Monday, October 28, 2019

Halloween movement ideas, a dance story, and a short Halloween story!

Hello and Happy Fall,

Here is a playful movement lesson plan based on the classic picture book Barn Dance! by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, along with a Halloween-based warm-up and a very short original story!

Halloween Warm Up and the
Barn Dance! Dance Story


The children will make up movements for the Halloween characters below. Ask them to stand in a circle. Begin with "Bat,"  ask the children to move away from the circle like a bat, and then back to their spots in the circle. Continue this same exercise through the list:

Rolling Pumpkin
Black Cat
Falling Leaf
Outer Space Alien
Take suggestions from the children for more ideas, and continue this activity as long as the children are engaged.


*A special thank-you to Kathleen Smith, fellow creative dance teacher, who introduced the ideas for this lesson plan to me.*


  • The book Barn Dance! by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  • Lively musical selections, such as a classical piece, and blue grass instrumentals
  • Optional props (1 per child): 
    • Sparkly/swirly streamers (crepe paper or fabric)
    • Bandannas
    • Orange paper plates

Instructions for presenting the dance story:

Read the book aloud to the children. Ask the children to spread out in the space.

Retell the story through movement, using the following movement prompts. Allow the children to explore each one until you move on to the next one.

It is a very quiet, clear night. Lie down and listen to the night sounds. Now wake up, stretch, tiptoe to the window, and sneak outside.  (Note:  remind the children this is a pretend story, and they should never sneak out of the house!)

Now let's dance about the night: the sparkly stars, the floating clouds, and the wind!  (play classical music selection, and pass out swirly streamers if you have them)

Listen!  The scarecrow is calling all of the animals with his music. How does a scarecrow move? Let’s move like the scarecrow. Can you play a pretend fiddle, like the scarecrow?

Now move like the animals who were following the scarecrow to the barnThere were horses, sheep, cows, pigs, raccoons, foxes, rabbits, chickens, skunks, and crows!  (play a bluegrass piece)  

Help the children put on bandannas, give everyone a "pumpkin" paper plate, and instruct the children to go to a corner of the room to hide (like the little boy in the story), asking the children to cover their faces with their paper plates. One by one, call the children's names. When you call a name, instruct the child to put her "pumpkin" down, run and jump over the apple barrel, and go back to her hiding place.  

Now ask them to all come out together and spin around like the pigs (play another bluegrass piece). Finish this section by asking each child to make a shape like a dizzy pig, and turn off the music.

Now grab a pretend apple!  It's time to go home! Do you hear the rooster crowing? That means the sun is coming up.

Walk quietly up the stairs, and sit on your bed. Take a bite out of your "apple." Was it a dream, or did the barn dance really happen?

And now, for a short (97 words!) Halloweensie story:



Oh my deary, time to get ready.
What shall I wear to the Hallow’s Eve Ball?

My crookedy hat,
my raggedy gown, 
my tappity boots
for my clackity dance. 

My face will be painted a ghastly green,
with lumpity warts on full display. 

My scraggledy “do” I’ll primp and prime, 
with cobwebs twisted and tangled and tied.

And what shall I bring?
My cleverest spells, 
my gnarliest broom,
my trickedy, terrible, powerful wand.

The finishing touch:
My stinkedy, horrible potion perfume.
A little dab here, a little glop there, 

and I’ll be the smelliest of them all!


  1. A fun Halloweensie story! I love the idea of potion perfume, although I can only imagine the stinkedy smell!

  2. I love the fun words you used in your story! Great job!

  3. Enjoyed the smelliest of all. Good luck.

  4. Love your story. Good luck for the contest.

  5. The twist of her being smelly is awesome! Good luck for the contest!

  6. Ewww--so funny! I love the idea of stinky, gloppy potion perfume! Good luck!

  7. Love, love your lyrical vocal. Good luck.

  8. So descriptive, and fun to read! Best of luck to you!


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