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Halloween Vocabulary

Do you celebrate Halloween? 

In many countries, it’s a very popular fall celebration full of traditions. It happens every year on October 31.

Before Halloween, families often visit the pumpkin patch. They choose a pumpkin to bring home and carve into a jack-o’-lantern. On Halloween night, these jack-o’-lanterns are put outside of the house with a light or candle inside them.

Many children go trick-or-treating on Halloween. Some kids dress up in spooky costumes like ghosts, vampires, or witches. Others prefer dressing as movie characters, animals, and all sorts of other fun things.

A fantastic Halloween activity is to visit a haunted house. The best ones have things like monsters and coffins that someone jumps out of to scare you. They also have eerie sounds and scary music. 

A lot of people go to Halloween parties; guests usually wear costumes. Some parties involve pumpkin-carving contests, costume contests, and apple bobbing; others are just a chance to listen to music, watch scary movies, have some drinks, and eat candy. 

Check your understanding 

How many of the Halloween words did you understand? Read the definitions below to see how you did!

1. Fall

→ (noun) The season between summer and winter 

Fall is my favourite season because I love watching the leaves on the trees change to orange, red, and yellow.

2. Pumpkin patch

→ (noun) A garden or farm where pumpkins are grown and often sold

Make sure you wear boots when you go to the pumpkin patch—it can be very muddy!

3. Carve

→ (verb) To make something (like a sculpture) out of a particular material by cutting it

He’s a very talented artist. He carves huge wooden sculptures that look like different animals.

4. Jack-o’-lantern

→ (noun) A pumpkin with its insides removed and a face cut into it

I always choose a small pumpkin for my jack-o’-lantern because it’s less work to clean and carve.

5. Trick-or-treating

→ (verb) A Halloween tradition where children knock on people’s doors, yell “trick or treat,” and receive candy. 

When I used to go trick-or-treating as a child, I always knew which houses would give the best candy. 

6. Dress up

→ (verb) To put on a costume

I love Halloween because I get to dress up and pretend I’m someone else!

7. Spooky

→ (adjective) Strange and frightening

There’s a beautiful forest near our house but we never walk through it at night. It’s too spooky! 

8. Ghost

→ The soul of a dead person

That ghost costume isn’t very creative. It’s just a bedsheet with holes cut out for the eyes. 

9. Vampire

→ A dead person who comes out at night to bite and suck the blood of living people

Literature’s most famous vampire is Count Dracula.

10. Witch

→ (noun) A woman who is thought to have magic powers

The children think the old woman down the street is a witch because she’s always dressed in black and she has a black cat.

11. Haunted house

→ (noun) A house or other area decorated in a scary way for people visit (usually around Halloween)

There’s a great haunted house in our town. Everyone always runs out of there screaming. 

12. Monster

→ (noun) A horrible, frightening imaginary creature

My son says he can’t sleep in his bedroom because there’s a monster under his bed.

13. Coffin

→ (noun) A box in which a dead person is buried

In every story and movie, vampires always sleep in a coffin.

14. Eerie

→ (adjective) Strange and mysterious

When the sun starts to set in the evening, it makes eerie shadows in my bedroom. 

15. Apple bobbing

→ (noun) A game in which players try to take an apple from a basin of water using only their teeth

Apple bobbing is a lot of fun but it’s harder than it looks!

Andrea is a Gabby Academy coach and education technolgy writer based in Vancouver, Canada.