Activities to go along with “Haunted Castle on Hallow’s Eve” (a MTH book) … and the Virtual Chapter Book Club for Kids

Jack and Annie, the main characters from The Magic Treehouse series (MTH), by Mary Pope Osborn, are favorites around our house.  We’ve been reading through the series (on & off) for about a year now.  It was just pure luck that the next book up in the series for us to read was, “Haunted Castle on Hallow’s Eve”.  Perfect for the mystery theme of the FIRST Virtual Chapter Book Club for Kids!  Perfect for October!

"Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve"

As we expected, we really enjoyed the book.  In this adventure, Jack & Annie are tasked by Merlin to restore order in a Haunted Castle.  With some teamwork, a lot of courage, and a bit of magic they solve the mystery of what happened in the castle and successfully complete the mission.  Here are some activities we came up with to go along with this fabulous, kid-friendly mystery …

Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve collage


Ghost Writing – Without giving too much of the story away, one of the ways the ghosts in the book communicate is by writing on a dusty mirror.  Fortunately none of our mirrors are (quite) that dusty, so instead we used a foggy mirror to write messages.  This works really great because once the fog clears up off the mirror you can’t see the message … unless the room gets fogged up again.  It’s as if a ghost wrote the message!  This is great to write sweet messages to your kids (or spouse!) … it’s also a fun way to practice spelling words!

Ghost Writing - "Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve" activities


Finding a Magic Wand – A “hazel twig from hazel tree” was used in the story, so the kids and I went for a search around the yard to discover our own magic wands.  I believe we found a “hickory twig from a hickory tree”, an “oak twig from an oak tree”, and a “maple twig from a maple tree”.

Magic Wands

Sure they could be decorated (here are some great ideas), but we went with plain and simple.


“A Raisin Raven” snack – I actually got this idea from a slip-up my husband made while reading us part of the book.  Instead of “ravens” he said “raisins”.  So the next day, I made Henry a “raisin raven” for an after school snack.  I found an image of a raven that I printed out and then I simply covered the image with raisins.

raisin raven



And a PlayDrMom empowerment tool, a Gem Touchstone – In the book the young magicians need to find the “Diamond of Destiny”.  Jack finds that when he is holding the gem he feels braver; fearless.  This gave me an idea to use some of the craft gemstones I have to help instill qualities for my kids – because as Jack also discovered many times the powers one has already within; one just needs to believe in him/herself!  Since Henry has been having a hard time remembering to bring home his red homework folder (and also turning in his red homework folder at school), I decided to give him the “Ruby of Remembrance” – in hopes to help him unleash his inner memory powers through this touchstone.  He can keep it in his pocket or in his backpack.

gem touchstone This is also a great tool that I use with my play therapy clients and suggest for parents to use with children struggling with anxiety, fear, feeling powerless, controlling anger, and a variety of concerns.


Virtual CHAPTER Book Club for Kids

I can’t wait to check out all the other great books and activities the other participants in the Virtual Chapter Book Club for Kids came up with to go along with October’s theme of MYSTERY!

And if you have any great books, chapter series, and/or activities to compliment them please join in and share them with the club.  If you’d like more information about the new Virtual Chapter Book Club for Kids, check out my introduction post.

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Laura Hutchison

Laura Hutchison (aka PlayDrMom) is a chubby kid turned competitive figure skater tween turned high school pom pon girl turned MSU Spartan turned grad student turned Mrs. HutcH turned Dr. turned Mom. She adores living in the Mitten, is addicted to Diet Coke, and firmly believes that ice cream is a main food group.

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  1. Jen

    What a fabulous collection of activities. I love the ghost writing…how easy is that?! Thanks.
    Jen recently posted…Virtual Chapter Book Club for Kids ~ Search for the Graveyard HoundsMy Profile

  2. Natalie F

    I love what you did with this book! My daughter enjoyed MTH series too, but she hates anything related to ghosts 🙂 Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!
    Natalie F recently posted…Thank You Thursday Giveaway #2My Profile

  3. Anna@The Measured Mom

    Great learning extensions! Thanks so much for sharing at After School : )
    Anna@The Measured Mom recently posted…Kids in the kitchen: 7 things to learn!My Profile

  4. Deceptively Educational

    This is SUCH a clever list of book extension activities. Thanks for sharing at the After School Linky Party. I’m featuring this tomorrow on my blog at this week’s link up. Stop by to check it out and share more ideas while you’re there!

  5. Anna@The Measured Mom

    This is part of my Halloween round up today. Thanks again for linking up, Laura!
    Anna@The Measured Mom recently posted…Halloween Learning Activities for School Aged Kids (and the After School Linky!)My Profile

  6. Carrie

    Looks like some great activities to go with a wonderful book. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!
    Carrie recently posted…Flamingo Friday: Chilean & Caribbean FlamingosMy Profile

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