Halloween Rhythm Combos {for tweens & teens}

Halloween is right around the corner!

I’ve been using The Costume Rap in my sessions this month and it’s been a hit. I use this musical experience to work on verbal and non-verbal communication skills with my tween and teen clients. Many of you have mentioned that it’s tough to come up with musical experiences for groups of clients with mixed abilities. The Costume Rap meets many needs in that clients can use words or a voice output device to participate. Plus, it’s a rap which will up the “cool factor!”

Now, onto another session idea I created for tweens and teens. I call it Halloween Rhythm Combos.

This musical experience involves rhythm sticks, Halloween phrases and imitation. It also has multiple levels of participation, so if you have groups with clients of mixed abilities read on.

Here’s how the Halloween Rhythm Combos experience goes:

  1. To prepare, create Halloween phrases that span four beats (for a PDF of the phrases, click here) For example, “Happy Halloween” (four eighth notes, half note) or “skeleton bones” (two eighths, quarter note, half note).
  2. In the session, pass out a set of rhythm sticks to each client and keep a pair for yourself.
  3. Explain to your clients that you will be saying a Halloween phrase and tapping each syllable on your rhythm sticks. Tell them it’s their job to repeat back to you both the spoken phrase and the rhythm.
  4. Once they’ve mastered this, choose one client to be the leader. Ask that client to come up with a phrase, say it to the group, and have them repeat it back.
  5. For clients who may not be able to say the phrases or repeat the exact rhythms, prompt them to tap along on their rhythm sticks.

{To grab a PDF of how to facilitate the Halloween Rhythm Combos musical experience PLUS ideas for extending this activity, click here.} 

What are we working on here? So many things. Verbal communication, articulation, attention, impulse control, fine motor skills and gross motor skills. This intervention works well with a group or in an individual session, and as you can see in the instructions can be adapted for varying ability levels.

Have fun with it! I enjoyed coming up with Halloween phrases and hearing the ones my clients came up with, too. Keep in mind that you can use this format for other holidays and seasons, too! I’m already planning some Turkey Day ones right now…


If you’re looking for even more creative ideas for working with teens, school age clients or adults, I’d love for you to check out the E-Course I created, Tune In To Teens. It’s approved by CBMT for 5 continuing education credits and is packed with creative session ideas and strategies for working with teen clients:

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