Today's lesson will highlight clips from our Yabla Spanish library to teach you some pertinent terms to talk about many people's favorite holiday... Halloween!!! So get ready, and enjoy this lesson about Halloween in Spanish!
Although Halloween is primarily thought of as a North American holiday, its fun festivities have been adopted by many countries throughout the world. When we speak about Halloween in Spanish, we typically keep its English name:
Esta noche es Halloween y seguro que muchas veces habéis pensado disfrazaros con vuestra mascota
Tonight is Halloween and surely you've thought many times of dressing up with your pet
Captions 137-138, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: CoatísPlay Caption
This caption describes the common Halloween costumbre (custom) of disfrazarse (dressing up). You'll note from the previous sentence that costumbre means "custom" or "tradition" rather than "costume" as you might think, making it somewhat of a false cognate. On the other hand, the correct way to say "the costume" in Spanish is el disfraz.
Ay, Aurelito, ¿me prestarías un disfraz?
Oh, Aurelito, would you lend me a costume?
Caption 32, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
What other vocabulary words might we associate with Halloween? We might start by reviewing some Spanish vocabulary for the autumn season since Halloween falls at that time of year. We could then move on to some of Halloween's personajes más espeluznantes (spookiest characters).
Let's look at some video clips that include the names of some of the most typical Halloween characters:
¿Quién no ha querido a una diosa licántropa?
Who hasn't loved a werewolf goddess?
Caption 5, Shakira LobaPlay Caption
porque sí sé... ahí está el monstruo.
because I know... here's the monster.
Caption 29, Antonio Vargas - Artista ComicPlay Caption
El fantasma y la loca se quieren casar
The ghost and the madwoman want to get married
Caption 24, Gloria Trevi PsicofoníaPlay Caption
En la época, eran utilizadas para espantar a las brujas
In the era, they were used to scare away witches
Caption 46, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 2Play Caption
Let's look at another verb that means "to frighten" or "scare":
o cuando hay una fecha importante, ellos salen... a divertir y a asustar a la gente porque están como unos diablos.
or when there is an important date, they go out... to amuse and to frighten people because they're [dressed] like devils.
Captions 45-46, El Trip IbizaPlay Caption
And, in addition to asustar, we learn the word for another Halloween character: un diablo (a devil). Let's see another verb that means "to scare":
¡Me da miedo! -¡Ahí te tienes que quedar, ya está!
It scares me! -There you have to stay, ready!
Caption 24, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 7Play Caption
Note that the noun el miedo means "the fear," and the verb dar miedo (literally "to give fear") can thus mean either "to scare" or "be scary." When employed in conjunction with an indirect object pronoun to indicate to whom this action is happening (le in this case, which corresponds with usted), the most common translation is "to scare," as we see in this caption.
So, what if we want to say that we "are" or "feel scared"? A common verb for this is tener miedo (literally "to have fear"), as seen in this caption with the Halloween-appropriate noun la oscuridad (the dark/darkness):
¡Porque le tiene miedo a la oscuridad!
Because he's afraid of the dark!Play Caption
The reflexive form of asustar, asustarse, also means "to be" or "get scared":
Aparecieron unos cazadores, y el patito se asustó mucho
Some hunters appeared, and the duckling got really scared
Caption 36, Cleer El patito feoPlay Caption
Yet another way to talk about being "scared" in Spanish is with adjectives like asustado (scared) or aterrorizado (terrified):
Llegan muy asustados, muy aterrorizados,
They arrive very scared, very terrified,
Caption 25, Los Reporteros Caza con Galgo - Part 3Play Caption
For more on the ways in which verbs, adjectives, and nouns can be used to describe our feelings, be sure to check out our lesson on expressing emotions in Spanish.
Let's conclude this section with a few ways to express the concept of "scary":
¡Uy, qué miedo!
Oh, how scary!Play Caption
Literally meaning "What fear!" the Spanish expression ¡Qué miedo! is a common way to say "how scary" something is. We can also use our previously-mentioned verb dar miedo (this time without the indirect object pronoun) to convey the idea of "being scary":
Eh... Sí. Lo desconocido siempre da miedo.
Um... Yes. The unknown is always scary.
Caption 13, Yago 13 La verdad - Part 8Play Caption
We can also say "scary" with adjectives like escalofriante, sinestro/a, or miedoso/a:
¿Y esa calavera tan miedosa?
And that very scary skull?
Caption 20, Guillermina y Candelario Un pez mágico - Part 2Play Caption
And with the word for "the skull" in Spanish (la calavera), we come to our last category: Halloween objects!
If we know how to say "skull," we had better find out how to say "skeleton" in Spanish:
con una forma parecida a la del esqueleto de un dinosaurio,
with a shape similar to that of a dinosaur's skeleton,Play Caption
So, where might we find such esqueletos? Why, in their tumbas (graves) in el cementerio (the cemetery) of course!
en Ricardo, en su tumba en el cementerio,
about Ricardo in his grave in the cemetery,
Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 8Play Caption
So, let's set the scene in that cemetery with a "full moon" in Spanish, which might inspire some hombre lobo (another word for "werewolf") to come out:
Y la luna llena Por los cielos azulosos, infinitos y profundos esparcía su luz blanca
And the full moon In the bluish skies, infinite and profound, scattered its white lightPlay Caption
Now, let's focus on some slightly less ominous symbols of Halloween such as el gato negro (the black cat), seen in its diminutive form in the following caption:
También está este gatito negro
There's also this black kitty
Caption 73, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinasPlay Caption
The "pumpkin" is, perhaps, the most famed Halloween symbol of all:
Justo en el doblez del papel, trazamos la mitad de la calabaza.
Right on the fold of the paper, we draw half of the pumpkin.
Caption 67, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertosPlay Caption
And finally, we associate Halloween with trick-or-treating, or going door to door to get "candy":
Y ahora cortamos pedacitos de caramelo.
And now we cut little pieces of candy.
Caption 38, Manos a la obra Postres de MinecraftPlay Caption
The way to say "Trick or treat!" varies from region to region, but some popular ways are: "Dulce o truco" in Argentina, "Dulce o travesura" in Mexico, and the more literal but less accurate "Truco o trato" (from the verb "tratar," or "to treat") in Spain, where they also say "Dulce o caramelo." In Colombia, you might hear "Triqui, triqui," where kids sing the following song:
Triqui triqui Halloween/Quiero dulces para mí/Si no hay dulces para mí/se le crece la naríz,
which translates as:
Trick or treat, Halloween/I want treats for me/If there are no treats for me/Your nose will grow.
Meanwhile, Pedir dulce o truco/travesura, etc. can be used to talk about the action of "trick-or-treating."
Let’s conclude today’s lesson with a review of the Halloween vocabulary we have learned:
el Halloween: Halloween
¡Feliz Halloween! Happy Halloween!
difrazarse: to dress up
el disfraz: the costume
la costumbre: the custom, tradition
el personaje: the character
el/la licántropo/a: the werewolf
el hombre lobo: the werewolf
el monstruo: the monster
el fantasma: the ghost
el/la loco/a: the madman/madwoman
la bruja: the witch
el diablo: the devil
espantar: to scare away
asustar: to scare
el miedo: the fear
dar miedo: to scare/be scary
tener miedo: to be scared
asustarse: to be/get scared
¡Qué miedo! How scary!
la oscuridad: the darkness/dark
la calavera: the skull
el esqueleto: the skeletonla tumba: the grave
el cementerio: the cemetery
la luna llena: the full moon
el gato negro: the black cat
la calabaza: the pumkin
el caramelo: the candy
¡Dulce o truco/travesura/caramelo! Trick or treat!
¡Truco o trato! Trick or treat!
¡Triqui triqui! Trick or treat!
Pedir dulce o truco/travesura: to go trick or treating
We hope you've enjoyed this lesson about Halloween in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
¡Feliz Halloween! (Happy Halloween!).