It’s October, so…What’s in the news?


Newspapers provide parents and teachers with seasonal content. Look for signs of Fall in different NC newspapers. Take a tour of NC through its newspapers’ websites found here: Focus on your local newspaper. What do you find in your local newspaper about the Fall season?  How does living in a specific region (Coastal, Piedmont or Mountain) affect the words and images in your newspaper? How does Fall differ region to region? Working collaboratively, find one or more of the following:

  1. Weather maps and information that alert astute readers to changes in temperature and weather conditions
  2. Activities that take place in the fall, such as local and state fairs and markets that sell products harvested in the Fall
  3. Photos that show falling or fallen leaves (or other changes in natural world)
  4. Stories about trips that people take during the fall, such as drives on scenic routes to view changing colors
  5. Stories about fall sports, such as high school football and soccer games
  6. Words associated with “moods” of the season

  Discuss: Autumn is another name for the Fall season. What do the names of the season, “Autumn” and “Fall” connote?   POETRY Read the poem, “To Autumn,” written by romantic poet, John Keats. Discuss what the poet refers to and how and why Keats writes about Autumn. How is your Autumn, today’s Autumn, similar to and different from Keats’ Autumn? How do your thoughts and feelings about Autumn compare with Keats’ thoughts and feelings? Use this VENN diagram to make a comparison: Word & PDF. Write poems about Autumn or Fall, using words and images from newspapers, and your own experiences (or create a collage before writing your poem). Move around words and images from the newspaper to create a “found” poem. To create a relevant “acrostic,” write AUTUMN or FALL, as shown below, and find and write words from newspapers about Autumn and/or Fall that include the letters:   A U                                                                     F T                                                                      A U                                                                     L M                                                                    L N HALLOWEEN Debates about celebrating Halloween can be tracked through current and archived newspapers. Search “backissues” or “archives” for stories in a newspaper’s e-edition that allow readers to identify different stories, letters, columns and ads about Halloween. Use the word “Halloween” or other words associated with Halloween as key words in the search. Look for arguments on both sides of each question listed below and once all evidence is gathered, write a conclusion. Be sure to use evidence pulled from what you read and other research. Use the GRAPHIC ORGANIZER to outline reasons for answering “yes” and “no” to your chosen question: Word & PDF.

  1. Should schools allow students to attend school dressed in costumes?
  2. Should schools only forbid students to wear scary costumes?
  3. Should parents allow their children to collect treats by going door to door?
  4. Should households give candy as treats?
  5. Should parents take their children trick or treating only to homes of people whom they know?

Come up with other questions about Halloween debated in your community and in your area newspapers!   OTHER Halloween newspaper activities Newspaper in Education professionals have shared favorite Halloween activities through their network. Whether working with print and/ or digital editions of newspapers, the following “favorite” activities apply. ______________________________________________________________ Use words you find in newspapers to create your own “word search,“ crossword puzzle or other word game. Also, check the “Jumble” and other word games published in newspapers for ones that highlight this season and holidays that take place. “My Vocabulary” offers Halloween puzzles and games that encourage word study. Choose from what you find here: ______________________________________________________________ * Some Halloween costumes are popular year after year. But some Halloween costumes are inspired by celebrities, leaders or events. Look through the news and feature sections of the newspaper, and choose five people who would be popular as masks or costumes this year. Answer in collaborative conversations and in writing: What makes each person “costume worthy?”. * Holidays of all kinds give businesses a way to draw attention to products. List newspaper ads that offer Halloween sales, deals or specials. Choose and discuss the ones you think are the most creative. Then design your own creative Halloween ad. * Everyone knows that Halloween means candy, candy and more candy. Candy names are fun to read because they use language in funny ways. Pick a few of your favorites from Halloween ads in the newspaper. As a class discuss why you like the names. Then write an outline for using the names in a Halloween story. Explain how you might use the names to describe people, events or action in your creative story. * Use one page from a newspaper to create an “Alphabet Monster.” Circle each letter of the alphabet on the page, with a crayon or other marker. Start with “A” and end with “Z.” Keep the letters in sequence, circle “A” and move over the page but try not to leave wide gaps between letters. Connect the letters, following alphabetical order. After you connect the letters, turn the page in any direction to see the finished “monster.” Then be creative! Talk and write about the monster. Describe the monster: What’s his/her/its name? How does she/he/it look/ appear?  How did the monster come to be? How does the monster behave? Older students may turn their descriptions into an illustrated short story that can be read aloud to young students or published in the classroom or elsewhere. * Printed newspapers are consumable (and recyclable), so you can use newspapers to make costumes. Using newspapers and tape, create a fancy hat that shows your personality. Discuss your design and show your creation to classmates. __________________________________________________________ A Halloween Scavenger Hunt—Find the following newspaper items:

  1. A photo or illustration about a Halloween event (don't forget to check TV/Movies and/or comics)
  2. Something scary
  3. Illustration of item that represents Halloween (broom, hat, pumpkin, ghost, goblin or other)
  4. The longest word you can find that includes the letters b-o-o, in any order.
  5. A safety rule or “cautions” for trick-or-treaters
  6. A display ad that features “treats” for sale (Anything unusual?)
  7. Something that can be ridden, other than a trusty broom
  8. Thirteen things that are alike in some way
  9.  A place decorated for Halloween
  10. Someone with extraordinary gifts
  11. Words or images that you find inside a witch’s hat you draw on a favorite page
  12. Foods you’d buy and/or prepare for a Halloween celebration in your home
  13. A greeting associated with the celebration, such as "Happy Halloween"


  1. Why thirteen (13)?
  1. What do you like most or least about Halloween? Talk about that with one or more classmates and compare your thinking about the holiday.