Halloween is around the corner and this holiday is celebrated around the world with a variety of traditions.
First, if you’re looking for how to say “Halloween” in Spanish, it’s Noche de brujas, or literally: “night of witches”.
Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated in Latin America that shares its roots with Halloween, but they are actually different holidays. But we’ll get to that in just a moment.
Here’s a summary of what you’ll find in this article:
In the US, Canada and Ireland, pranks, costumes, trick-or-treating, and parties make up a significant part of traditions. In many Latin American countries, Día de los Muertos is the time to honor one’s ancestors. While in the UK, Guy Fawkes Day is feted with fireworks.
Halloween is one of the oldest holidays, too. The Celts’ Samhain, the Romans’ Feralia, and All Saints Day are all said to have influenced modern-day Halloween traditions. Everything from costume-wearing to trick-or-treating and bobbing for apples to the telling of ghost stories come down from these historic celebrations.
Halloween and Día de los Muertos share roots, but they aren’t the same holiday. For one, Halloween is only celebrated on one night, the 31st of October. Día de los Muertos on the other hand takes place over 3 days, kicking off on October 31st and wrapping up on November 2nd.
Halloween started with connections to the afterlife, but modern-day traditions are mostly removed from this connection. Instead, any reference to death are often related to fear, spookiness, or even horror. Día de los Muertos, in contrast, is directly connected to death. It’s all about celebrated the memories of departed loved ones. Calaveras and Catrinas (skeletons) are often depicted as lively and dancing or as musicians.
Día de los Muertos is seen as a time when deceased relatives are able to cross back over to visit the living world. Haloween doesn’t have this at all–in fact, the holiday is pretty disconnected from ancestry or deceased relatives.
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In the meantime, here are 21+ Halloween words in English and Spanish to get you started.
The food most often associated with Halloween is, you probably guessed it, candy. But there are other foods associated with the holiday. Here are just a few:
Candy is handed out as a part of Halloween tradition. In the US, children don costumes and visit their neighbors’ houses where they’re given candy. It’s common for them to say “trick or treat” after knocking at the door.
Pumpkins are associated with all things autumn. Halloween falls right in the middle of pumpkin season, so you’re sure to find pumpkin pies pumpkin spice everything. But most famously on Halloween, pumpkins are turned into jack o’ lanterns–seasonal decorations that haunt the stoops of many homes.
Candy corn is a sweet, sugary candy that mimics the appearance of corn kernels–hence its name. It was invented in the 1880s and went by the name “chicken feed”. Originally produced by Wunderlee Candy, this treat’s manufacturing process has hardly changed since its invention.
Caramel apples are a dessert made by dipping apples in hot caramel. They’re occasionally rolled in nuts or other toppings before the caramel cools.
Apple cider is a non-alcoholic, fizzy cider made from apples. It’s popular among kids and adults alike, particularly during the fall and winter seasons.
During Día de los Muertos, there are a few locations that stand out in this multi-day celebration. Here are the words for these places in Spanish.
During Día de los Muertos celebrations, families often gather at the cemetery to pray for their deceased ancestors.
An ofrenda is an altar that can be large and elaborate and is most often associated with Día de los Muertos. The origin of the ofrenda goes back to the Aztecs, who believed souls continued on, entering another realm after someone died. The ofrenda is setup in the home to honor the souls of that home’s ancestors.
Historically, children visit their neighbors when trick or treating. They walk from house to house in their neighborhood.
Here are some of the key objects associated with Halloween and its counterparts in Spanish.
The marigold is a type of flower the Aztecs believed to be the flower of the dead. This belief has persisted, and it is thought these flowers guide the spirits of the dead to their altars on Dia de los Muertos.
Come Halloween, many children (and even adults) enjoy dressing up. The tradition of wearing a costume on Halloween is said to have started with Celtic druids who wore costumes to commemorate the dead and tell fortunes as a part of Samhain.
Spiderwebs, regardless of the time of year, are always a little creepy–especially when you realize you’ve walked into one. Thankfully it’s only usually fake cobwebs or spiderwebs that are popular decorations during Halloween.
A haunted house is a building that is believed to be occupied by ghosts or spirits. These spirits can be heard walking around the houses, may cause objects to move, or waking dreams, among other things. During Halloween, another haunted house makes an appearance. These attractions are simulations where you’re sure to get a good scare as you’re chased from room to room by actors in terrifying costumes.
Curious how to say “boo!” in Spanish? Here’s the word to help you get in a festive, spooky mood in Spanish.
What about you? What spooky words do you know in other languages? We’d love to hear them in the comments!
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