P4C activities: A spooky Halloween special


Halloween is celebrated around the world next week, so here’s a bumper edition full of P4C activities old and new about all things spooky.

Would you rather… 

  • Dance with skeleton?
  • Fly with a witch?

Play hide and seek with a ghost?

Would you rather” questions are probably familiar to you already, especially if you work with young children. On the surface, they may feel like a matter of taste, however, they contain “questions in waiting”, to use Steve Williams’ useful phrase. I love using Would you rathers as a playful introduction to philosophically richer questions. If you’re working with very young children, they also stand on their own two feet as great ways to develop speaking, listening and turn-taking. 

The format is simple – place three competing options on the floor and ask children to vote with their feet. They’ll form mini-communities around each option and can tell those around them why they’re there (usually without prompting!).

Then, hear points from each station and allow children to change their mind as they listen to one another. 

Below, find some spine-tingling ones we prepared earlier (differentiated by spookiness!). We’ve also attached them in illustrated, printable cards

Would you rather… 

…Fly with a witch?
…Dance with skeleton?.
..Play hide and seek with a ghost? (slightly sillier)
…have a pumpkin for a head?
…find cobwebs in your hair?
…grow vampire teeth? 
(slightly scarier)
…camp in a haunted graveyard?
…be trapped in a scary video-game?
…ride on a real ghost train?
Questions in waiting 

What makes an adventure exciting?
Why is it fun to be surprised?   

When is it okay to scare someone?
Is the world unfair to spiders?
Is it possible to scare yourself?  

Can ghosts still be scary if you don’tbelieve in them?

Also, find non-Halloween versions of this activity here.

A Ghostly Argument

A motion chosen in one of our online debate clubs last week was, “This house believes haunted houses aren’t scary.” An argument developed that went a bit like this:

Alex: Haunted houses aren’t scary, because ghosts don’t exist.

Sam: A haunted house could still be scary even though ghosts don’t exist. You can be scared of things that don’t exist.

Alex: If ghosts don’t exist, there’s no such thing as a haunted house. A haunted house can’t be scary if it doesn’t exist.

Sam: But if someone’s scared of haunted houses, haunted houses are scary, at least to them!

Alex: You can be scared of things that don’t exist, but things that don’t exist can’t be scary. They can’t be anything!

Who do you agree with and why?

If X doesn’t exist, can X be scary?

If X doesn’t exist, can X be not scary?

If X doesn’t exist, can X be anything?

There is something “ghostly” and puzzling about what we can say of things that don’t exist in the ordinary sense – this video from Crash Course explores the theme.

Why be scared of what we know doesn’t exist?

Here’s one we sent out this time last year using the clip above as a stimulus. It’s audience reactions to Paranormal Activity 2 (which I chose to avoid after watching the first one). Thanks to Grace Lockrobin of www.thinkingspace.org.uk for the enquiry plan. Find it here:


Why do we enjoy being scared?

…is a question that at least keeps the horror-movie industry going. From playing childhood games that give us a fright, to going to the cinema to be scared out of our wits – why do we find being scared entertaining? Attached below – and also here – is a stimulus to read to your class, and suggested ways to begin and then develop the discussion. Also, don’t miss the bonus improv game “I am a gnome” on the second page – which is terrifying in itself! 

Sticky Question of the week

This is one of hundreds of Sticky Questions we’ve designed to help every class do P4C every week. Learners take a question home on their jumper, then continue the conversation when back at school. Learn more here

Never miss a resource! Get these P4C ideas sent straight to your inbox every week for free. Sign up here.

Best wishes,

Tom and Jason

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