Back to Frankie's
ESL Worksheets

Halloween History


Visit the History Channel website to read about the fascinating origins of Halloween. Then do the tasks below.


QUESTIONS

  1. What is the source of the article? A newspaper, magazine, book, CD-ROM, website or something else? How do you know? Do you think the information is likely to be reliable? Why (not)?
  2.  

     

  3. Use the information in the article to complete the following timeline. (Warning: This needs some time and care!)
  4. HALLOWEEN TIMELINE

    TIME

    WHO/WHERE?

    TRADITION

    Approx. 2000 years ago - 31st Oct. every year.

     

    "Samhain" – the end of summer/harvest, when ghosts returned and caused trouble. The druids (Celtic priests) made huge bonfires where people burned sacrifices and told fortunes.

     

     

     

    Two Roman festivals - one commemorating the dead and another honouring the goddess of ……………….…… - were combined with "Samhain".

     

     

     

     

    Pope Boniface IV made 1st Nov. "All Saints – or All Hallows – Day" so 31st Oct. became known as "All Hallow’s Eve".

     

     

    The church made 2nd Nov. "All Souls Day" – similar to "Samhain": …………………………………………………..…………. ……………………………………………………………….

    ……………………………………………………………….……………………………………………………………….

    The second half of the ……….th century

     

    ………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………….

    probably based on All Souls Day parades in England when poor people begged for food and in return promised to pray for the souls of the giver’s dead relatives.

    Late 19th century/early 20th century

     

       

    1920s/30s

     

     

     

    ………………………..……… was a problem at Halloween celebrations in many towns.

    1920s-50s

     

     

     

    1950s

     

     

    Town leaders had controlled vandalism – mainly a festival for the young now, celebrated in classrooms and homes.

    Today

       

     

  5. How is the article organised? (Think about the various ways you can organise a piece of writing … How has this one been put together?)
  6.  

     

    Look for the time phrases (e.g. In the second half of the nineteenth century): in which part of the sentence do they normally appear – at the beginning, in the middle or at the end?

     

  7. What other topics can you read about on this website?
  8.  

     

  9. You are going to do research now in order to create your own website about a different festival. Choose a festival that will interest other young people and allow you to present new information, including the history of the festival. (For example, something like Christmas, Chinese New Year or Id-ul-Fitr would be appropriate – but not if you only present the very obvious facts that nearly everybody knows already.) Click here for some suggestions and convenient links.

Think about a likely structure for your website – in other words, what will the different sections be? Under each of your headings, write some research questions for yourself. (What do I need to find out in order to be able to write this section?)

A word of warning: do not put the cart before the horse … Do not waste time searching for pictures and clipart when you should be busy making notes. The text you produce is far more important than any pictures you use. You will be graded almost entirely on the quality of your text.

Frankie Meehan