Unlock your child’s creativity from the comfort of home with our engaging and personalized private online art lessons for kids!  Designed for kids 5-16 to gain skills and confidence.

A Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Music for Kids Activity

by Melissa Garrett
October 22, 2016
A Spooky Halloween Music for Kids Activity

Last month, I shared with you some easy ways to listen to music and respond with art. Now that October is here and Halloween is right around the corner, I’m going to share some pieces of extra spooky music to get you in the Halloween spirit and inspire some art making!

My own kids are 5 and 8, and they are both prone to nightmares and sensitive to scary stuff, so it can be hard to find ways to make Halloween fun and exciting but not overly scary. That’s one reason I LOVE the chance to share music and art with them – it’s actually such an effective way to process things that can feel scary.

A Spooky Halloween Music for Kids - Painting to Music

(Not Too) Spooky Halloween Music for Kids

There are lots of spooky pieces of music you can enjoy; I’m going to focus today on Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath from Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz.

If you want to fall down a rabbit hole of fascinating characters, you can read more about the entire symphony and Berlioz’ state of mind while composing it, but for this activity, let’s focus on using it to help kids again listen with intent and respond to what they are hearing using art (or movement, as my son self selected!)

I used the recording below.

Listening to the Halloween Music

Just like in my previous music listening post, I like to begin by listening to the music with no explanation, no expectations, just an open mind.

Depending on your audience and how long you think their stamina might be, the music really starts to get interesting (and a bit more creepy) starting around 1:19, the E-flat clarinet comes in with the witchy theme and there are lots of dynamic changes, big drumbeats, and excitement!

Kids Halloween music listening activity - Lucy and Ezra listening

If you can, try and make it as far as 3:30—there are some amazing chimes between 3:00 and 3:30 that create a really different sound. And then right at 3:30, the “Dies Irae” (the funeral theme) comes in played by the low brass along with the chimes, which is pretty remarkable and a huge contrast from the clarinet’s “witchy theme” that you heard at 1:19.

My kids loved this part!

You can also skip to around 9:07 to really hear some creepy sound effects – listen for when the string players use their bows to make scratching sounds starting around 9:17 – ghostly! Listening from 9:07 until the end is a lovely option for kids who are sticking with it after the first excerpt.

Kids Halloween Music Listening Activity - Drawing Set-Up

Talking about the Halloween Music

Once they’ve listened once, stop the music and ask that magic question: “What did you notice?”

When I have done this activity in the classroom, I like to tell the kids a little bit about the music here. I tell them that the title is “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath” and that the composer was imagining himself dreaming about a gathering of witches, sorcerers and monsters and was trying to make the music sound like that and he used lots of interesting, spooky sound effects.

Then try listening again.

Kids Halloween Music Listening Activity - Dancing and Drawing
Ezra dancing and Lucy drawing in response to the music

Responding to the Halloween Music for Kids

For this activity, the art response I set up was simple drawing with paper, colored pencils and markers in a dark palette. However, by the time we were through, my kids had expanded the palette and pulled out the paints 🙂 Feel free to use any materials you like!

Kids Halloween Music Listening Activity - Lucy Drawing

After the first listen, my 5-year-old, Ezra, really wanted to dance along with the music while Lucy was ready to make some art, so I played the music again from the beginning and let them each respond in their own way.

A Spooky Halloween Music for Kids - Drawing to Music

After Ezra was done dancing, he got out the paints and went to town. Soon, Lucy abandoned the markers and joined him.

Kids Halloween Music Listening Activity - Lucy and Ezra Painting

We actually listened to the whole piece all the way through twice and they were still going strong, so I ended up playing some additional music (I included those pieces below) as a spooky backdrop to their art-making.

More (Not Too) Spooky Halloween Music for Kids

Here are two more spooky music pieces that would work well for this activity ::

Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens

Literally means “the dance of death!”  This tone poem features the Grim Reaper rousing himself from the grave at midnight on Halloween and brings all the skeletons in the graveyard to life to dance with him all night.

Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky

Another tone poem, this one is musically describing a witches’ sabbath on top of a mountain. This piece of music was included in the original Fantasia, so you can also watch the animation accompanying the music below (it’s scary, so watch it before showing it to your kids!)

I hope this inspires you to find something interesting (and spooky) to listen to and enjoy with your child!

Do you have other suggestions for (not too) spooky Halloween music for kids? If so, please share them below in the comments!

2021 Halloween Course Graphics

Autumn Arts & Crafts Ideas & Supplies

Download our FREE printable idea list of 31 Halloween activities for kids & families! Or just check out the blog post with the links. So many fun ideas for Halloween!

And be sure to check out our FALL family fun list in our Amazon store! It includes supplies for fall arts & crafts, autumn toys, Halloween ideas, and picture books about autumn.

PLUS: We’re offering 50% OFF and MORE on our Kids Art Spot Halloween workshops, Fall workshops and bundles. (Sale ends October 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm EST)

Pin It for Later

A Spooky Halloween Music for Kids Activity

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Just Print & Draw!
    Shop our Favorite Supplies!
    34 pages of colorful, creative fun!
    Encourage scientific exploration with all kinds of creative fun!
    Shop Printables
    Shop our Favorite Supplies!