Even the most reluctant beginning writers love to experiment with the "cliffhanger," and Halloween provides the perfect excuse to put pen to paper. The thought that you can "tease" your readers (without getting in trouble for it!) gets most kids excited about writing. These stories can be mysterious, creepy, or suspensful, but one thing is certain-- your second grader's enthusiasm for writing will be anything but scary!
On one sheet of paper, brainstorm “Halloween Words”, such as gloomy, creepy, black cat, goblin, ghost, eerie, dark. Retell some of your favorite ghost stories, too. This will get your child excited about the activity.
Explain the meaning of a “cliffhanger”. Talk about movies or books your child has read in which the ending was left off and he was stuck wondering what happened next. Explain that he will write his own cliffhanger using his list of Halloween words to help form ideas. Just as his story reaches the most exciting moment, he should stop writing.
Motivate your child to complete the activity by telling him you will be writing a cliffhanger, too. When you are both finished with your stories, you will finish each other’s cliffhangers.
Find a cozy spot for each of you to write your cliffhanger. Exchange stories and praise your child for his creativity and hard work. Once you finish the endings, read the stories together.
Finally, gather the whole family, turn off the lights and shine a flashlight on the reader. Play some creepy background music while you and your child take turns reading your cliffhangers. Not only will you set the scene for a spooky Halloween, you’ll provide a positive and memorable writing experience for your child!
Brigid Del Carmen has a Master's Degree in Special Education with endorsements in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders/Emotional Impairments. Over the past eight years, she has taught Language Arts, Reading and Math in her middle school special education classroom.