I guess it’s fairly obvious when thinking about Halloween lessons to think of teaching kids and teens. However, why should they get all the fun?!
Oxford University Press has a variety of different Halloween-based activities for adult students, including a cloze activity at two different levels (pre-intermediate to low intermediate and high intermediate and above). If you’re teaching relatively high level students they also have some language-based worksheets, one focusing on idioms (with a scary theme), one on collocations which could then lead into a writing/story-telling exercise, and another on word formation. All of these provide a nice nod to the season, without feeling like you’re sacrificing education for the sake of doing something fun!
Five Minute English has a reading activity with true/false questions about the origins of Halloween.
The Guardian has an infographic – ‘Halloween in Numbers’ which could be useful for students studying for FCE or similar exams where they have to write about charts and statistics.
For a fun improv/roleplay activity, I like the idea of ‘Horrifying Interruptions’ from the sound book site. I suspect this would be likely to work best with strong intermediate level students and higher, but it’s a nice activity and reminds me of my improv comedy days at university.
Students could compare photos or text about how Halloween (or indeed Day of the Dead festivals) are celebrated around the world before discussing how these are similar/different to their own country. Could make for a really interesting discussion, particularly in mixed nationality groups.
Halloween could also be extended to the theme of ‘scary things’ in general. I’m a huge fan of onestopenglish.com’s ‘Live from London’ series and have used several different ones in class before. Especially if you’re teaching abroad, it’s a great way to get a little bit of a different culture into the classroom – and also exposes students to lots of different accents! They’ve just produced a Halloween episode – authentic video interviews with people in London about what scares them. There are worksheets and a transcript to accompany the video, and it provides a good lead in to a really interesting topic. What are you afraid of?