Halloween reading activities give your middle and high school students the chance to work on English and Reading skills in a fun and engaging way. They can also introduce students to literary genres with which they may not already be familiar.
The following free Halloween reading activities — including Halloween worksheets, composing two-sentence horror stories, and even creating/describing haunted houses — are sure to impress even the most reluctant ELA learners. We’ve also included a short excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Oval Portrait along with original Piqosity quiz questions to answer after reading!
An all-new 2022 version of this article, complete with embedded Piqosity original quizzes, is available for your use!
Halloween Reading Activities for Middle Schoolers
1. Halloween Sentence Starters & Word Search
This printable Halloween worksheet pack comes with two different activities: a Halloween word search and a sentence starting activity.
In the included writing prompts, students are tasked with creating scary stories using the beginning of a sentence from a well-known literary work. While the worksheet gives examples to choose from, you could also challenge your students to use a line from one of their favorite books. The only stipulations are that it has to be a scary story and they have to use their chosen sentence as the first sentence in their work!
Using this word search at the start of class is a great way to get the wheels turning inside a student’s head. Not only that, but word searches also help reinforce different concepts like context clues, vocabulary, and spelling.
Created and made available for free download by EB Academics by Caitlin & Jessica.
2. Create/Describe Your Own Haunted House
One of the most important aspects of storytelling is the proper use of mood and tone. In this activity, students use these concepts to create descriptive representations of a haunted house. Before starting the activity, show your students the video and non-fiction article provided in the lesson. These will help your students visualize and get inspired.
Afterwards, you can let your students get to work creating their own spooky masterpiece. In the individual activity, the student is tasked with illustrating the interior and exterior of their haunted house. Then, they have to answer three questions about their house involving adjectives and tone, setting the mood, and describing a setting. Add an extra component to this activity by having your students swap haunted houses and write a story about the house they “visited.”
Created and made available for free download by Rebecca Bird.
Halloween Reading Activities for High Schoolers
1. Two-Sentence Horror Stories
Storytelling has been an integral part of human culture since the beginning of time, and Halloween presents the perfect opportunity to fine-tune these skills in your classroom. If you have students who struggle with details or who tend to rush through their work, this Halloween English activity is good for slowing down and thinking creatively. In this activity, students are tasked with thinking up spooky stories, but there’s a twist: they can only use two sentences.
The main goal in this type of writing is to achieve the highest amount of terror and intrigue you can without giving the ending away. Before getting started on this activity, it may be helpful to provide examples so you can keep your students on the right track. The creator of this lesson includes links to a variety of examples to read from. With such close attention being paid to each sentence, this is a perfect opportunity for a Halloween grammar lesson or vocabulary lesson.
Created and made available for free download by It’s Lit Teaching.
Halloween Reading Comprehension Questions by Piqosity
Edgar Allen Poe’s eerie and mysterious writing is a staple of American horror and mystery fiction, which is why reading his work is a perfect way to celebrate Halloween! The passage below is an excerpt from one of his most succinct short stories, a frightening tale about a painting.
Piqosity’s own Sara Fetahagic has written the three comprehension questions following the passage to quiz you on your ELA skills. Each question is a bit more difficult than the previous one!
Halloween Reading Passage: Excerpt From The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe
Reading Comprehension Questions
1. Why does the painter’s wife despise his art?
A. She believes his paintings are grotesque and displeasing.
B. She views art as her rival for her husband’s attention.
C. She resents his art because she wishes she could paint as well as he can.
D. She thinks art is useless and unprofitable.
2. In line 67, the word “pallid” most nearly means
3. This passage contains all of the following rhetorical devices EXCEPT
Passage Answer Key and Explanations
Lines 29-30 describe the wife as, “hating only the Art which was her rival.” Lines 25-26 characterizes the artist and his Art as, “He…having already a bride in his Art.” Therefore, “she views art as her rival for her husband’s attention.”
The correct answer is “pale.” The sentence is describing the artist’s horror at what he has created and how he has grown pallid. “Puny”, “proud”, and “poor” do not describe how someone might change as they are frightened. A terrified person is often described as growing “pale.”
The correct answer is “anaphora.” “Pallid, and aghast, and crying with a loud..” (lines 67-68) is an example of assonance. “From hour to hour” and “from day to day” (lines 39-40) is an example of parallelism. “Mighty marvel” (line 51) is an example of alliteration. There is no example of “anaphora”, the repetition of words at the beginning of a clause or sentence, in the passage.
Find More ELA Resources at Piqosity!
We hope you didn’t find these Halloween reading activities too spooky or frightful. After all, reading and comprehension skills are perhaps one of the most important academic skills to have! If you enjoyed these Halloween reading activities, be sure to check out our free Halloween math activities, too!
You can find more (non-Halloween-themed) ELA lessons with questions of similar difficulty levels in our ELA Courses! These are complete courses available online through our app and can be purchased separately or received for free when bundled with our ISEE test prep courses!
For your convenience, we have outlined lessons relevant to or at the same difficulty level as the above passage. These can be found below.
Related ELA Lessons by Piqosity
Lessons related to question #1:
Lessons related to question #2:
- ELA 5 – Word Meanings & Word Choice
- ELA 8 – Word Meanings & Word Choice
- ELA 11 – Word Meaning & Word Choice
Lesson related to question #3:
Thank You, and Happy Halloween from Piqosity!
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