From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."

Simple Halloween Activites and Lessons for ESL Students


Halloween is not as popular in Korea as it is in other countries, but some hagwons and  schools here hold Halloween parties and festivals for students. Halloween is one of my favorite school events to prepare for because there are a lot of activities that I can incorporate in my lessons. I’m going to share some of these activities.

Let’s get the ball rolling! ^^

WHAT’S IN THE MYSTERY BOX?20161024_102130

This has been a favorite of my students.  I’ve used it as a springboard for teaching the five senses and for describing objects.


A box (The size depends on the items you are going to put in the box.)

Paper for wrapping (It can be colored paper, leftover gift wrap, newspaper, etc.)


Halloween-themed objects (For example: scary masks, furry item as werewolf’s tail, cooked spaghetti as worm, gelatine as slime, old T-shirt splattered with ketchup to make it look bloody, dried chicken bone as part of a skeleton, Halloween decorations, etc.)



Wrap the box to make it look presentable. Make a small hole on top of the box just large enough for a hand to squeeze through. Draw question marks around the box. Place all the objects in the box.


Have students take turns in touching one of the objects in the box. Encourage the student to describe the object by using expressions like “It feels… It sounds…” The student can move or shake the object inside the box to have an idea of what it sounds like, but he can’t take it out until he gives at least three descriptions. The rest of the class tries to guess what the object is. The student who guesses the object gets a candy. If no one can guess what the object is, ask the student to show it to class. The class describes the object using other expressions such as “It looks… It smells…” You can’t ask a student to taste random objects, so prepare something that can be eaten (for example: a candy, a chocolate, worm jelly, etc.), so “It tastes…” can also be used in making descriptions.



What’s great about this activity is that you can use it for elementary and middle school students. With my younger students (Grades 1 to 3), I give them a pictionary and have them cut and glue pictures randomly on their bingo cards. I don’t ask them to write down the words, because younger students take a lot of time to write; some can barely read. Besides, the little ones enjoy cutting and gluing. Bogglesworldesl is a great site to find Halloween printables. They even have a bingo card generator, so your students don’t have to cut and glue pictures or write down words on their bingo cards. If you have a smaller class, I suggest you use the bingo card generator, but if you’re printing cards for 20 students or more (let’s say, for your public school classes), it would be better to use an empty bingo card.

My 4th to 6th graders enjoy word searches, so I have them do word search before they write the terms on their bingo cards. Islcollective has tons of these word searches. On the other hand, I give my middle school students crosswords and have them select words to jot down on their bingo cards.


Worksheets (vocabulary/pictionary/word search/crossword)

Bingo cards



I’m not going to give a how-to, since everyone knows how to play bingo, but here are some tips:

  • Say the first word.
  • Have students take turns saying a word.
  • Give students tidbits of information about the words or ask them questions as you play the game. This is an excellent way to review their vocabulary and encourage speaking.
  •  It’s up to you how many bingos they should make. I usually require them to make 3 bingos.
  • The first student/students to make 3 bingos gets/get a bigger prize or more candies.



This is more suitable for upper grade and middle school classes, because you’ll be showing the students pictures of scary movie characters. You know how the younger ones easily get frightened.

This activity is perfect for teaching adjectives or adjective phrases.


Pictures of well-known scary movie characters like Anabelle, the clown from the movie “It”, Chucky, Samara or Sadako from “The Ring” etc.

*** I’ve prepared a PowerPoint Presentation for this game. If you’d like to use it, feel free to comment or message me.



Group students. Each member should get a chance to answer. You can assign each member a number and ask, let’s say, all number 1 members to stand and put their hands up. Show part of a scary movie character’s face and describe that character. Say “Guess who?” as a signal for students to clap their hands if they want to answer. The student who claps his hands first gets to answer.  If the answer is correct, you give the group a point. The group with the most number of points gets the price. After someone guesses who the character is, you can show the character’s whole face and ask students questions like “What does he/she look like?”, “What is he/she wearing?”, “What is he/she holding?”, etc.



Below is the video I used for this activity…

I had the students watch the video first, then we prepared the ingredients and materials and started making candy apples. Our candy apples were not as impressive as the ones  in the video, but the students had so much fun making (and eating) them.


  • Stay away from caramel! Just use chocolate or syrup. Removing hardened caramel from the dishes and other utensils was a backbreaking task!
  • Assign chores in groups, so after the fun, you won’t end up cleaning everything by yourself. (My students were awesome!)



Lower grade classes will surely enjoy this activity. I used it for the first time as part of my lesson on “can” and “can’t”, but in one of my classes in the hagwon last year, it was one of my Halloween activities.


Paper bags (large enough to have a student fit his hand in it)

Coloring materials

Colored paper





Tell students a brief story about Frankenstein. Prepare visuals. Tell students that they will be creating their own monster out of a paper bag. Show them samples. (You can make your own mask or find some in the internet.)


For smaller classes, have students talk about their monsters one-by-one. Afterwards, the class chooses the best monster who will get a candy or a prize.

For bigger classes, divide the class in groups. Have them sit in circles according to group. Members take turns in presenting their monsters. Each group chooses the best monster. The chosen members line up in front of the class after the presentation, so the entire class can see their masks. The class votes for the best mask. The winner gets a bigger prize. The others get consolation prizes.



This activity is intended for classes in the intermediate or advanced level of English proficiency. I’ve used this activity in my 5th grade classes. They vary in level of proficiency, but most of them can write simple essays and stories.


A scenario (Pinterest has a lot of writing prompts for composing Halloween stories.)

If you want it to be more exciting, you can have students make simple props, too. Provide color paper and coloring materials.


When I gave my students this activity, I showed them a picture of a haunted house, asked them how they would feel and what they would do if they were in that house. I gave them a script and asked them to finish the story. (If you want a copy of this script, message me. I’d be more than willing to share. ^^)

I assigned groups and gave them ample time to write their scripts and practise how to deliver their lines.

We didn’t have a lot of time, so I skipped prop making and did not require students to memorize their lines.


I always end my classes with a short Halloween clip before or during Halloween party or festival. When we have more time, I play a movie or an animation. Below are some suggestions:

Mr. Bean Halloween Specials

Pinky’s Halloween Spook-tacular

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Twilight Zone


I hope you find this article useful. If you have other Halloween activities to share, you may include them in the comment section.


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‘Manwon’ Food Budget a Day

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Recently a blogger from the Philippines shared her expenses in touring Korea, and her post drew flak for claiming that in her 5-days-and-4-nights of stay here, she spent only 12,000 pesos (around 235 dollars). She was able to purchase a 3,000-peso roundtrip ticket (around 59 dollars) from Jeju Air, paid 3,120 (around 61 dollars) for her 5D4N stay at a guesthouse and survived with a ‘manwon’ budget on food everyday (That’s barely 450 pesos or 9 dollars!).

The price of the ticket may come as a shock to many of us who know how expensive it can be to travel overseas, but this extremely tight budget is possible for travelers who wait patiently for promo tickets from airlines such as Cebu Pacific, Jeju Air and Philippine Airlines and are lucky to get that most coveted ticket. A couple of years ago, I was able to buy an inexpensive roundtrip ticket in Cebu Pacific, but the cheapest I got was about 6,000 pesos (117 dollars).

Guesthouses, on the other hand, can be low-priced if the room is shared by a group.

What stupefied readers the most was the blogger’s budget on food. I feel kinda sorry for all the bashing she got from those who have lived in Korea for years and know how much the food really costs here, but I’m not siding with her either. Personally, I think she should have given more details of her budget or at least tried to explain what the ‘manwon’ lunch and dinner included since she was encouraging Filipino travelers to visit Korea with minimal budget. On the contrary, I think bashing someone for sharing a memorable experience is a bit out of hand.

Now, is it really possible to survive a day with that ‘manwon’ food budget? As someone who has lived in Korea for years and has eaten almost every Korean food there is (except poshintang or dog soup), I’m telling you it is possible… but only if you don’t eat like a horse!

If you’re on a ‘manwon’ budget in Korea, what can you eat for lunch and dinner?

I’m going to name a few:

Street food ~ PRICE: from 500 to 3,000 won (23 to 137 pesos)

Everybody knows that street food is cheap anywhere in the world, but here in Korea, there are tons of mouth-watering and satiating street food to try. Some can be healthy, too. Two or three sticks of hot odeng or fish cake, for example, can squelch your hunger for more or less 3,000 won, like what my tourist friend did when he was starving from his walks around Seoul. There’s barbecue and sausage that you can buy for 2,000 – 2,500 won a stick. Pig-blood sausage may sound disgusting, but sunde is a must-try. An order will not cost you more than 3,000 won. Heck, there’s even tteokbokki you can enjoy for 500 won a cup!

Kimbop (rice rolls) and other bunsik food ~ PRICE: 1,500 – 5,500 won (68 – 250 pesos)

Inexpensive Korean food like kimbop, ramyon, tteokbokki, twigim, etc. can be bought in bunsik or bunsik jib (snack restaurants). Kimbop may be considered street food, but this is a common snack for Koreans when they go on a picnic or a meal for Koreans who are always on the go. The country is teeming with kimbop restaurants that sell various kinds of rice rolls: tuna, kimchi, cheese, bulgogi, even tonkatsu! Don’t waste your money on cheap kimbop from convenience stores though, because they’re nasty! If you go to a kimbop restaurant, you can have soup and side dish, usually yellow radish, for free. Some kimbop restaurants have kimbop and udon set for 5,000 to 5,500 won.



The two dishes I’m going to mention next can be found in the same restaurant.

Pyohejang guk (beef bone stew) ~ PRICE: 7,000 to 8,000 won (319 – 363 pesos)

This spicy version of nilagang baka, short ribs and vegetable stew in the Philippines, has everything you need in a meal: lots of meat, vegetables and steamed rice which is served separately. You will also get two or three side dishes which is a common thing in Korea when you order a meal.

sundae guk (blood sausage soup) ~ PRICE: 5,000 – 8,000 won (227 to 363 pesos)

In the Philippines, we have dinuguan (pork blood stew). In Korea, they have sundae guk (blood sausage soup). The first time my husband ordered sundae guk for me, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but I ended up finishing the whole bowl! When you eat sundae kuk, you won’t even know you’re eating soup with blood sausage in it, unless someone tells you. The blood sausage is prepared so well that you won’t even smell anything out-of-the-ordinary and there’s no rancid aftertaste. Just like pyeohejang guk, sundae guk is served with steamed rice and side dishes. If you like exotic and spicy food, you will enjoy sundae guk.

Not-so-spicy sundae guk for 5,000 won

Spicy sundae guk for 7,000 won

Noodles are quite affordable, too, and they are delicious. Besides, ramyon and jjampong which are popular in the Philippines, you may want to try…

Jjajangmyeon (black noodles) ~ PRICE: 3,500 to 5,500 won (159 to 250 pesos)

This noodle is actually Chinese food, but since it is widely popular in Korea, you can find it anywhere. They even have a day called “Black noodles’ Day” for single men and women. Jjajangmyeon is tasty and filling. The sauce has got bits of pork and onion, and it’s topped with thinly-sliced cucumber. This one is served with yellow radish and some onions as side dishes.

Naengmyon (cold noodles) ~ PRICE: 5,000 to 7,000 won (227 to 319 pesos)

Another filling dish that is popular in Korea is naengmyeon. It’s basically thin, chewy noodles served with icy soup, sweet chilli pepper paste, a slice of egg and some radish or cucumber. There are two kinds of naengmyeon. If you’re not into spicy noodles, go for mul naengmyeon, the one that is served with icy broth. If you like it spicier, go for bibim naengmyeon, same ingredients but served with no broth.



This is how you sip your neangmyeon broth. ^^

(Cheap) Hansik buffet PRICE: 5,000 (227 pesos)

Yup, you heard me right, buffet for 5,000 won… but this isn’t the kind of buffet that has it all. The food served in these kinds of buffet are Korean food that you can find in a typical Korean home. I’ve been to two cheap hansik buffets, one in my area in Namyangju and the other in Guri. I didn’t fancy the food, but for the price of 5,000 won, what can one expect? The food, however, was enough to sate my hunger. These types of buffet are frequented by workers and students.

Convenience store doshirak or bento (lunchbox) PRICE: 4,000 to 6,000 won (182 to 272 pesos)

When my husband stayed at the hospital with me, he survived for three days on bento meals from the covenience store. I have also tried them. These bentos are not that bad. Most convenience stores in Korea have a microwave oven where you can heat up your bento.


These are just some of the food you can budget your manwon with here in Korea. There are plenty of meals you can actually have for 450 pesos (9 dollars) or less, but you’ll be missing out on all the delectable dishes Korea has to offer if you will tour this country on a very tight budget. My advise, as a former tourist in Korea, is to save enough money to enjoy Korean cuisine. You don’t have to spend much. A 20 to 25 dollar food budget a day will be enough. With that kind of budget, you’ll get to enjoy grilled meat, drinks, authentic traditional Korean food and more.


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