2 Free Halloween Writing Games

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Two more free printables for this spooky half term.

Halloween Book Quiz

A short Halloween themed book quiz for children aged 5-11. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper. The answers are upside-down at the end of the question sheet.

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Halloween Code Breaking

A favourite in our household. Simply print out both sheets and use the code to uncover the words.

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#BFCB #BooksForChildrenBlog

@lonerganbooks

If you like these check out my 10 Quick Writing Activities for Kids including another code breaking game.

If you missed lasts weeks blog click here 2 Free Halloween Reading Games.

2 Free Halloween Reading Games

pinterest-free-printable-halloween-games

It’s not much longer until Halloween so I’ve designed some simple free printable reading games to enjoy this year. These are better printed on card or laminated so they can be used again and again.

Halloween Reading Bingo Game

Always a popular classic. This one is suitable for up to four players or teams. There are forty eight different Halloween themed words and each player has twelve words to match up.

(Please note due to the size of the Bingo cards these may need to be copied and pasted onto a Word document for printing).

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Here are the word counters to cut out and mix up in a bag or envelope and call out one by one. If laminating these, it’s better to cut out the counters first and place individually onto the laminating pouch.

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Halloween Word Match Game

If you like the game Dobble, you might like this too! Instead of pictures I’ve used words in various fonts and only eight cards. This game always requires an even number of players but can be adapted for two, four or eight players.

For a two player game each player takes four cards and places them face down on the table. Each player then turns their top card over and tries to spot the matching word on each card. The person who calls out the correct word first wins both cards and this is repeated until one person has all the cards.

If you have four or eight players you can sit in a circle and split the cards between the number of players. The first two players compare their top cards and as before the winner takes the cards. This is repeated clockwise round the circle in pairs with the next player. A player is out whenever they don’t have anymore cards left and the person who gains all the cards is the winner.

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If you like this matching game I’ve added a link to the original Dobble game I mentioned as it makes a fantastic stocking filler.

Click here to buy Dobble Card Game

Don’t forget if you have time you could also try a speak aloud story challenge by picking one of the cards and using all the words on that card to create your own unique story.

Next week I have two free Halloween writing games.

#BFCB #BooksForChildrenBlog

@lonerganbooks

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Dangling in the Dark

Dangling in the Dark Title

A quick blog this week as it’s half term which means less time for writing and more time for occupying my two boys with anything from days out and walks in the woods to cooking cakes and getting messy with Halloween crafts. For any of you who have read my blogs before you may remember me saying I had no plans to write a story about Colin the zombie. Well Colin seems to have wandered into this simple little story activity I made up to have a giggle with my boys. Please print out and cut out the side panels to have a go too. Each page has a choice of funny options to complete the blanks in the story.

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Why not try and make up your own funny story or think up some other silly alternative endings.

Zombie Mania Infecting Children’s Picture Books!

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Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There’s no denying it, the zombie mania is still huge but are we ready to see them in children’s picture books? As with vampires and werewolves, it has been heavily debated as to whether zombies are based on fact or fiction so there’s a possibility we could be promoting a real scary character opposed to a fictional one. Zombies are not a new phenomenon by any means. In 1929 the book “The Magic Island” by William Seabrook was largely responsible for their manifestation into western culture where he delves into their link with the dark history of voodoo practices in Haiti. They since slowly cropped up in horror movies such as “White Zombie” directed by Victor Halperin in 1932 and DC Comics “Green Lantern” as the villain known as Solomon Grundy in 1944 but it wasn’t until George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” hit the big screens in 1968 that zombies became the mainstream flesh-eating living dead we know today (although Romero didn’t actually call them zombies it was the fans themselves). Zombie mania has since evolved and there are indeed a number of children’s books in the YA and 9-11 age range but are these really the type of characters we want to depict in young children’s picture books as being loveable?

I have to admit I am not a fan of zombies; I just don’t see the point of them. I think it’s their lack of function that gnaws at me. I like my scary characters to have a purpose and an agenda like a shape-shifting, terrorizing werewolf but zombies by their very nature don’t really do anything just wander around aimlessly in a semi-dead state. They’re laughable, not scary; they don’t do anything of interest, merely a very good job at irritating me! So much so I was mortified when the producers of the magnificent “Game of Thrones” introduced zombies to the plot. It was like someone had burst my imagination bubble by stretching the story just that little bit too far for it to remain believable to me. Although how I could quite happily accept dragons into the plot as a perfectly natural occurrence but not zombies, is beyond me! In fact come to think of it, we’ve all seen plenty of children’s picture books about dragons and we also have Winnie the Witch (author Valerie Thomas; illustrator Korky Paul) and Mona the Vampire (authors Sonia Holleyman & Hiawyn Oram) for example so why not have Colin the Zombie! In comparison to a manipulative spell casting witch or controlling blood sucking vampire, a zombie could probably be considered a more harmless character for a children’s picture book (aside from their human devouring antics of course!). Obviously Winnie and Mona are perfect examples of how to make the character more “friendly” for the purpose and both have been executed in very clever ways. Yet how has this transition from a terrifying, monstrous character into an adorable, lovable one become acceptable? This cuddly version suggests they could possibly even make a good friend for your child yet there’s no escaping they still represent that violent, terrifying monster guaranteed to give any young child nightmares, particularly if the tales of Haiti are anything to go by they may possibly be in danger of being turned into one! These characters are heading a long way from Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit!

The truth is that attitudes have changed significantly since Beatrix Potter’s time. Our children today are probably more familiar with Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids than Peter Rabbit! If a zombie picture book was done in the right way I see no reason why it couldn’t be considered amusing and maybe even serve to keep any potential nightmares at bay. So of course it’s acceptable nowadays. After all it would be like banning Halloween if it wasn’t!

I don’t currently have any intentions of writing a picture book about zombies but who knows maybe gormless Colin could be a future big hit! In the meantime I found a couple of light-hearted Zombie picture books already on the market for any little zombie fans out there and a chilling article on the history of zombies for any brave adults.

Would you buy a zombie picture book?

Zombie-Kids by Julia Dweck (author) & Mark Draisey (illustrator).

Zombie in Love by Kelly S. Dipucchio (author) & Scott Campbell (illustrator).

Reaping Grimly: How to Make the Traditional Zombie by Ellis Nelson

10 (not so) Scary Picture Books for Halloween

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Main image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You could say I do a lot of research in my field……..and guess who benefits? Yes my children! Oh and of course I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get any enjoyment out of it too! So I chose 10 Halloween related picture books for 4 to 7 year olds, some new, some old. They are not listed in any particular order but they have been given two scores out of 10 as I asked my children to rate them from 1 to 10; 10 being the absolute best and 1 being  rubbish. In each case the first rating is from my older child. I’ve made some comments myself but the general opinion from my boys were that the books were not scary enough!


Spooky Spooky House Andrew Weale (author) & Lee Wildish (illustrator). Publisher: Picture Corgi (1 Sept 2011). RATED: 3/10; 10/10

Most children will love this one for the flaps alone and I generally found this kept them engaged.

CLICK TO BUY The Spooky Spooky House

Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin Valerie Thomas (author) & Korky Paul (illustrator). Publisher: OUP Oxford (4 Mar 2010). RATED: 10/10; 7/10

This is Winnie at her best, as a witch in the modern world. This book is packed with colourful illustrations and original amusing scenes.

CLICK TO BUY Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin


  The Friendly Monster Guy Didilez (author) & Ruby Kersten (illustrator). Publisher: Myriad (2006). RATED: 10/10; 10/10

A sweet story and a great way to get children to laugh at their night monsters instead of being scared.

CLICK TO BUY  The friendly monster


Ten Timid Ghosts – Jennifer O’Connell (writer & illustrator). Publisher: Scholastic US (Aug 2000). RATED: 10/10; 6/10

A counting book with an amusing rhyming story.

CLICK TO BUY Ten Timid Ghosts


The Night Before Halloween Natasha Wing (author) & Cynthia Fisher (illustrator). Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (1st ed. Aug 1999). RATED: 4/10; 5/10

Very easy to read rhyme, but the story is not that memorable.

CLICK TO BUY The Night Before Halloween


The Best Halloween Hunt Ever John Speirs (author & illustrator). Publisher: Scholastic US (Aug 2000). RATED: 9/10; 8/10

This is an alternative option to a story book as it is an activity book to hunt for all things Halloween. A fun way to make word recognition memorable.

CLICK TO BUY The Best Halloween Hunt Ever (Read with Me Cartwheel Books (Scholastic Paperback))

Spookyrumpus – Tony Mitton (author) & Guy Parker-Rees (illustrator). Publisher: Orchard Books (25 Aug 2005). RATED: 8/10; 9/10

From the author of the Tough Trucks and Super Submarines series etc. Spookyrumpus has great rhythm making it a fun and easy read.

CLICK TO BUY Spookyrumpus

Spider Sandwiches Clare Freedman (author) & Sue Hendra (illustrator). Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s (24 Oct 2013). RATED: 1/10; 0/10

This one amused me as I often make up strange food names when my boys ask me what’s for dinner. This might be why it wasn’t so popular with my boys despite them loving the illustrations and it provoking a variety of vocal reactions like YUK from them!

CLICK TO BUY Spider Sandwiches


The Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson (author) & Axel Scheffler (illustrator). Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (reprint ed. 20 Sept 2002). RATED: 10/10; 10/10

No list would be complete without at least one acknowledgement to Julia Donaldson in my eyes and it looks like my boys agree. Full of her wonderful memorable rhymes and the haunting repetition children love and remain in your head long after you’ve read the book.

CLICK TO BUY Room on the Broom

 

Wolves – Emily Gravett (author & illustrator). Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (reprint ed. 18 May 2006). RATED: 10/10; 10/10

A fun light-hearted take on a classic hungry wolf tale.

CLICK TO BUY Wolves by Emily Gravett (Aug 1 2006)

 

So these are the ones tried and tested by us. Which Halloween picture books are your favourites?

Where obtained: public or personal library.

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk