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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Meaning: People believe that witches appear at midnight, so they refer to that time as the witching hour.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Meaning: an informal way of describing someone as extremely attractive.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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