The Haunted Castle is a highly interactive Halloween adventure. Vocabulary is simple enough for young readers grades 1-3 but the story would be fun for older students and for adults. Since the text reads aloud, even Pre-K children would enjoy this activity.
New for this year are versions of The Haunted Castle to run in Clicker 5® and HyperStudio 5®. I’ve also added more sounds to the ICS version. Now the skeletons are ticklish!
Also added is an exciting writing activity for IntelliTools Classroom Suite®, and an extensive Halloween clip art collection. Older students and adults will especially enjoy using these new resources.
Exploring The Haunted Castle
The story starts with trick or treaters deciding to try out a spooky-looking castle. Once inside, they are informed that they are trapped until they locate the front door key! They help out several benevolent ghosts in the first few rooms, and meet a helpful giant spider who puts them back on the best route when they wander.
Once they reach the throne room, things take a scary turn. The floor is covered with skeletons! But when they pick up the fallen crown of the king, the skeletons disappear and some extremely realistic ghosts appear. The explorers continue on through the definitely haunted castle, to many more surprises.
I won’t give away the location of the key, nor what lurks at the top of the tower. The Haunted Castle seems like a real, if decidedly strange, location thanks to the realistic scenes rendered in a 3D CAD program. The throne room ghosts are translucent figures in ancient costume.
But it is the sound effects that really create the spooky atmosphere. Students with visual deficits can follow the story by the sounds, which give a true sense of the physical surroundings. Footsteps sound labored going up the spiral stairs to the tower. Real bats squeak eerily. Doors creak–and slam shut and lock.
To make the adventure more like a real-life exploration, students click directly on the illustrations to move around and interact with objects. To open a door, click on the handle. Where the next action is to move in some specific direction, click an arrow.
To pick up the crown or key, click on the object. Besides having something happen to advance the story plot, clicking can elicit various sounds. Try clicking the sword, the skeleton guards, the mirror, the junk in the cellar, and the demon face over the door as you leave. These clicks are optional but fun.
The Haunted Castle is a great way to kick off your Halloween! Enjoy it as an online book, in HyperStudio 5, in Clicker 5, and in an updated version for Classroom Suite.
ICS Writing Activity
Return To Haunted Castle is a bit different from most student writing. Often writing activities are a form of comprehension assessment, challenging students to recap what they have read in their own words.
This activity takes students back to the castle location a year later, and part of their assignment is to write about what has changed as they explore. It’s open-ended, yet requires them to remember what they read in the original story.
The Castle was a very scary place on their first visit, but is not so creepy this time. Most strange places are scary at first, but seem friendlier later. I’ve condensed this second trip into seventeen writing pages. Students should plan to work on this project over several sessions. Of course, you can delete pages for a shorter journal.
Clicking a Pictures button opens a set of clip art toolbars from which students can add items to any page to personalize their books if they wish. Some students may want to add animation as well. In that case you should add the Play IntelliMation action to each page.
The “background” pictures on each page are actually non-mouse response floating pictures. Since they are pre-set on Design Layer -50, animation can go behind them and then reappear. See the Design Layers II post for details.
Another option would be to add Page Sounds, or even to add transparent Page Buttons here and there on the background to play more sounds when objects in the picture are clicked.
This writing activity is an ambitious one, but I think students will have a lot of fun making their own scary Halloween adventure book!
Bonus: Haunted Clip Art
The Haunted Clip Art Collection includes many of the props, ghosts, skeletons, and equipment from The Haunted Castle, and a few extras that never made it onstage.
These are in .gif format, and should work well in any Halloween activity you may create. For a preview, take a look at this art in Annie’s Resource Attic Gallery by clicking here. But don’t forget come back here and download your goodies!
Applications needed: Classroom Suite, Clicker 5, HyperStudio 5, web browser
Subject area: Reading, Writing, Holidays.
Level: Grades 1-3 reading, Grades 1-7 writing
Desktop version of the Haunted Castle link: HauntedCastleDesktop.zip The Haunted Castle interactive book to read from the desktop using a web browser. For details on using Annie’s Books Online, click here.
HauntedCastleFile.zip (81.3 MB) The Haunted Castle interactive adventure and the wring activity Return To Haunted Castle in Classroom Suite v.3 or later. Custom IntelliKeys overlays attached. See the Special Needs Access section on the System Reqs page for information on controlling the Classroom Suite version from PRC devices.
HauntedDynavox.zip (2.1 MB) The Haunted Castle and Return To Haunted Castle activity overlays saved as a Dynavox® package files.
HauntedCastleClick.zip (17.7 MB) The Haunted Castle interactive activity in Clicker 5. Has no movies, but you may get a warning on Clicker 5 Win. Close the warning, and re-save. Everything will function, and you should not get the warning again.