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Spooky Session Plans: 3 Intervention Ideas for Halloween

By Emily Nordhues, MT-BC & Allison Nocita, MT-BC

 

Happy Halloween from all of us here at MusicWorx! Are you looking to spice up your October sessions with all things spooky? Check out these three intervention ideas- targeted for kids, adults, and older adults (although all can be adapted for most populations/settings). The best part? We’ve included download links for ready-to-use visuals & other materials to help you cut down on some of that session prep time! No tricks, only treats 🎃

 

1. Spooky Pets (for kids, ages 1-5)

  • Goal Areas: speech/vocalization, motor coordination
  • Materials: visuals (download link below), accompanying instrument, poster or velcro board to display visuals (optional)

This song is a piggyback of “Matilda the Gorilla.” If you are unfamiliar with this song, check out the YouTube video & lead sheet below!

Original song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owUYfobluvs

Piggyback: Halloween Creatures

 

  • Example verse:

I had a pet ghost, and his name it was Casper
Casper loved to sing songs everyday
And this is what Casper the Ghost would say

  • Sounds
    • Witch (laugh): Hee hee hee hee, ha ha ha
    • Werewolf (howl): Owwwwoooo, oo oo oo
    • Monster (growl): Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, rr rr ROAR
    • Vampire (hiss): Sss sss sss sss, sss sss SSS
    • Ghost (boo): Buh buh buh buh, buh buh BOO
    • Mummy (hum): Hm hm hm hm, hm hm HMM (*cover mouth with hand to provide vibrotactile stimulation & encourage vocal projection)
Adaptations & Tips
    • Give creatures silly names ahead of time, have clients name them, OR name them after clients in the moment!
    • My clients’ favorite part of “Matilda” is usually the movement- in the original song, you beat on your chest like a gorilla while singing. If appropriate for your clients, add movements for each creature (or have them create one). Examples: hold index finders up to mouth like vampire teeth for “Sss;” stretch out arms or stomp-walk for monster “Rrr.”
    • Repeat each verse as many times as necessary, or do a couple of creatures at a time and come back to the song later. Some of my clients have to put a lot of focus & energy into vocalization, so I’ll break up this intervention and spend 2-3 minutes at a time doing different parts of the song during transitions.
    • Download the Visuals here

2. Halloween Bingo (Teens-Adults)

  • Goal areas: sustained attention, short/long term memory, orientation to day/time of year, social interaction and/or teamwork
  • Materials: bingo board(s), way to mark spaces (velcro visuals, dry erase markers, checkers, etc), device & speaker to play recorded music or instruments for live music

Bingo is the perfect musical game to use- it’s familiar, simple to follow, and can be adapted for individual, team, or large group interventions. Adding the game element promotes more active listening and interaction, whether it is competitive or cooperative. Below you will find links to a downloadable bingo board, a Spotify playlist to follow, and recommendations for ways to adapt based on your clientele.

 

Download Level 1 Bingo Card (3×3)

Download Level 2 Bingo Card (4×4) 

Halloween Bingo Playlist

 

Three Variations on Gameplay

 

  • Individual
    • Each client has their own board and way to mark off spaces. More recreational and laid back, competitive so the first person to reach BINGO “wins” (although you can definitely play the game out so all songs are eventually played and everyone ends up with at least one BINGO). You will need to make more boards with rearranged squares, or everyone will get BINGO at the same time. You can copy the text from the board linked above, and re-enter into this website: https://myfreebingocards.com/bingo-card-generator
  • Teams
    • Team clients up in partners or small groups so they can work together to identify songs and take turns marking spaces. You can make it more challenging by not giving away song titles. In this version, clients must work together and guess for any unfamiliar songs (they could be incorrect when they get BINGO if they marked the wrong songs- adds a fun twist). A great adaptation especially for teens addressing cooperative problem solving and positive social interaction!
  • Whole Group
    • Make one large bingo board that the whole group can see clearly. This is preferred if you’re wanting the whole group to work together, if clients need more assistance, or if your group does better with highly success-based, cooperative interventions. In this variation, there are no winners or losers, and clients who are nonverbal or have low mobility can have a designated role (i.e. point or use choice board to guess song, place markers on board, stop/start music, attend to music video while song plays, etc).
    • One option for this variation is to play bingo in the background throughout the session. Introduce the game at the beginning of the session, and tell clients to raise their hand if they hear one of the bingo board songs at any point during the session. If you play “Ghostbusters” while everyone is jamming on egg shakers, have them place a marker in the shape of a shaker on that square. This is a cool way to practice joint attention and allow clients to track the progression of the session!

 

Adaptations & Tips
  • Increase difficulty: play songs live and only hum the melody, play snippets of less familiar parts of songs, create a board for classical spooky tunes & themes
  • Recommendations for bingo board markers:
    • Laminate bingo sheets or use sheet protectors with dry erase or wet erase pens
    • Use images of pumpkins/skeletons/candy etc. and tape/velcro them to board
    • Use images/outlines of musical instruments (can coordinate with other session activities!)
  • Utilize the whole group variation when competition might be too much or too distracting for your clientele. Make sure everyone leaves the group feeling successful, even if you have them competing.

3. Haunted Drumming (Older Adults)

 

This intervention can be adapted for many populations and ages. We’ve included a Spotify playlist and visuals to use with older adults. 

Steps:

  • Print out visuals of different Halloween creatures such as a ghost, pumpkin, witch, bat, etc. Attach one picture to each paddle drum. Keep a copy of each visual to show the clients. Pass out the paddle drums to each client. Explain to the group that they will play when the therapist holds up the picture that matches the one on their drum. Practice this a few times with group before starting the music, holding up each picture at least twice.
  • Begin playing recorded music. Hold up one visual at a time, cueing each client with that visual to play their drum. Walk around the group to make sure everyone can see the visual and encourage individuals that need more prompting.

 

Adaptations & Tips

  • Less Difficulty: Group individuals with the same picture together to help cue individuals who need more prompting
  • More Difficulty: Hold up more than one picture at a time
  • Suggestions for songs:
    • Monster Mash
    • Purple People Eater
    • Theme from The Munsters

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We hope these intervention ideas help you nail spooky season and spark your creativity! Wishing you and your clients a happy, safe, and musical Halloween!

 

Halloween Session Resources

Spooky Pets Visuals

Level 1 Bingo Card (3×3)

Level 2 Bingo Card (4×4) 

Bingo Card Generator

Halloween Bingo Playlist

Halloween Drumming Visuals

Halloween Drumming Playlist

 

Originally posted October 24th, 2019 at musictherapyandwellnesshub.com.

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BARBARA REUER, PHD, MT–BC
CEO / Founder
P: 858.457.2201
E: breuer@musicworxinc.com

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11300 Sorrento Valley Rd., Ste. 104,
San Diego, CA
92121

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