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


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.

Let me take your English to the next level. If you feel that you are not making much progress with your English or as quickly as your academic or professional requirements demand, how about trying my reasonably-priced one-to-one English lessons that I can tailor to whatever needs you may have like sitting forthcoming English certification exams, or taking part in business meetings with your international colleagues, or passing your job interview in English. Book an online English lesson with me or one of my fellow certified and experienced English teachers, and see for yourself. You won’t feel let down because we are going to make sure that you have a good run for the money you are investing in your linguistic education. Waste no time and take a trial test for only 1 euro.

My Lingua Academy

My Lingua Academy is an online school of English language. We give one-on-one lessons to students of English of all ages and all levels of knowledge all around the world. With us you can prepare for written assignments and exams, attend a general or business English course, or have conversation classes with qualified English teachers who have years of experience.


Leave a Reply