Here is a list of English words and phrases we use to talk about Halloween.
Cheers, from Teacher Newton
- All Hallows Eve – another name for Halloween.
- apparition – a transparent, ghostly figure.
- autumn – the season that comes after summer and before winter. Also known as “fall” in the USA.
- bag – a container for candy (US English) or sweets (British English) given out at Halloween to children who dress up in costumes and go “trick or treating” around their local neighbourhood.
- banshee – an unhappy, wailing ghost which features in Irish and Scottish folklore. Banshees are said to appear when somebody is about to die.
- bat – a small flying mammal, with leathery wings. according to legend, vampires are said to be able to turn into bats.
- black – the darkest colour, and the colour of night.
- black cat – black cats are said to bring good luck in parts of the UK and Ireland. According to folklore, black cats are said to have supernatural powers, and witches often keep them as pets, or familiars.
- blood – red liquid running through veins of people and warm blooded creatures.
- bloodcurdling – a chilling, scary sound. Often used to describe screams.
- bogeyman – a fictional scary person, used to frighten children who misbehave.
- bones – hard pieces of a person’s or animal’s skeleton.
- boo – a word which is sometimes used to frighten people, when playing tricks.
- brew – 1) to cook liquid (verb). 2) cooked beverage or dish, e.g. witches brew (noun).
- broom or broomstick – a type of brush with a long wooden handle, said to be used by witches to fly, according to legend.
- candle – a wax cylinder with a wick in the middle, that can be lit with a match to provide a source of light.
- candy – (US English) sweet treats given to children at Halloween.
- casket – a coffin.
- cat – a cute, fluffy mammal, said to be favourite pet of witches.
- cape – a long, voluminous outer garment, or cloak. Often worn by vampires.
- cauldron – a cooking pot, used by witches to brew spells.
- cemetery – a place where dead people are buried (British English)
- cloak – an outer garment, or cape.
- coffin – a container for a dead body. Generally made of wood and lined with silk, with a hinged lid.
- corpse – a dead body.
- costume – a make-believe outfit, worn for fun at Halloween.
- creepy – unsettling, or scary.
- dead – not alive.
- demon – a devil.
- devil – an evil spirit.
- disguise – a costume, often worn for fun at Halloween parties by adults and children alike. At Halloween, partygoers sometimes dress up as mummies, witches, werewolves or vampires!
- evil – malicious, bad, ill intentioned.
- fall – the season that comes after summer and before winter (American English). Known as “autumn” in the UK.
- familiar – a pet animal kept by witches, which is said to have the ability to change into human shape, according to folklore.
- fangs – sharp, pointy upper front teeth, designed for piercing flesh.
- festival – a celebration, or special event.
- fiend – a monster or demon.
- frighten – (verb) to scare.
- frightening – scary.
- ghost – undead spirit that haunts houses.
- ghostly – ghost-like.
- ghoul – a fictional flesh eating monster that is said to rob graves, according to folklore.
- goblin – a small, ugly, mischevious creature, with a reputation for causing trouble.
- gory – bloody, macabre.
- grave – a burial space for a coffin in a cemetery.
- graveyard – a place where dead people are buried (American English)
- Grim Reaper – the name traditionally used to symbolise Death. In British English folklore, Death is usually depicted as a skeleton in a long black cloak, carrying a scythe.
- grisly – horrid, gruesome, bloody.
- gruesome – horrible, bloody, macabre.
- haunted – a place frequented by ghosts or other spirits of the dead.
- horror – shock or fright. Horror films are very popular, and are often shown on television at Halloween.
- howl – a high pitched noise made by dogs and wolves.
- Jack O’ Lantern – a lantern carved from a pumpkin, with a candle inside.
- lantern – a type of lamp.
- magic – the power or ability to make things happen by casting spells, or entertaining people by performing tricks.
- mausoleum – an ornate, stone cemetery building, built to house the coffins of rich and famous people, or members of the same family.
- monster – a fearful, horrid, imaginary creature.
- moon – large, round satellite that revolves around the earth, which can be seen in the sky at night.
- mummy – a dead person, who was buried wrapped in bandages.
- nightmare – a scary, bad dream.
- October – the tenth month of the year.
- orange – a bright colour associated with Halloween and other autumn festivals, such as The Mexican Day of The Dead (El Día de los Muertos).
- phantom – a ghostly apparition.
- prank – a trick, or practical joke.
- pumpkin – an orange vegetable, which is often carved and hollowed out to make Halloween lanterns.
- scare – (verb) to frighten a person or animal.
- scary – something which is frightening.
- skull – the bony part of the head, attached to a person’s skeleton.
- scythe – a long, sharp, curved blade.
- shadow – a dark shape cast by an object positioned between a surface and a source of light, such as the moon.
- skeleton – the hard inner frame of person’s or animal’s body, formed from bones that join together.
- shock – fright.
- spell – a magic rite, cast by witches.
- spider – an insect with eight legs that spins webs.
- spirits – the ghosts of dead people.
- spooky – mildly scary, though often in a fun way.
- sweets – sugary treats given to children at Halloween (British English).
- tomb – a building where dead people are buried.
- tombstone – a large, upright stone placed at the head of a grave. Gravestones often have information about the person who is buried in the grave carved into them, such as their date of birth, when they died, and other information about their life.
- trick – a practical joke, or other act of deception.
- treat – a fun, unexpected surprise, designed to please someone.
- trick or treat – a popular Halloween custom in the UK and USA, where children dress up in costumes and visit people’s houses in search of sweets (British English) or candy (US English).
- vampire – an undead creature who sleeps in a coffin by day, and ventures out at night to bite people and drink their blood.
- wand – a stick used for casting magic spells.
- web – spiders spin these to catch flies.
- warlock – a male witch.
- werewolf – a person who turns into a wolf whenever there is a full moon. According to folklore, if a person is bitten by a werewolf, then they become a werewolf, too!
- Wicca – an ancient religion, practised by witches.
- wicked – bad or evil.
- witch – a woman believed to have magical powers.
- witchcraft – magic, practised by witches.
- wraith – a Scottish word that means ghost.
- zombie – an undead, flesh eating creature.
Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve,or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.
It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain; that such festivals may have had pagan roots; and that Samhain itself was Christianized as Halloween by the early Church.
Some believe, however, that Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday, separate from ancient festivals like Samhain.
Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising), attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films.
In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration.
Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.
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