Teachers never miss a holiday.

Groundhog’s day, Johnny Appleseed day…it’s impossible to work in a school (okay, especially an elementary school) and not know that these holidays are going on.

I love a reason to tie my curriculum into days and events that are happening, but I have to admit – Halloween is my favorite.

When I was teaching middle school, I would plan my entire Edgar Allen Poe unit around Halloween.  Nothing beats reading “Tell-Tale Heart” with flashlights while skeletons decorate the walls.

However, sometimes our holiday activities are a little bit of a stretch.  Coloring a picture of a groundhog might be cute, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t really do much to get the students’ brains working.

Below are two of my favorite writing activities I created for Halloween.  While they both involve fear and mystery, they are not limited to Halloween (that’s just when I used them!).  Feel free to try them in your classroom with your own twist, or purchase my version straight from my TpT store!

Fear and Response Poem

This is an assignment I would use around Halloween for my middle school language arts kids.  I wanted to create a personal writing activity to accompany “Tell-Tale Heart” and thought of different motifs that come up in the story.  One that stuck out to me was fear, and how instead of taking the time to understand where his fear comes from, the narrator chooses a more…drastic…action.


That students follow a loose template to first write about three things they fear.  I have them choose one concrete thing, one action, and one feeling or idea.


The next part of the poem is the response poem.  Here, students write back to their fears and discuss how they can be dealt with.  I did this on my own (I like to have my own examples) and really loved the response addition.

Purchase the template, my example and a Common-Core aligned rubric here!

Mystery Poetry

With this activity, students go through steps to create poetry that relies on figurative language to describe a subject – which remains unknown!


I go through examples of Color Poetry to get students used to the idea of relying on language to portray a subject.  We talk about different types of figurative language, focusing on simile, onomatopoeia, personification, metaphor and imagery.


Now, I have my students think about something creepy.  I have had students tackle a huge array of subjects – from graveyards to the concept of fear.  Students write poetry using figurative language, but are not allowed to say what the subject is.


These are fun poems to illustrate and share, with others trying to guess the subject!

If you would like the 17-slide presentation I use and Common-Core aligned rubric, purchase this product here!

What are your favorite Halloween assignments?