Primary choreography activities for Halloween


Halloween is an entertaining and creative celebration for children and adults around the world.  Even though it can be gruesome and scary, in the Primary dance classroom it is a time for fun dance games and choreographic activities.

Halloween choreographic activities

This can be a great opportunity to explore ideas that the children may otherwise not consider.  Don’t feel constrained by the stereotypical Halloween themes.  Be led by the children’s ideas, what they are interested in and not necessarily the highly commercialized notions of this celebration day.

Halloween is a chance for children to explore unusual, awkward, and angular movements.

Thrill the World

Thrill the World is a world-wide dance initiative that encourages children (and adults) to break down barriers, connecting people of all religions, races, and backgrounds.  Dance is the common thread as well as the incredibly spooky Thriller Dance.

You’ll find the step-by-step instructions easy to follow and fun to teach.  The choreography covers the whole music track not just the sections shown on the music video.

Consequently, this makes it perfect for a dance performance piece that you can adapt to suit your class.  Experiment with different floor patterns, groupings, timings, and choreographic devises.

The dance can become a wonderful vehicle for teaching about the Elements of Dance and choreographic devise.  For example, you may like to divide the class into small groups and give them a section of the dance to adapt using Dance Element and Choreographic task cards.

Ghosts by Michael Jackson 

Older children may enjoy choreographing their own music video masterpiece. The song Ghosts can be a good stimulus for movement however you may like to provide your own additional stimulus.

This could be anything that will spark children’s creativity from props like floating bits of fabric through to a bucket of slime.  Try to have class discussion about the stimulus before they begin their choreographic work in small groups, pairs or individually.

The film of the making of the Ghosts music video is useful for teaching about the processes involved in this kind of creative project.  Have the children list the different ‘dance jobs’ of the people included in the video.  Dance is more than just dancers and choreographers!

Halloween dance choreographic activities

What’s in the box?

The idea of a ‘Talking Tub’ is not new but it is another way to include a spooky element into your Halloween choreographic activities.  It’s a way of opening lines of inquiry and is a thoughtful provocation for dance exploration.

Prepare a box covered in questions marks and filled with the kinds of objects you would like the students to explore.  This can be Halloween themed of course but consider natural objects that could be the initial stimulus for ideas and movements that are a little bit out of the ordinary.

A picture of an old, gnarled tree, a piece bone, a crackly dried leaf, a child’s wooden toy and a small pile of sand can be much more stimulating than mass produced plastic Halloween toys.

Start by arousing the class’s curiosity about what’s in the box before you take the lid off.

What’s in here?

What’s the box about?

Think about having an object in there that has an odour.  In the past, I have included a piece of partly burned wood, scented candles, or a perfume scented handkerchief.  Children love to guess the smell and imagine why the box might have that aroma!

When you open the box, try to elicit anecdotal stories from the children.  Sometime a quick story from the teacher can start the ball rolling.  You can use this to keep the children on track while still respecting the child’s right to be heard.

If you are doing this over several lessons leading up to Halloween, you may like to change the content of the box.  I have found that removing an item and replacing it with something else, before the next lesson, can keep the ‘mystery’ element alive.

Halloween fun

Halloween Fun

Above all, these choreographic activities need to contain elements of spontaneity and mystery.  It is an opportunity to arouse children’s creative curiosity.

Any Halloween dance activities can be transferred to the outdoors or dance spaces that are out of the ordinary. These different spaces often stimulate children to further explore different ideas, narratives, and movement.

If you’re looking for other dance ideas for Halloween have a look at these activities for Upper Primary.

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