Traditionally, at the middle and high school level, I've used October to celebrate fall and the spookiness of Halloween, without specifically referencing the holiday. I've done this in a few different ways throughout the years.
1. I have done a short story unit using Poe's stories, "The Black Cat," "The Tell-Tale Heart, "The Cask of Amontillado" and other stories by various author's such as "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and "Rip Van Winkle." I let students choose which story and had them complete different activities regarding them.
2. I have taught narrative writing and had students write scary stories. I tell them they can get as creepy and scary as they want but they can't include guns. I've let some students read them out loud with electronic candles lighting the room close to the holiday if they so choose.
Need some great resources for teaching creative narratives and or non-fiction personal narratives? Check out my huge narrative writing pack!
3. I've used Edgar Allen Poe's poems "Spirits of the Dead" and "The Raven." I love having the students watch the Simpson's version of "The Raven" because James Earl Jones reads it so well!
Want to have your students work on examining two texts with similar topics? Check out this set of handouts I created:
A great interactive activity for the days leading up to Halloween can be my task cards for "The Raven!" Get students up and out of their seats or just have them engage with the poem in a new way!
4. As a nod to the season I have students read and discuss "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. I think it's message is very important to the middle and high school age range.
Need a quick handout to help students examine this poem? Try this:
How do you engage your older students in the seasons?
Thanks for reading!