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Hope, courage, joy: What adults can learn from looking into the eyes of today’s children
Published by Julie Miley Schlegel, MD, FAAP on June 6, 2021
This weekend I sat in a steamy outdoor pavilion, chairs set up in sets of two, watching my youngest child and his classmates graduate from 5th grade. Someone played “Pomp and Circumstance” on a single cello as the 5th graders walked to their seats, wearing non-athleisure clothes for the first time in over a year. I shoved my own 5th grader’s feet into last year’s shoes-that-go-with-khaki-pants and borrowed socks from his dad’s drawer.
Ah, 5th grade: that delicate time between childhood and the tween years. Those years when your parents can’t shelter you anymore and you start to hear unimaginable things (eye-popping things) from your peers. It’s the year when you watch the puberty video at school, holding in nervous laughter, or letting nervous laughter fill the room.
Bodies show the slightest hints of the metamorphosis that’s right around the corner. Years ago, my daughter’s 5th grade teacher greeted the class on the first day of school with this line: “Welcome to 5th grade, the year that deodorant is no longer optional.”
Attitudes start to change, as well. For example, as we were walking to the graduation ceremony, my son asked if he could walk without us to the school, a request we denied. “It’s just that y’all are so embarrassing. Well, mainly mom.”
The eyes start to roll in 5th grade. There is huffing and stomping and thinking they know best. Boundaries are tested and limits are pushed.
At our elementary school, 5th grade is the oldest grade. Many or most of the kids have been with each other since kindergarten. It is a public neighborhood school and part of the Houston Independent School District, the largest in Texas, located in the most diverse city in America. That diversity has brought richness to my kids’ lives in ways I never could have imagined.
Because my youngest son just completed what was our 18th and final class at this beloved elementary school, I cried through the ceremony. But what really triggered me was a message from our wonderful principal, Melissa Patin.
She told the children she was proud of them. They completed the school year in the midst of a pandemic, wearing their masks without complaint, staying distanced without bucking the rules. She described that first day the children were welcomed back in person.
She could not see their smiles because of the masks, she said, but she was able to look into their eyes. And, she said, “I will never forget looking into your eyes and seeing hope, courage, and joy.”
I have seen that hope, courage, and joy in my own patients’ eyes this year. The world we once knew has changed. Most of us made it through, but almost 600,000 people in the United States did not. After the hellacious year it’s been, I was able to watch the future march across that stage. They are proud that they handled the challenge of this year, and appear ready to take on any problems that await them in the years to come.
As our masks start to come off and we can see each other’s faces again, let’s not forget the value of looking into each other’s eyes. Let’s not forget the hardship through which we slogged, from which we learned. Let’s not lose the resilience and flexibility we taught our children, or they taught us.
Watching those kids graduate today, I realized that, in a lot of ways, the kids handled the adversity of this year better than some adults did. I saw some of our country’s future today, and the future looks bright. Even if they are giggling through puberty videos.
I take comfort in the fact that, while I only witnessed these children graduate, there are 5th graders all over the country who are ready to face tomorrow. There are teachers and parents and school administrators that made the year happen, and for that I am grateful. I, like Mrs. Patin, look into the eyes of children and find hope, courage, and joy. And because of them, I myself feel the same: hopeful, courageous, and joyful.
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Minds in Bloom
By Rachel Lynette
20 Halloween Writing Prompts!
It’s that spooky time of year again! Get your kids writing (or discussing) with these creative Halloween writing prompts.
Grab these FREE writing prompts in print and digital! Plus use the prompt randomizer to choose a prompt for you!
Watch the video to see how the randomizer works!
20 Writing Prompts to Choose From
- What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you? Why was it so scary?
- Pretend the mayor of your town wants to outlaw Halloween. Write a letter to convince him that this is not a good idea.
- What was the best Halloween costume you have ever had? What made it so special?
- Pretend you are in charge of your class Halloween party. Make a plan for what you will do. What games will you play? What food will you eat?
- If you could only do one, would you rather go to a Halloween party or go trick-or-treating? Why?
- Do you like reading scary books or going to scary movies? Why or why not?
- Write a Halloween acrostic poem using one of these words: Halloween, Monster, Ghost, Vampire, Zombie.
- Onomatopoeias are words that sound like what they mean, such as “crackle,” “squish” and “plop.” Write a Halloween story using as many onomatopoeias as you can.
- Explain Halloween to someone from another country where Halloween is not celebrated.
- Create a list of safety rules for Trick-or-Treating.
You may also like this ESCAPE ROOM activity!
- What is something that used to scare you but no longer does? Why was it so scary?
- Write a story about visiting a haunted house.
- Which Halloween monster (ghost, vampire, werewolf, zombie, mummy, etc.) do you think is the scariest? Why?
- Pretend you are going to interview a vampire. Write ten questions you would ask him or her. Bonus: Pretend you are the vampire and answer the questions.
- The Scream is a series of paintings by Evard Munch. Write your impressions of The Scream . How does it make you feel? What do you think the artist was trying to express?
- Some schools have replaced Halloween with a Harvest Festival. Do you think this is a good or a bad idea? Why?
- You and your friends have created a haunted house. Make a flyer to tell people about it and convince them to come and visit.
- Would you spend a night in a graveyard for $100? Why or why not?
- Personification means giving human traits, such as feelings and thoughts, to objects. Personify a Jack-O-Lantern. Write a story from a Jack-O-Lantern’s point of view.
- Finish this sentence: This Halloween, I hope…
Grab a FREE Digital and Print version of these 20 Halloween Writing Prompts!
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October 28, 2018 at 1:07 pm
These are very great prompts and my students loved them. Thank you so much
May 17, 2020 at 9:40 am
do some more halloween writing prompt or more holiday
October 11, 2020 at 7:31 am
Hi there!! Love the activity. Trying to post on seesaw. When I clicked on the link in my email it is not downloading. I can’t find it in my folders either. Any help you can give me is greatly appreciated.
The music is awesome too!!!!
October 18, 2020 at 4:22 pm
Hi 🙂 I’m sorry I’m just getting this, but if you want to email me at cassi@minds-in-bloom, I can send you the link. Usually it just opens up in a new tab within your browser. 🙂
August 13, 2023 at 9:17 am
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7 Quick Halloween Creative Writing Prompts
The teachhub team.
- October 23, 2016
Halloween is a favorite among students of all ages. Whether you want to take a few minutes to have students “quick-write” or spend 20-30 minutes writing in-depth responses, these easy-to-use writing prompts will encourage your students to be creative. While all of the writing prompts are easy to incorporate independently, some can be used in collaboration with a story or novel that you are reading in class.
Halloween Writing Prompts
- If you could create your very own monster, what would it look like? What would it be called? What types of things would it do to scare people? Where does the monster live? Tell me everything there is to know about your monster. If you want, draw a picture of the monster.
- Do you love trick-or-treating? Dressing up in costumes? Haunted houses? Costume parties? Halloween games? Halloween decorations? Scary movies? Write a poem about your favorite part of Halloween, sharing why it is special to you.
- Write a story about a kid who goes trick-or-treating. Start from the minute he or she puts on his or her costume and finish when he or she gets home and puts on normal clothes again. Tell me everything that happens.
- If we had a Halloween party in class, what would you want to see? Should we decorate the classroom? How would we do that? What types of food and activities would we have? What costumes would you want to see?
- What was the best Halloween you ever had? What made it great? What would make this Halloween even better than that?
- Write a spooky story to tell around the campfire. Remember, you want to build suspense using onomatopoeia and alliteration. Don’t forget to have a big finale to frighten everyone who is listening.
- If you could design a haunted house, what would you name it? What types of rooms would you have? Describe, in detail, three of the best rooms in your haunted house.
Have fun with these Halloween-themed writing prompts. Your students definitely will!
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3 Easy Halloween Writing Activities for Upper Elementary
Haunted Haiku Writing Fall themed alternative: Harvest Haiku
How to carve a pumpkin writing fall themed alternative: how to enjoy fall, persuasive writing teacher halloween costume fall themed alternative: book character day , you might be interested in reading:, looking for more high-interest halloween and fall activities for your classroom like these print and digital differentiated halloween math games click here ..
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- Halloween Activities for Any Content Area
- Speak, Listen, Draw Halloween Communication Activity
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Halloween Writing Prompts and Activities for 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade
Need some low prep Halloween writing activities, prompts, and ideas for your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade classroom?
Halloween covers a variety of topics - from bats, to jack-o-lanterns, to monsters, to spooky stories, to candy, and more. No matter what your upper elementary students need, one of the 9 Halloween writing prompt ideas below is bound to work for your classroom.
9 Halloween Writing Prompt Ideas
1. halloween from the point of view of a jack-o'-lantern.
It's always fun to have students practice point of view through writing!
Have students write a narrative that considers what a jack-o'-lantern might be experience on Halloween. Have students think about:
- What unusual things the jack-o'-lantern might see, smell and hear?
- How might a jack-0'lantern describe humans?
- What might a jack-o'lantern think about Halloween?
Let your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students' creative juices flow!
2. A No Prep Monster Descriptive Activity
This Halloween writing activity is always a favorite!
Have students secretly draw a picture of a monster and write a matching description. Then, display all of the monster drawings while students read their descriptions to the class. If students have included plenty of details in their writing, then the class should be able to figure out which monster is theirs!
For a no prep, scaffolded version that walks students through the entire writing process, check out this Monster Descriptive Activity Resource.
Stick with the theme with these other fun monster reading and writing activities.
3. Candy Corn Opinion Writing
4. Write a Halloween Squiggle Story
If you haven't ever tried squiggle stories with your upper elementary students, Halloween is a great time to try.
To write a squiggle story, give students a sheet of paper with a random squiggle on it. Have them create a Halloween drawing that incorporates that squiggle. Then, they write a short story based on their drawing.
This no prep resource includes plenty of squiggles and "prompts" to help direct students writing. And best of all, it can be used all year, not just for Halloween.
5. Make an Edible Spider How - To Writing
Food makes everything more fun! As a class, make an edible spider together. Then, have students write a how to paper that gives instructions on how to make that spider.
This edible spider is made chocolate donuts and pretzels, while this one uses Oreos and licorice.
This is a fun option for schools or students that do not celebrate holidays or Halloween.
6. Use These Free October Themed Writing Prompts
This Halloween freebie includes 24 October themed questions that can be used as team building discussion questions or as writing prompts.
While not all of the questions are directly related to Halloween, they are related to October themes. Some of these questions make good alternatives for students or classrooms that do not celebrate holidays.
7. Compare and Contrast Hallowen and Dia de los Muertos
Instead of focusing on Halloween, spend a little class time on Día de los Muertos. You could read a book like Pablo Remembers the Fiesta of the Day of the Dead or teach a more comprehensive lesson like this one.
Once students have been introduced to Día de los Muertos, they can compare and contrast the two holidays. Using paragraphs frames to help scaffold compare and contrast writing like this can be very helpful.
8. Write a Halloween Poem
Sometimes the idea of writing poetry can feel overwhelming. But Halloween can make for fun inspiration.
You could keep it simple, and have students write a short couplet - 2 lines that rhyme.
This is also a great opportunity to have students write a Halloween haiku. Writing haiku will require students to have a basic understanding of haiku. (This no prep haiku resource can help with that.) Since haiku are short and structured, however, even your more hesitant writers will be eager to write.
Dana Kessler, a 2nd-5th grade teacher, has her students use scary paintings as inspiration for their poetry. You could use paintings like The Scream or The Abbey in the Oakwood.
Check out these examples of haiku that you can include in your poetry lessons.
9. A Fun Halloween Writing Prompt
Looking for more ideas? Check out these Halloween freebies for reading, math, and just for fun!
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15 Haunted Halloween Writing Prompts
by Abigail Perry and Ruthanne Reid | 10 comments
BOO! Halloween is right around the corner—what better day to write some spooky stories? Sharpen your pencil and take a stab at one of these Halloween writing prompts !
Scary Stories Connect With Readers in Big Ways
Writers write to get a reaction out of their readers. No matter the genre, you want your reader to feel something when they read your writing.
For horror writers, that feeling is fear. But it's also so much more than that.
Great horror stories take the everyday creepy and turn it into something even more creepy (and often become a condemnation of injustices in society). The great thing is, horror stories teach you that those creepy things can be beaten. That's what keeps bringing the readers back.
And that's why horror writers keep churning out the fear.
Maybe you love writing scary stories. Maybe you don't, but this is something you'd like to take a whack at, just for practice (we're fans of that around here!).
Just like reading outside your genre is valuable to mastering the writing craft, so is writing a scary story .
This story doesn't have to be long, it could be a short story . Try for something you can write in one sitting, like 1,500 words.
To get you started, use one of the Halloween writing prompts suggested in this article. Then let loose, and have fun!
Creepy Story Writing Prompts
1. It's late at night, and you hear footsteps in the cellar but you're definitely home alone…or so you thought.
2. You've put that doll in the cabinet, in the closet, in the attic, but no matter where you tuck it, it always shows back up on the sofa. On Halloween night, you find it watching you…
3. A bad-tempered businessman is driving home after a long day of work. He thinks he sees his kids trick-or-treating and stops to pick them up but those aren't costumes.
4. It's Halloween night and you and your friends think it would be fun to visit the local town's annual corn maze. But when you're inside it, someone inside the maze doesn't look like an actor in a costume. And shortly after, your friends start to disappear one by one.
5. You don't believe in the rumors that say a certain scary book is cursed—and that anyone who reads it will meet their maker by the end of the week. So naturally, you read it. And then things start going wrong…
Monster/Ghost Story Writing Prompts
6. A young woman goes to her grandmother's house for tea on Halloween night. They have a wonderful time together, sharing stories, joy, and the best times of family. The next day, the woman learns her grandmother has been dead for a week and no one could get ahold of her to tell her.
7. A little boy is lost in the woods, but at least his faithful dog is with him. As they look for the way out, the dog defends his master against terrifying monsters and animals. But the closer they get to the escaping the dark forest, the more apparent it is that they'll need to face the person, or thing, releasing these monsters in the first place.
8. A farmer who dreams of being a scientist experiments on this year's pumpkins, hoping to enlarge them. He has a lot of success, until one of his potions is tampered with, and the cute pumpkin in his patch morphs into a monster that eats anyone who stumbles over its vines.
9. Your girlfriend/boyfriend brings over your favorite treat on Halloween, but when you eat it, you transform into a giant, poisonous snake that kills anyone who touches you. What do you do next?
10. You wake up on Halloween night, look outside your window, and see your sister sleep walking away from the house. You chase after her but can't catch her until she plunges into a dark lake, where there's a mysterious song that starts to pull you deep below the surface.
Not-So-Spooky Story Writing Prompts
Not all people love scary stories. If this is you but you'd like to try to write a scary story—and have a fun time writing it—try tackling a (not-so) scary story prompt that could turn a potentially scary tale into something that is fun (even funny):
11. You hate clowns, which makes it even worse when your husband secretly decides to hire a clown for you son's birthday party—which just happens to be on Halloween.
12. Aliens have just landed on Earth and boy, did they pick a weird day to come. How do they respond to Halloween, supernatural or otherwise? Do they decide this place is just too bizarre and get the heck out, or do they stick around and join in the fun?
13. On Halloween night, lovers get to come back and spend the evening together one more time. One couple from the Roaring Twenties decides to come back from the grave to help their extreme nerd great-grandchild or the kid will never get married.
14. You decide that this year you're going to crash the ten top costume parties in town—and prank each one while you're at it.
15. A mad scientist determined to destroy the world falls hopelessly in love with a not-so-wicked witch. As hard as he tries, he can't impress her.
Write Your Spooky Stories
Writing a scary story can be a fun exercise to give your students (regardless of age, elementary students to college graduates) around this time of year. It also can stir some exciting writing ideas in any writer, whether or not they're part of an entire class or their personal writing group.
As mentioned above, writing scary stories can also push you to better your creative writing skills, even if it's not normally in your genre lane. Bestselling author Neil Gaiman has some great insight about why this is true:
Fairy tales are more than true: Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
You don't have to love horror stories to write one, but you will learn about protagonists who face trialing, often life or death, situations when writing them. Challenge students or writers to become better at their writing craft by pushing them to write a short scary story with one of the writing prompts in this article.
Sit down with your favorite candy or flavor of candy corn and get ready to write. Pluck it from the list, and let your imagination free!
What is your favorite Halloween writing prompt from this list? Why did it stand out to you? Let us know in the comments .
Abigail Perry is a Certified Story Grid Editor with professional teaching, literary agency, and film production experience. In addition to writing Story Grid masterwork guides, she works as a freelance editor and is the Content Editor for The Write Practice. Abigail loves stories that put women and diverse groups at the center of the story—and others that include superpowers and magic. Her favorite genres include: Smart Book Club Fiction, Women's Fiction, YA Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and unique memoirs. She also has a B.S. in TV, Radio, and Film and loves working on screenplays that are emotionally driven and/or full of action. You can learn more about Abigail on her website.
Best-Selling author Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and was keynote speaker for The Write Practice 2021 Spring Retreat.
Author of two series with five books and fifty short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom, using up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon.
When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away.
P.S. Red is still her favorite color.
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Halloween Persuasive Essay Writing Prompt & Planning Pages Grades 3-5
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Provide your students with a persuasive writing prompt that they can get excited about! Over the years, different groups have discussed the idea of celebrating Halloween on the last Saturday in October rather than the 31st. Your students will become invested in this idea when they discuss and think about the advantages of having an entire day to celebrate while not having to worry about getting up for school the next day. These No-Prep Printable pages have been created to guide your students through the process of planning and write a multi-paragraph response encouraging others to consider the idea of moving Halloween to the last Saturday in October.
Students often struggle with the process of developing a plan to organize their writing. This often leads to responses that are not well written and may not address the prompt. Using these pages, you can introduce, model, or guide your students through the process of developing a plan using two column notes.
This resource includes:
Differentiated Writing Prompts:
√ One Paragraph Response
√ Three Paragraph Response
√ Four Paragraph Response
√ Five Paragraph Response
- Planning Pages
- Student Response Writing Pages
- Teacher Directions
- Sample Answer Pages
Different options for use:
- Whole Group Instruction
- Small Group Guided Instruction
- Partner/Independent Work
Thank you for purchasing this product! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Purchasing this product grants permission for use by one teacher in his or her own classroom. If you intend to share with others, please purchase an additional license.
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Posted by Emilia Weber on Oct 20th 2019
Love it, so creative.
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Last updated on March 13, 2020 by Jamie Sears
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November 8, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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