Vampires and Demons! Oh My!

4945094 Driving home on an unknown, dark, twisty road with tall, scary trees looming on the left and the dark ocean lapping up to the shore on the right and no sign of human life anywhere on Friday the 13th had me just a bit more than freaked. I had to keep reminding myself that 1. The Jersey Devil cannot come to Florida, 2. Vampires are not real, no matter how real Nora Roberts made them out to be in her latest series, and 3. sharks cannot jump out of the ocean to eat me while I’m on the road in a car. Yes, I know, I have an over-active imagination, but then even Gremlins scared me as a child.

Can you guess what this whole post is about? Yep! Halloween. Earlier this week I received an email from an old friend asking for some ideas on what to do with Halloween in the middle school. Elementary teachers do fun things at this time with bats and ghosts, but what can the upper grades do? I had plenty of time to think of this in the car.

Dracula__a_vampire_for_the_ages_001_0001For one, check out unitedstreaming. On the calendar there is a list of videos that are perfect for Halloween. There’s background information on Dracula, which would be great for using Time Liner or even Inspiration. Or you can compare other Halloween classical characters. (Careful. If you don’t clarify characters from literature you might get characters like Jason or Michael Meyers.)

Want something for Social Studies? Check out the Holiday Facts and Fun: Halloween. Using Inspiration, you can create a document about how this holiday is celebrated in other countries, the origin of the The_history_of_halloween_003_0001holiday and more. Want to get really freaky with it? Create a holiday graphic organizer and each major holiday that is celebrated world wide, add to the organizer. Sounds like a perfect job for Inspiration! unitedstreaming has the videos to help with your fact finding mission. Or, find videos, images or other links that share how Halloween is celebrated in other countries and create a Google Earth File. Fly around the world (pefect for a class on culture and geography) as you learn about this scary holiday.

Some of our towns also lend themselves to ghost stories or tales of local lore. Kay Teehan told me about a ghost tour she took in Georgia once. I heard that there are some great haunted hay rides or ghost walks in Florida. Sharpen those writing skills!

Perfect time for science teachers as well. I use to have a great recipe for making sweet but delicious blood. Caro Syrup, Chocolate syrup, blue and red dye were some of the ingredients. Chemical reactions, phsyical changes, mixtures and other changes can be explored at this time. How about scientific ways to make some of the other scary feats happen in horror houses?

My mind wouldn’t let me go past these simple activities. Therefore, with just 17 days left until the little darlings of the world show up to ask you for treats or you’ll get tricked dressed in their scariest garb, can you help with some Halloween ideas? If you create something that other teachers can benefit from, please upload it to the Resource Section.


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  1. Ana McMoran said:

    Those are great ideas, love the INspiration ideas, on my way to look for all the resources….I think they can also come up as an assessment with a Writing Prompt, using United STraeming, getting ready for That Florida writes, What if there was “No Halloween”? Explain 3 things you would be doing instead..or explain how you would be spending this day if there was no Halloween….or write a story to a place where Halloween was not celebrated…I can keep going and going …and I am not on the road Danielle….but you got me started.

  2. Nathan Guteras said:

    Glad you made it home to blog. You could always vist “Spook Hill” in Lake Wales. That is a fun trip near Bok Towers. Our school will be using “United Streamings” writing prompts for Halloween poetry units.

  3. Cheryl Woolwine said:

    St. Augustine has some ghost tours! and of course there are always stories about the lighthouse here. Glad you made it home without the monsters getting you Danielle!

  4. Sylvia Vigo-Smith said:

    Wow, Danielle, thanks for sharing those great ideas. Funny you mention the Jersey Devil, I grew up in central Jersey and I remember being scared driving down dark curvy deserted roads during many a crisp Autumn evening with the headlights off waiting for something to…POP OUT!
    Happy Halloween!

  5. Danielle Abernethy said:

    Sylvia- my dad can tell that story and spook you out! He grew up with it too! I use to have him come in the classroom and tell the story once a year. Beat the lizard man any day. 🙂

  6. Michele Futch said:

    I think Sylvia & Danielle need to tell us the “Jersey Devil” story!

  7. Tom Turner said:

    I now KNOW what I will bring to the next DEN event. Something with a shark, a Tasmanian Devil or dress up as Dracula. Thanks for the WONDERFUL ideas Danielle!

  8. Michele Futch said:

    Please let me know which event this will be? I would love to see you as Dracula. Maybe you could take us on a virtual field trip to Tasmania?

  9. Danielle Abernethy said:

    The Jersey Devil was the 13th daughter of the 13th son that was meant to be a son. The mother took him to a witch doctor to have the daughter turned into a son before the husband got home from his long journey to discover she had yet again failed at bringing him the son he desired. He got home too soon, discovered what happened and interrupted the ceremony. The baby became the Jersey Devil- not the cute looking Tasmanian Devil but rather a ferocious looking beast combined of many animals. That’s the easy version. My dad’s story can turn your hair up on ends.

  10. Michele Futch said:

    I think the “Jersey Devil” story would make a great podcast or digital story!

  11. Gerard Newsom said:

    Neat post Danielle! Whoa, wait a minute…I’ve never commented on your blog before…does this count as being spooky or what??

  12. Danielle Abernethy said:

    Thanks Gerard! I’d consider that a friendly haunting. 🙂

  13. Ruth E Manlandro said:

    Great ideas, I am going to check them out. I was looking for something to do with Middle school and timeliner. I used to live in South Jersey and went to College in the area of the Jersey Devil so I quite understand. Now I live in a Town that is known for Ghosts- St. Augustine. If anyone wants a webquest there is one on the Ghosts of St. Augustine. It is quite interesting.

  14. Jane Sykes said:

    I just downloaded a bunch of videos to our network video file from the Calendar area for Halloween and then emailed a list to the teachers in our school with grade levels and a few comments. Most of the teachers don’t have LCD projectors, but Tim has rigged up a system so Merrill can show them over the TV network! Some of those stories were pretty spooky!

  15. Angel Spurling said:


    I used the Halloween fun facts history on United Streaming last year so this year I am doing a scavenger hunt! I give them a list of words and they get to play on United Streaming by finding how many videos match the word . At the end of class they turn in their list and a written paragraph about their favorite !

    So far they love it we are doing this every friday in October! Its a great way to do something different !

  16. Angel Spurling said:

    I forgot to tell you all the words are Halloween words !

  17. Debbie Bohanan said:

    I can’t wait to check out the calendar. Way to go Discovery!

  18. Debbie Bohanan said:

    Our students in the past have dressed up as their favorite storybook character.

  19. Debbie Bohanan said:

    We also celebrate red ribbon week during the week of Halloween. Students have wacky tourist days, crazy hat days, and other events that celebrate the spirit of red ribbon week as well as give them the chance to dress up for Halloween.

  20. Claire Ledrich said:

    My students love it when I create a witch’s brew, which is simply home made root beer combined with dry ice. I put this concoction in a cauldron that I purchased from Big Lots and the kids really get into it!

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