Boo! It’s time to get your scare on: hello, Halloween!

Many of us love to dress up for Halloween, but it’s also the perfect time to go beyond spooky sartorial choices and explore your students’ writing creativity.

These 7 spooky writing activities for Halloween will help your students create a creepy tale or two.

1. The Creepy Castle writing prompt

Perfect for all year levels, this fun writing prompt and template will provide lots of fun this Halloween. This activity encourages students to use descriptive writing to show rather than tell (Step 5).

Step 5: Show, Don't Tell

The Creepy Castle
Show us what kind of character lives in a castle like this.

What do they love to do? What is their pet like?

2. Creating Creepy Character Profiles

This activity and template has been extracted from our new Narrative Writing Manual.

For a story to have tension, the writer must create characters with depth that the reader can empathise with.

Click to download a free Character Profile Template

  • Start by discussing characters from familiar spooky stories. What do we know about them? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What makes us care about them?
  • As a class, brainstorm a list of possible spooky characters (e.g. a vampire, a mummy, Frankenstein).
  • Ask students to form pairs and pick a character from the class list, then brainstorm ideas to create a profile of their chosen character using this template from the Narrative Writing Manual.
  • Ask students to write a brief description of their spooky character based on the ideas in the profile. Challenge them to write it in a way that makes the reader want to read more.

Download your free template

3. Through the Keyhole Template

  • Ask students to imagine they are looking through a keyhole. Is it a haunted house? A goblin’s grotto? A dungeon?
  • Students can use the template to draw what they see, then write about it below. Don’t forget to capture the reader’s attention with a Sizzling Start.

Download the template

Click to download the Sizzling Starts template: Through the keyhole

4. Picture writing prompts

These eerie and magical images are perfect visual prompts to help your students focus on specific writing skills.

View more free Seven Steps Writing Prompts: Narrative | Persuasive | Informative

Teacher Hub members: Remember to log in to gain access to exclusive content for these Halloween writing prompts including:

  • five ways to use the writing prompt
  • thinking questions
  • ‘In The Moment’ graphic organiser to help students writing more descriptive
  • related media links.

Click for extra resources on Teacher Hub

5. Persuasive Fast Starts Challenge

This is one of the best ways to increase your students’ engagement and bring the fun into your writing lessons.

  • Here are the topics:
    • Trick-or-treating is dangerous
    • Ghosts do exist
    • Vampires vs werewolves
    • Halloween is better than Christmas
    • Being scared is fun
  • Set a 60 second timer – try this one.
  • Students write a Sizzling Start for each topic. After going through each topic, every student should have 5 different Sizzling Starts.
  • Ask students to share their favourite Sizzling Start in groups of 3–4. This will help them generate more ideas, develop concepts and learn from each other.

New to the Seven Steps? Try the Sizzling Starts Transformation Challenge – it has all the resources you need to learn, teach, apply and assess Step 2: Sizzling Starts.

6. Spooky Stories

Using random words as the basis for a story is a great way to spark students’ creativity.

  • As a class, watch the spooky story in the following video (watch from 1:30 to 2:20):

  • Get each student to write a word they associate with spooky stories on a strip of paper.
  • Place the strips of paper into a hat.
  • Ask each student to pull a strip of paper from the hat.
  • Get students to form groups of three and work together to write their own spooky story based on their words.

For example: attic, moon, bat.

‘She pushed open the attic door. It made a long, high-pitched creaking sound. She slowly tiptoed into the darkroom and tried the light switch. No luck. Something rustled in the corner of the room, disturbed by her entrance.

‘I hope it’s a mouse,’ she shuddered.

The moon shone its faint light through the small window. Slowly, a shadow began to appear: large wings, a pointed head. A bat, bigger than any ordinary bat.’

7. Petrifying poems

The poems in the following videos are a a great example of Step 5: Show Don’t Tell. Watch the video as a class then get your students to create their own Show, Don’t Tell poetry.

For younger students:

One Dark Night, In the Middle of the Day…

For older students:

The Vampire by Conrad Aiken

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

Want to continue improving your students’ poetry writing?