ask students to estimate the number of eyes in each. This can either be a visual activity or one where they stick their hands in a covered jar and have to estimate based on what they feel.
This activity teaches reasonable estimation while also allowing students to write formulas (there are likely less than 20 olives in the jar but more than 10).
12. Build Lessons Around Spooky Books
There are plenty of spooky books that come with Halloween activities for kids. For example, start the class by reading How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara. One student guesses a million seeds while another guesses 22. Students complete activities to learn how many seeds are in each pumpkin.
This activity can pair well with the eyeball estimation game.
13. Teach Patterns With Stamps
Another way to teach patterns to younger learners is with stamps. You can create patterns on a sheet and ask students to continue the pattern correctly until the end of the page. This can be done with spooky Halloween stamps or with any other stamp throughout the year. Eventually, students can move from recognizing image patterns to picking up on number patterns.
14. Help the Alien Get Home
Your students will be captivated by aliens and UFOs throughout the year, but this can also be a spooky math activity. An alien has crash-landed on Earth and the students need to help it reboot the spaceship. Ask students to solve a series of problems to crack the code and help the alien fly away.
You can also turn this into a geometry lesson by challenging students to map coordinates on graph paper to draw a line back to the alien’s home planet.
15. Use Fractions to Create Witchy Potions
The perfect witches brew requires 1/2 of Eye of Newt and a 1/3 of a teaspoon of goblin tears. Have students solve problems to understand the ingredients needed to make a potion. They can then draw out the potion on graph paper for a visual representation of the concoction. For added creativity, ask students to make up ingredients they think witches need to create effective brews.
16. Challenge Your Students to Fight a Zombie Invasion
Zombies continue to be one of the most popular monsters out there. You can build zombies into the kindergarten classroom (asking kids to count the monsters) all the way up to the middle school level. Challenge your students to use whatever math concepts you are learning to prevent a zombie invasion. For example, students can graph out a barrier to keep the zombies out or solve multiplication problems to understand how many monsters are out there.
These are great activities for students to use their sweet, delicious brains.
Try Out Different Halloween Activities for Kids
You can spend the whole month of October exploring different spooky activities with your students. Many of these math activities can be completed during other parts of fall – like September and November. See which math lesson plans your students love and which ones aren’t spooky enough for their scary minds.