Celebrate Halloween and La Toussaint in French class

celebrate halloween in french class

My students really love to celebrate Halloween. They plan ahead for the perfect costumes, and they know exactly which houses they plan to visit to get the most candy with the least amount of effort. The day after Halloween is full of sugared-up students leaving a trail of candy-wrappers behind them. In addition, since most of my students are Mexican or Mexican-American, they celebrate the Day of the Dead. It’s very impressive – the school MeCHA group puts together a beautiful altar and teachers and students are invited to put photos of their loved ones on the altar as part of the remembrance.

Even though Halloween isn’t a huge deal in the French-speaking world, that doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate it in your French classes. There is the holiday of la Toussaint, so it’s something that you can teach about as a comparing/contrasting cultural celebrations type of activity.

I like to show my students photos of cemeteries in France that have been decorated for the holiday, and we discuss the use of certain flowers at funerals. My students are especially interested in the fact that there are so many tombs rather than flat graves – it’s a great way to bring up the differences in climate and culture that led to these.

Celebrate Halloween and La Toussaint with these activities

One of the most popular activities I’ve done to celebrate Halloween in class is a digital escape game for la Toussaint. Students LOVE the spooky stuff – and just because France doesn’t get on board with trick-or-treating and costumes doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy a good haunted house or ghost story! We play the escape game around the end of October, just in time for la Toussaint.

They love learning about the dame blanche at one of the chateaux, They also like seeing the Parisian attraction Le Manoir – each year their haunted houses get spookier and more elaborate. It turns out that the French like to celebrate Halloween at least a little bit!

Your students might enjoy the game as well – it’s a bit challenging but so much fun. If you have purchased it in the past, you will want to download the updated version each year as some of the links and clues do change.

For more advanced classes, you might celebrate Halloween with a reading activity. Here are some of the spookier readings that you might enjoy:

Les Zombies Attaquent – This is a short story about zombies attacking a high school. There are lots of examples of the imparfait and passé composé, so if your students are working to master that it might be very useful for you. Being able to celebrate Halloween AND master the French past tense is a win in my book!

Frankie le Vampire – This short story is a little bit simpler. It has two versions – one in the present tense and one in the past tense. Frankie isn’t a very good vampire because he’s afraid of the dark. But he’s hungry! Your students will enjoy reading about his attempts to get dinner without having to go out at night.

Sous Paris – This non-fiction reading is about the things under Paris. Learn about the catacombs, the sewer system and the people who enjoy exploring them. This one is a little more advanced, second year may be able to read it with assistance, but third year students could read it independently.

Halloween stickers – Just for fun, these digital stickers can be used anywhere you can share digital files. Put them on students’ digital assignments, send them via Teams, Google classroom or Canvas. It’s just one fun way to celebrate Halloween in your French class.

Halloween vocabulary digital game – This is a quick, no-prep digital game that will teach your students the French words for a variety of spooky items. Candy, monster, costumes, ghosts – it’s entirely self-grading and students will enjoy working through the path as they try to finish the game.

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