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Halloween Resources

by Claire Harrison

on Thu Oct 25, 2018

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Access to technology for learners with physical support needs

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With most schools back in full swing from the October break, many staff and learners will be turning their thoughts to all things spooky with Halloween just around the corner.  Let's explore some of the ways assisstive technology can support learning & communication in a complex needs classroom at Halloween. 

Sensory Sound Board - MacBeth's Witches                                   


Cognable, the company who make the fantastic ‘Cause and Effect Sensory Sound Box’ and Light Box apps have a free soundboard based around Macbeth’s witches. Using the soundboard, your learners can tell the witches story or join in with repeated lines. They can add atmosphere to a re-telling/re-enactment of the story by adding sound effects such as stormy weather, cackling, howling and hooting. Being a Cognable app, it’s accessible for switch scanning, and has settings which can easily be changed to suit the needs of your learners. For example, there is the option to use photos or cartoons in the display options, change the background and add or remove the text. There’s a really nice feature in the sound playback options where you can change the voices to add an ‘echo’ or ‘monster’ effect.  See the video below for a demonstration.  It’s a great app, and that small section of Macbeth where the witches gather round and begin their chanting can make for a fantastic, dramatic sensory story/experience for older learners.  

Accessible Halloween Songs, Stories & Animations

Ian Bean has a wide selection of switch/touch/eye gaze accessible activities on his SENICT website. It’s free to sign up and use the activities which can be played online or downloaded to play without an internet connection. ‘This is Halloween’,  ‘Ghostbusters’  and ‘Harry Potter’  can help to get the Halloween party started, and not least ‘The tidy up song’ when it comes to cleaning up the goo and slime from spooky sensory play!

Ian is also making the 'Spooky' activty from the excellent SENict software free to access on 29th, 30th and 31st October. 


If you are looking for a fantastically gross Halloween sensory story, Pete Wells has created the brilliant ‘Webster Witch’s Ugly Potion’. There’s an animated PowerPoint, instruction sheet and supporting symbols which can all be downloaded via dropbox from here.

There’s also an accompanying maths addition activity ‘Hagmella’s Ugly Potion’ and a switch accessible ‘Wartify Webster’

If you haven’t already, you should check out Pete’s new Sensory Stories Podcast. The podcast features tips, ideas and background to Pete’s stories with special guests like Les Staves, Keith Parks, Flo Longhorn and Peter Imray. 

Make Your Own Switch Accessible Harry Potter Sorting Hat 

How about creating a magical, switch accessible Harry Potter Sorting Hat using a multi-message device like a Step-by-step or Smooth Talker? You can either speak the Hogwarts house names into the device, or record sound clips from the Sorting Hat scene in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone film. If you are using a Step-by-Step, you can plug in the appropriate access switch for an individual learner or, plug in a highly touch sensitive switch like a Pal Pad or a no-touch switch like a Candy Corn, to allow your learners to wave their hand over the switch to hear the sorting hat magically speak.   

Symbol Resources

There are a number of symbol resources available to download too. Widgit have a free to download Halloween pack with flashcards, dominoes and colouring pages. You will need either a copy of their InPrint3 or Communicate In Print software to open the activity pack. If your school use SymbolStix symbols, Carol Goossens has created a discounted ‘Pumpkin Bundle’ of her animated symbol supported PowerPoints. You can download them from the Teachers Pay Teachers website and get some great tips on how to use the stories on her blog. If you are reading the Scots language version of Julia Donaldson’s ‘Room on the Broom’ there is also a PDF of a word mat with PCS symbol supports available for free on our Symbols for All website. 

Creating Communication Opportunities

And finally, don’t forget that single and multi-message devices like a ‘Smooth Talker’ or ‘Step by Steps’ can be used to create motivating communication opportunities (plus the bonus of supporting your learners to carry on the Scottish tradition of Guising at Halloween!) Your learners can use the devices to ask ‘Do you want any Guisers?’ or tell a truly terrible Knock Knock joke to get everyone groaning…

  • Knock Knock
  • Who’s There
  • Witch
  • Witch who?
  • Witch one of you can fix my broomstick?

See our 20 Ways to be Excellent leaflet for instructions on which parts of the joke to record onto the device.

Happy Halloween!




Tags: halloween

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