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ESL Holiday Lessons: Halloween

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

More Ways

Computer, Internet access, projector, speakers (for class presentation)

Activity Description

This site offers lessons/activities using both well-known and rather obscure holidays. Each offers a transcript with an MP3 audio file for listening practice, and some or all of following activities: a phrase match, a listening gap fill, a correct word choice, multiple choice, spelling, organizing the text, scrambled sentences, discussion, and writing. Materials are printable in Word and PDF formats. Reading level varies from Int. - Adv. ESL. The holiday used in this activity is Halloween.


  1. Preview the Example Web site above.
  2. Look for the "Downloads" navigation bar (it is currently green) and download the Word Doc or PDF. Print the lesson activities for your students. Be sure to avoid the other "Download and Play Now" buttons that are part of the advertising on this site. (Download the editable Word Doc if you would like to choose which exercises to include in your printed copies).
  3. Make sure you can play the MP3 audio files on the teacher computer and that the speakers are loud enough. If students are using this site individually, be sure they have headphones and that the sound is not muted on your computers.


  1. Before introducing the holiday (Halloween in this case), ask students to identify some upcoming holidays and list these on the board. Introduce the holiday.
  2. To activate background knowledge, have students discuss what they know about this holiday in small groups. Lead a brief whole-class discussion.
  3. Ask the students to listen for something interesting about the holiday. Play the MP3 and have students share the interesting fact they heard.
  4. Review the Phrase Match activity, have students listen again to the MP3 and match the phrases from the reading. Have them compare their answers in small groups.
  5. Play the MP3 again and have students complete the Listening Gap Fill activity. Review the answers as a class.
  6. Repeat Step 5 with the second Listening Gap Fill activity.
  7. Play the MP3 again and have students complete the Choose the Correct Word activity. Review the answers as a class.
  8. Have students complete the Multiple Choice, Spelling, Put the Text Back Together, and Scrambled Sentences activities, referring to the written text if needed.
  9. Have students find a partner and decide who is Student A and who is Student B. Have them write five-six questions about the holiday for their partner. Have them ask and answer the questions.
  10. Have students write five of their holiday questions on the Survey form. Have each student interview three classmates, write their classmates' responses, and then discuss these responses with their partner. Have each pair share its findings with the class in the form of a mini-presentation.
  11. Have students write about the holiday, show their partner their paper and correct each other's work.
  12. Assign one of the suggested homework assignments.

Teacher Tips

  • Scan the stories and exercises for problematic vocabulary and be prepared to introduce that vocabulary to the class. Look for British spellings and usage (e.g. "Sellotape" -a British brand name for transparent tape).
  • Use one of the many other holidays in the same way you did this one, having students complete the already provided exercises.
  • You can also use this activity with individual students in lieu of a group activity.

More Ways

After using this site to teach your students about a few holidays, have your students work in small groups to select an upcoming holiday, learn about it by completing the activities on the Web site, and then have them create a PowerPoint presentation to teach their classmates about this holiday. This would work great for those months towards the end of the school year during which there are a number of holidays, including:

  1. February: Chinese New Year, President's Day, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras
  2. April: April Fools Day, Easter, Earth Day
  3. May: Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, Memorial Day


  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (2.7) Understand aspects of society and culture
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.