What kind of costume are you wearing for Halloween this year? Why did you pick that costume?
What is your favorite "treat" to get on Halloween? What kind of "tricks," if any, do you plan to pull this year?
Like all holidays, Halloween is full of traditions. What's your favorite Halloween tradition? Why?
Are you surprised that Halloween began as a way of warding off evil spirits? Why or why not? How would you describe the holiday as it is celebrated today?
- Have students imagine that they decided to go trick-or-treating at the last minute this year. It's too late to get a costume from the store, so they have to make their own.
- Tell them that they already know several friends who are dressing up as Dracula, Frankenstein, goblins and ghouls. They want their costume to be different, so it's time to think outside the box.
- The best solution, they decide, is to design a historically inspired costume. How they interpret this theme is up to them. They can design a costume steeped in the history of Halloween or they can pick someone famous in history and model their design after that person.
- Give students time brainstorm ideas. Then encourage them to draw a picture showing what their historically inspired Halloween costume would look like.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
This combination of stories and music from the Smithsonian Folkways collection brings you a playlist that incorporates the spooky elements of Halloween such as ghosts, skeletons, witches and monsters.
As the spooky clan makes a new appearance on the big screen, read this Smithsonian magazine article for a look back on the mystery of their longevity.
Read this article from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to learn about a rare public display that explores the unexpected intersection between craft and forensic science.
In the spirit of Halloween, join the cultural interpreters in this video from the National Museum of the American Indian for a special storytelling session focused on scary stories told among Native families and friends. BEWARE! These stories may set your hair on end and keep you looking over your shoulder!
For centuries, inventors have been patenting technology to prevent such a nightmare from happening. Don’t believe it? Read this Smithsonian magazine article to get all the gory details.
To celebrate a cool Halloween creature—bats—invite students to explore this brief Q & A with Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the National Museum of Natural History.
Read this Smithsonian magazine article to follow in the footsteps of Bram Stoker and see how his hometown inspired him to write his famous horror novel.