Around the world, this time is often heralded by celebration. In the U.S., children wear costumes and visit their neighbors to fill their bags with candy as a part of Halloween. In many Latin American countries, Día de los Muertos marks the time to honor one’s ancestors. And in the UK, Guy Fawkes Day is observed.
The Celts’ Samhain, the Romans’ Feralia, and All Saints Day are all said to have played a role in influencing today’s Halloween celebrations. Everything from costume wearing to trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples to the telling of ghost stories, all come down from these historic celebrations.
Here’s a list of 20 of our favorite Halloween words to keep it spooky in Spanish:
Frequently, foods are synonymous with the holidays they’re paired with. Halloween is no exception. These foods and drinks often come hand-in-hand with this holiday.
Take pumpkins for instance. Halloween falls right in the middle of pumpkin spice season, so you’re sure to find pumpkin pies, pumpkin spiced lattes, and even pumpkin flavored cereal bars. But most notoriously on Halloween, pumpkins are turned into jack o’ lanterns, seasonal decorations that haunt the stoops of many homes.
Spanish: la calabaza
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.
Spanish: maíz dulce
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.
Spanish: manzana dulce
Apple cider is a non-alcoholic, fizzy cider made from apples. It’s particularly popular among kids and adults alike.
Spanish: la sidra achampañada
During Día de los Muertos, there are two locations that stand out in this multi-day celebration. Here are the words for these places in Spanish.
During this celebration, families often gather at the cemetery to pray for their deceased ancestors.
Spanish: el cementerio
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.
Spanish: la ofrenda
There are many iconic ghostly figures that are often associated with this time of year. Here are several of the key cast members.
Spanish: la calaca (slang)
Spanish: la bruja
Spanish: el zombie
Spanish: la momia
Spanish: el fantasma
Spanish: la gárgola
Spanish: el monstruo
Spanish: el vampiro
Here are some of the key objects associated with Halloween and its counterparts.
The marigold is a type of flower the Aztecs believed it was 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.
Spanish: el cempasuchil
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.
Spanish: el disfraz
Spiderwebs, regardless of the time of year, are always a little creepy--especially if you realize you’ve walked into one. Cobwebs or spiderwebs are popular decorations during Halloween.
Spanish: la telaraña
Most children associate Halloween with two things: costumes and candy. In the U.S., October 31st means free candy. Children go from door to door in their neighborhoods, trick-or-treating. They knock on doors, show off their costumes, and collect candy in their buckets, pillowcases, or baskets.
Spanish: el dulce
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.
Spanish: la casa embrujada
Curious how to say “boo!” in Spanish? Here’s the word to help you get in a festive, spooky mood in Spanish:
Are you learning Spanish? You can check out our favorite Spanish language resources here.
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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