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English Idioms Related to Halloween

Published by My Lingua Academy on

English Idioms Related to Halloween

Halloween is a Christian holiday originating way back in history to the pagan Celtic festival known as Samhain. People believed that on that day souls of the dead returned to their homes; therefore, they wore costumes and lit bonfires to ward off evil spirits. Although it is not a bank holiday in the UK, Halloween is a holiday for fun and entertainment when people attend special Halloween parties dressed up in costumes, watch horror movies all night while children usually go trick-and-treating.

So, in that spirit, let’s look at some scary and some not so scary idioms related to or inspired by Halloween.

A skeleton in the closet/cupboard

Meaning: the idiom refers to a secret people hide from others. It may be related to something they’re ashamed of or something unpleasant, even shocking.

For example:

  • Jane has a skeleton in the closet. Her ex-husband was in prison!
  • Johnatan has a skeleton in the closet. As a matter of fact, he has a child with another woman, and he doesn’t know how to tell his girlfriend.
 11 English Idioms Related to Halloween
11 English Idioms Related to Halloween

Skeleton staff

Meaning:  just enough staff to keep a company working.

  • Only skeleton staff was working for New Year’s Eve.
  • The robbers managed to get into the bank unnoticed because there was only skeleton staff on duty.

Scared stiff/scared to death

Meaning: be so scared that you can’t move.

For example:

  • Sara was scared stiff when she saw a man dressed in black holding a gun at the door.
  • The children were scared to death when the man in a skeleton costume entered the room.

Make your blood run cold

Meaning: refers to something that makes you very scared.

For example:

  • The sound of the thief’s voice made Sofia’s blood run cold.
  • The scene from the horror movie he was watching made Bill’s blood run cold.
 11 English Idioms Related to Halloween
11 English Idioms Related to Halloween

Witch-hunt

Meaning: an attempt to find and punish people regarded as dangerous to society.

  • As soon as he became the president, he carried out a witch-hunt against his opponents.
  • The police conducted a severe witch-hunt after the terrorist attack.

Witching hour

Meaning: People believe that witches appear at midnight, so they refer to that time as the witching hour.

For example:

  • Halloween is the only day when our parents let us stay up after the witching hour.
  • It was just after the witching hour when we heard steps and knocking on the door.

Not a cat in hell’s chance

Meaning: there is no possibility of achieving anything.

For example:

  • They haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of winning the marathon. They’re far behind. 
  • Helen doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of finishing the project before the deadline. She’s got a lot of work to do.

Like a bat out of hell

Meaning: to move very fast.

For example:

  • Ryan was driving like a bat out of hell when he heard his wife was going to have a baby.
  • Janet stormed out of the room like a bat out of hell when she heard a strange sound coming from the balcony. 
 11 English Idioms Related to Halloween
11 English Idioms Related to Halloween

Drop-dead gorgeous

Meaning: an informal way of describing someone as extremely attractive.

For example:

  • Tom’s girlfriend is drop-dead gorgeous pretty. I wonder where he met her.
  • He looks so plain and simple, unlike his drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend.

Give someone the creeps

Meaning: to feel frightened and uncomfortable because of something strange or peculiar.

For example:

  • That old house in the woods gives me the creeps. I could never live in such a lonely place.
  • Doesn’t that man over there looks and behaves strangely? He gives me the creeps.

Make someone’s hair stand on end

Meaning: to make someone very scared.

For example:

  • I’ve heard about some things they did to the prisoners. It made my hair stand on end.
  • The horror film we watched last night made my hair stand on end. Besides, I couldn’t sleep afterwards.

Watch the video by http://www.en.islcollective.com to learn more about Halloween.

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