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Quick English: Halloween Vocabulary

4 min read
21 October 2020
Halloween pumpkins craved

Halloween is officially around the corner and many people have been discussing costumes and candy. Would you be able to have a halloween chat in English? It may not be the first English terminology you learn but studying up on common terminology, especially holiday-related terms should make talking about your nights out easier. How many halloween-related words can you recognize? 


Boogeyman (US) / Bogeyman (UK) (noun)

An imaginary spirit used to scare children.

"Did you check under the bed for the boogeyman?"

What kind of ghost has the best dance moves?
The boogeyman! 


Bloodcurdling (adjective)

To invoke extreme fear or terror. 

"The screams were bloodcurlding, it sent shivers down my back." 


Cackle (noun, verb)

A loud, shrill laugh, usually associated with cartoony witches. Can also be used as the verb "to cackle."

"The cackle at the end of 'Thriller' always scares me."


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Costume (US) / Fancy Dress (UK) (noun)

The clothing worn by someone to look like someone else.

"What's your costume for the Halloween party? Are you dressing up as a witch or a cat?"
"Are you going in fancy dress to the party tonight?"


Cauldron (adjective)

A big cast iron pot for cooking over an open fire. In fiction, witches would cook potions in their cauldrons. 

"The halloween party was great, the hot food was served in a big cauldron."


Ghoulish (adjective)

Something that suggests the horror and fear of ghouls or death.

"Hiram has such a ghoulish sense of humor. He's always joking about death."


Gruesome (adjective)

Something that is very unpleasant and fills someone with horror.

"I thought Marion's ghost story was so gruesome!"


Jack-'o-Lantern (noun)

An emptied, hollowed pumpkin, with a face or other carving cut into it.

"Chase made his pumpkin into a jack-'o-lantern with a scene from A Nightmare Before Christmas." 


Masquerade (noun, verb)

To dress up or pretend to be someone else. Can also be used as a verb: "to masquerade".

"I love going to masquerade balls. It's so much fun trying to guess who is who."


Petrify (verb)

To make someone extremely frightened.

"I was petrified after watching The Exorcist for the first time."


Spine-Tingling (adjective)

A sensation of fear or excitement; something that sends chills down one's spine.

"Clarice was hoping for a spine-tingling experience at the haunted house."


Superstition (noun)

The belief in something that is not scientific but rather connected to magic or something supernatural.

"People always think my black cat is superstitious, but she's just a neighbourhood pet!"


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Trick-or-Treat (verb)

To go out and collect candy around the neighborhood on or around Halloween night while wearing a costume. It's also the phrase children will say when approaching someone for candy. 

Trick or Treat
Smell my feet
Give me something good to eat
If you don't, I don't care
I'll pull down your underwear 


Warlock (noun)

A warlock is the equivalent of a male witch and someone who practices sorcery, magic and fortune telling. 

"Jimmy makes all these homemade potions for his health – he's like a warlock."  


Now you've learnt some Halloween themed vocabulary, see if you can spell out the names of some monsters from America, Australia and Canada:


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