• Mark H
    Subject: Halloween-Totentanz

    Last year my 3rd and 4th year students enjoyed reading Goethe's "Todestanz" for Halloween.  I hung one of those paper skeletons in the front of the class to set the atmosphere.

    To enhance the mood of the poem I read it dramatically one time through. Then I explained, also somewhat dramatically, what was going on in the poem.  I read through the poem again.  Sometimes a poem loses its appeal if the kids have to work too hard to understand the meaning right at the beginning.

    Talk about activities that appeal to boys.  We all laughed at the spectacle of clattering skeletons dancing in their loose, ill-fitting garments.  We felt how Goethe built up the sense of frenzy then felt the tension at the approach of the grim reaper. The end of the poem left us chilled with the fate of the watchman.   uuueeeuuu!

    After having fun with the poem we did some language activities such as identifying vocabulary, looking at some grammatical structures and reading orally both chorally and with a partner.

    I got much positive feedback from the students, especially the boys, on how much they liked the poem. I found the website with Goethe's poem "Totentanz"

  • From:    Robert T
    Subject: Halloween - Totenfest (Tombstone Activity)

    This is the activity I do.  More explanation follows the handout that I give the students.

    Allerheiligen oder Ein Totenfest

    Research a famous German speaking person who is no longer living.

    Make a tombstone with an epitaph.
    The tombstone must be three dimensional (it must stand up.)  It should be no larger than 9 X 12 inches.
    The tombstone must contain a minimum of six complete sentences which include the following information: (25 Points)

     The dates s/he was born and died
     Where s/he was born
     His/her occupation
     One or two accomplishments
     A quote or a comment by or about him/her that sums up the essence of his/her life.

    You must submit a question on a 3X5 card, which can be answered by reading the tombstone you prepared. The 3X5 Card must have a question in German on one side and your name on the other side. (5 points)

    You must read your question and explain your answer orally in German. (5 Points)

    You may get two points extra credit if you include a picture of your person as part of the tombstone.

    My suggestions to use this activity
    Have the students prepare the tombstones.  Have the tombstones due prior to "the day."  Darken the room, perhaps an electric candle or electric pumpkin.  Put on some scary music like Bach's Toccata and Fugue or other scary music.   Tell students to bring a flashlight. Set up all of the tombstones with their question lying in front of them on the card. Write a number on each card. Students then number a paper from 1 to the number of tombstones you have.  In the dark in the scary music, students take a walk thru the graveyard and read the tombstones, answering the question at each tombstone on their numbered papers.

    If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.  My students love this and the French teacher also does it.

    Betty T

  • Beth L
    Subject: Re: Halloween - Totenfest (Tombstone Activity)

    I "borrowed" this activity and used it with my 3s last year.  It was a big hit.  They really liked finding out about "famous" Germans that they had never heard of.  We had fun on the tombstone day too. Because I had a small
    class, we also gave eulogies--that was kind of hard, but I wanted them to speak about their person too.

  • Susan S
    Subject: Re: Totenfest

    Okay, who says you can't do it with 1's. How about having them write their own epitaphs. Then have a funeral service for a "deceased" student. You might even be able to get the "guest of honor" to be appropriately dressed, as long as it wouldn't disrupt other classes.


  • "The first candy corn was invented by the Goelitz family in the Chicago area. They came from the Harz mountain area, and now produce the well known Jelly Belly Bean. Their story can be read at" the German Corner

  • Tombstone enscription writing for famous Germans on my German-American site germusa.htm


  • How about "Wiener Blut" ("... schmeckt so gut!") by the King's Singers' Strauss CD?!

  • O-Rhesus-Negativ von Udo Lindenberg (Langenscheidt Kassette 84518) ist fuer Halloween auch nicht schlecht. Meinen Deutsch IV/V Schuelern gebe ich Goethes Gedicht "Der Totentanz" zum Lesen.

  • I was recently in Seevetal at the Gymnasium Meckelfeld and Realschule and teaching about Halloween. Just a little thing, but it gave me much pleasure. I was teaching the kids to say "Trick or Treat! Trick or Treat! Give me something good to eat!" A little guy in the row in front of me started digging around in his Schultasche and came up with a wrapped cough drop, the only sweet he had. I did notice a bit of decorating in the villages there and in Hamburg related to our Halloween.

  • Someone asked what the translation of "trick or treat" would be in German. I've heard: "Streich oder Suessikeiten."

  • oder "Trick oder Bon Bon" "Trick oder gib ein Geschenk"

  • Ich weiß auch keine besssere Übersetzung. Aber mir ist dazu eingefallen, daß wir als Kinder in Süddeutschland im Fasching zum betteln gegangen sind. The concept is similar to Halloween. The kids are dressed up and go to someones door asking for a 'hand-out'. When we went up to a door we recited the following poem (in schwäbischer Mundart)

    I bin a armes Mäschkerle
    und hab an leeren Sack
    und weil i no nix drinna hab
    drum bitt i um a Gab.
    translated to high German:

    Ich bin ein armes Maskerle (someone wearing a costume)
    und hab' einen leeren Sack
    und weil ich noch nichts drinnen hab
    drum bitte ich um eine Gabe.

    Ps: I don't know if 'Maskerle' can be translated into high German. It is schwäbisch.

  • My partner teacher from Neuhaus (Thueringen) told me Halloween is becoming a very popular thing among young people in their area. This was going on before we started our GAPP.

  • Last year someone posted this song to the list. It is sung to "One, Two, Three O'Clock, Four O'Clock Rock".

    1, 2, 3, 4, Dracula
    5, 6, 7, 8 Dracula
    9, 10, 11, 12 Dracula
    Dracula erwacht, erwacht um Mitternacht.

    Die Uhr schlaegt zwoelf, ich hoer' es schon: Dracula am Telefon.
    Es kappert sein Gebiss, es klappert sein Geruest.
    Die Leichen tanzen Rock 'n Roll
    Bei Nacht, bei Nacht, bei Nacht im Mondenschein.

  • The book, German is Fun, Book 1, by Amsco also has Chapter 13 which deals with the body and has a cute story about Dr. Frankenstein!!!!

    Schlotterstein Hymne--Lieder fuer Halloween

    Wenn der Mond über dem Friedhof steht When the moon stands over the cemetery,
    Und der Wörter seine Runde geht And the watchman makes his rounds,
    Dann ist es endlich Mitternacht Then is it finally midnight
    Das ist die Zeit wenn der Vampir erwacht That is the time when the vampire awakes.
    Er liebt den Mondschein und die Gruft He loves the moonshine and the tombs
    Und auch die kalte Friedhofsluft And also the cold air in the cemetery
    Und immer nach dem letzten Gong And on the last gong
    Singt er seinen Friedhofs-Song He sings his cemetery song.
    Und wenn der Mond am Himmel steht And when the moon stands high in the sky
    Und wenn die Turmuhr zwölfmal schlägt And the clock on the tower strikes 12
    Dann kommt die Zeit wo der Vampir erwacht Then comes the time when the vampire awakes
    Und dann fliegt er durch die schwarze Nacht And then he flies through the black night.
    Und kaum ein Mensch hat ihn gesehen Hardly a person has seen him
    Denn wenn die anderen schlafen gehen And when the others go to sleep
    Dann kommt die Zeit wo der Vampir erwacht Then comes the time when the vampire awakes.
    Ein Vampir braucht immer frisches Blut A vampire always needs fresh blood
    und fühlt sich dann erst wirklich gut And only feels really good
    Wenn er davon viel getrunken hat When he has drunk of it
    Erst nach 3, 4 Litern ist er richtig satt Just 3 or 4 liters and he is really full.
    Er liebt die Gröber und die Gruft He loves the graves and the tombs
    und auch die kalte Friedhofsluft And also the cold air of the cemetery
    Und er will nicht wie die Menschen sein And he doesn't want to be likethe people
    Denn er ist ein Vampir von Schlotterstein Because he is a vampire fromSchlotterstein!
    Ja er ist ein Vampir von Schlotterstein Yes, he is a vampire from Schlotterstein.

    Subject: Halloween in Ost Berlin von Silly (East German band)

    Der Osten ist 'ne Reise wert The East is worth a trip
    Den sollten Sie besuchen You should visit it
    Hier gibt's noch 'n Stück Here there is still a piece
    Vom neuen deutschen Kuchen Of the new German cake
    Die Rosinen sind schon weg The raisins are gone
    Das macht ihn etwas trocken Which makes it somewhat dry
    Doch in mancher But a big fat clump
    Treu-hinter-hand Sticks to
    Klebt noch ein fetter Brocken Some of the hands
    Die Ossis, die sind lall und mall The Ossis, they mumble and speak crazy things
    Vom Plunder und vom Fusel Of junk and booze
    Wenn die mal aus dem Koma sind If they come out of their coma
    Kommt das kalte Gruseln The cold gruesomeness comes
    Sie schlagen sich die Schädel ein And hits them in the brain
    Mit ihren Stasi-akten With their Stasi files
    Derweil wir mitten auf dem Platz Meanwhile, we slaughter the last pig
    Die letzten Ferkel schlachten. In the square.
    Halloween in Ostberlin, Halloween in East Berlin
    Hier schwoofen die Gespenster Here the ghosts are dancing the night away
    Halloween in Ostberlin Halloween in East Berlin
    Hier füllt man sich die Wönster Here one feels the fat bellies
    Halloween in Ostberlin Halloween in East Berlin
    Die schaurigsten Gestalten The most dreadful forms
    Halloween in Ostberlin Halloween in East Berlin
    Gut d'rauf und wohlbehalten All is safe and sound.
    Die neuen und die alten The new ones and the old ones
    Dann röumen Sie von ganz allein Then you roam completely alone
    Die Buden und die Posten From pillar to post
    Und wir zieh'n weiter mit Geheul And we go further with such howling
    Zum nöchsten Fest ge'n Osten To the next party against the East.
    Da tobt auch schon die Klopperei There are raging already scraps
    Und wir, die guten Geister And we, the good ghosts
    Zieh'n denen auch Pull from those others
    Das Hemd vom Arsch The shirt from their backs
    Nur flinker noch, und dreister With agility and cheekiness.
    Der Osten ist 'ne Reise wert The East is worth a trip
    Den sollten Sie besuchen You should visit it
    Kein schöner Land No finer Land
    Hier weit und breit Lies far and wide
    Zum Zocken und zum Spuken. For playing games of chance and spitting

    Subject: O-Rhesus Negativ--Lieder fuer Halloween von Udo Lindenberg

    Es war Mitternacht, ich ging spazieren, It was midnight, and I went walking
    da bemerkte ich, and I noticed
    ein Finstermann mit 'm grossen Hut a scary man with a large hat
    verfolgte mich following me
    und dann sprach er mich an, and then he spoke to me
    schmatzend und mit knirschenden Zähnen: greedily munching with grinding teeth:
    "Ach, würden Sie wohl so freundlich sein "Oh, would you be so kind as
    und Ihre Blutgruppe mal erwähnen?" to share your blood group with me?"
    Ich dachte mir, das ist 'n Vampir, I thought to myself, that is a vampire;
    da muss man vorsichtig sein, one must be careful.
    Ich sagte: "Moment, ich guck' mal eben in meinen Ausweis rein." I said: "Just a minute, I'll look at my identification papers."
    O-Rhesus-Negativ. Da verzog er sein Gesicht O-Rh-negative. Then he screwed up his face
    und meinte: and thought:
    "So 'n Mist, ausgerechnet diese Sorte vertrag' ich nicht!" "Darn it! That is the kind that I cannot tolerate!"
    Um ihn zu trösten, lud ich ihn ein To console him, I invited him
    auf ein Glas Bier, for a glass of beer.
    doch er meinte, das wär' für ihn kein Plaisier: He thought that that wouldn't be any joy for him:
    "Es muss schon dieser rote Spezialsaft sein. "It must be this special red juice.
    Es gibt nur ein Getränk, das find' ich gut, und das ist Blut!" There is only one drink. that I find good, and that is blood!"
    Wir unterhielten uns noch ganz prima We conversed with one another very well
    über Klima, Gott und die Welt, about the weather, God, and the world,
    und er erzählte mir von seinem Vampirleben and he explained to me about his vampire life
    und dass es ihm gut gefällt, and that it pleased him a lot.
    er sagt': "Ich brauch' nicht zu malochen, He said: "I don't need to drudge
    jeden Tag ins Büro zu laufen, each day to the office.
    am Tag schlaf' ich in meinem Sarg, During the day, I sleep in my sarcophagus,
    und nachts geh' ich mich besaufen!" and at night I go to drink too much!"
    Ja, wenn das so ist, möchte ich auch Vampir sein, Well, if that is the case, then I would like to be a vampire, too.
    da sagt' er: "Reichen Sie doch mal 'n Antrag Then he said, "Get an application at
    beim transsilvanischen Prüfamt ein, the Transylvanian office
    dazu brauchen Sie aber vom Zahnarzt 'n Tauglichkeitsschein, and with that you will need a certificate from your dentist
    denn wenn die Beisser zu kurz sind, because if your teeth are too short
    kommen Sie nie rein in unseren Verein!" you will never get into our club!"

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