Halloween is coming up quickly and the question is “What are some fun ways to celebrate Halloween in French class?” France doesn’t really celebrate Halloween, so you aren’t likely to find a lot of authentic resources. But that’s not the end of the world. There are so many different fun activities that can be done – there is a LOT of spooky history in France that can be shared with students, but there are also some not-so-spooky fun things you can do. Depending on the amount of time you want to spend and the level of your students, you might go all out and make a full lesson out of it, or you might just want to spend a few minutes to address it, but then go on with whatever you have planned.
A fun song
If you just want to spend a few minutes doing something fun, there is always the classic song by Matt Maxwell – C’est L’Halloween. It’s a fun little song that even novice learners can enjoy. You can read the lyrics and let your students get into it by shouting Hé with the chorus. You might do an activity with the vocabulary or lyrics before listening if you want to give a little more time to the activity.
Since I have teens in my classes, they love hearing about the Catacombs. I show them videos about the catacombs and tell them about the history of the underground resting place of many people. Some of them have seen the movie As Above, So Below and many of them would love to visit the Catacombs. A few years ago, AirBNB ran a contest for two contestants to spend a night in the catacombs. The contest required contestants to submit a paragraph explaining why they should be chosen as the winners. The contest is long over, but you could still use it as inspiration for a lesson – have students write a paragraph in French about why they would or would not like to spend a night. If you have more advanced classes, you could also read about the catacombs in this reading about the hidden city under Paris.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise is another fun spooky place to talk about. There are many famous people buried there, you could use this to make a list of people and have your students research the lives of those who rest in the cemetery. They could make tombstones or tell the class about the person they researched. It’s an interesting cemetery because it was the world’s first garden cemetery, meant to be visited by the general public and not just family members of those who are buried within. For your intermediate and advanced students, I have a reading about the cemetery.
If you want to spend a little more time and give your students a challenge, there are many escape games for the holiday. I have one that has students learning about ghosts in France, Le Manoir haunted house, Père Lachaise, and more. French teacher Katie Pletcher has made an excellent game called “Opération Chauve-Souris” that I plan to have my own students do next week. These games can be a LOT of fun for students, and you can give them as little or as much support as you think they need to complete the challenges.
Maybe you’d like to read a short story instead? I’ve written a couple of fun stories for the holiday. Frankie Le Vampire is a fairly simple story about a reluctant vampire who is scared to go out and find his dinner. For your level 2 and later students, Les Zombies Attaquent is a story about zombies attacking a local high school – it focuses on the past tense, so you can practice the passé composé and imparfait.
Finally, if you’re looking for a way to practice vocabulary related to the holiday, Blooket has a special Halloween-themed game. You can import whatever vocabulary you want from Quizlet – or build a list from scratch – and then students will have fun stealing each other’s candy! My students LOVE this game. I also have a digital vocabulary game that practices the vocabulary associated with Halloween.
Whatever you decide to do for the holiday, I hope you have fun! It’s not a huge thing in France, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves a bit. The Spanish classes get to have fun with Dia de los Muertos, but I hope you can use some of these ideas about fun ways to celebrate Halloween in French class, even if it’s not really a big deal to the French.
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