15 Halloween Idioms in English You Should Know

Halloween is a time for spooky decorations, costumes, and candy. But did you know that it’s also a great opportunity to learn some fun English idioms? These expressions can add some extra flair to your language skills and make you sound like a native speaker. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common Halloween idioms and their meanings.

What Are Halloween Idioms?

Halloween is a spooky and fun holiday celebrated in many countries around the world. It’s a time for dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins, and telling ghost stories. But did you know that there are also many Halloween idioms in the English language? These idioms are expressions that have a figurative meaning that is different from their literal meaning.

15 Halloween Idioms in English You Should Know Pin

Here are some examples of Halloween idioms that you may have heard before:

Idioms Meanings
Bat an eye To not show any shock or surprise.
Dead ringer Someone who looks exactly like someone else.
Dig one’s own grave To do something that causes one’s own downfall or trouble.
Drop-dead gorgeous Extremely attractive or stunning.
Over my dead body Something that will not happen unless I’m dead and gone.

Halloween Idioms

Idioms Meaning and Example
Ghost of a chance A very small chance of success.

Example: “There’s a ghost of a chance that we’ll see a real ghost tonight!”

Skeleton in the closet A secret source of shame.

Example: “Everyone has a skeleton in the closet, but on Halloween, we get to bring them out!”

Make one’s blood boil To make someone very angry.

Example: “Stealing candy on Halloween would make anyone’s blood boil!”

Witching hour A time late at night associated with supernatural events.

Example: “We’ll tell ghost stories at the witching hour.”

Graveyard shift Working hours from late at night to early morning.

Example: “He’s working the graveyard shift on Halloween night.”

Scared stiff Extremely scared.

Example: “That haunted house left me scared stiff!”

Like a bat out of hell Moving very fast.

Example: “She ran like a bat out of hell when she saw the spider.”

Dead as a doornail Completely dead or devoid of life.

Example: “The jack-o’-lantern’s candle is dead as a doornail.”

Drop-dead gorgeous Extremely attractive.

Example: “She dressed up as a vampire and looked drop-dead gorgeous.”

Bite the bullet To endure a painful experience.

Example: “I’ll have to bite the bullet and go through the haunted maze.”

Dig one’s own grave To do something that causes one’s own downfall.

Example: “By not checking his candy, he dug his own grave.”

Over my dead body Something that will not happen unless I’m dead.

Example: “You’ll eat all the Halloween candy over my dead body!”

A real scream Very funny or amusing.

Example: “That Halloween comedy was a real scream!”

Common Halloween Idioms 

Ghost town

Meaning:

The phrase “ghost town” is used to describe a place that is no longer inhabited or has significantly reduced population. It can refer to a town that was once thriving but has since been abandoned, or a place that has lost its previous importance or relevance.

Usage:

The idiom “ghost town” is commonly used in everyday conversation, especially when referring to a place that has become empty or deserted. It can be used to describe a physical location, such as a town or city, or a situation where there are few or no people around.

Examples:

  • “I drove through the town I grew up in, and it’s become a ghost town since the factory closed down.”
  • “During the pandemic, the usually busy city center became a ghost town as people stayed home.”
  • “The amusement park was once a popular destination, but now it’s a ghost town with only a few attractions still open.”

Witching Hour

Meaning: 

The “witching hour” is the time of night, usually between 12:00 AM and 3:00 AM, when supernatural events are believed to be more likely to occur.

Usage:

The phrase is often used to describe a time of heightened activity or anticipation, especially during Halloween.

Examples: 

During Halloween, we often stay up late, waiting for the witching hour to arrive. Some people believe that ghosts and spirits are more active during this time, so they light candles or perform rituals to protect themselves.

Skeleton Crew

Meaning:

The term “skeleton crew” is derived from the nautical phrase “skeleton watch,” which referred to a small group of sailors who remained aboard a ship during the night. The phrase later evolved to refer to any minimal staffing necessary to keep a business or organization running.

Usage:

The phrase “skeleton crew” is often used in the context of businesses or organizations that operate with minimal staff during holidays or other periods of low activity. For example, a retail store might operate with a skeleton crew on Christmas Day, when most employees take the day off.

Examples:

  • “We’ll be working with a skeleton crew during the holiday season, so please plan accordingly.”
  • “The office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but we’ll have a skeleton crew working on Friday.”
  • “We’re short-staffed today, so we’ll be running with a skeleton crew until the rest of the team can get back.”

Graveyard Shift

Meaning: 

The “graveyard shift” refers to the overnight shift, typically from midnight to 8 a.m.

Usage: 

This phrase is commonly used to describe overnight work shifts.

Examples:

  • “I work the graveyard shift at the hospital, so I’m used to being up all night.”
  • “The convenience store is open 24 hours, so they have employees working the graveyard shift.”

Make One’s Blood Run Cold

Meaning:

The phrase “make one’s blood run cold” is used to convey a sense of fear or horror. It suggests that something is so terrifying that it causes a physical reaction in the body, such as goosebumps or a racing heartbeat.

Usage:

We can use this idiom to describe a wide range of situations, from horror movies to real-life experiences. For example, we might say that a news report about a serial killer made our blood run cold, or that a ghost story told around a campfire gave us chills.

Examples:

  • The thought of being lost in a dark forest at night makes our blood run cold.
  • Hearing about a plane crash on the news always makes our blood run cold.
  • The horror movie we watched last night was so scary that it made our blood run cold.

Like a Bat Out of Hell

Meaning:

The phrase “like a bat out of hell” is an idiomatic expression that means to move very quickly or to act in a frenzied or chaotic manner. It is often used to describe a situation where time is of the essence or where there is a sense of urgency or intensity.

Usage:

This idiom can be used in a variety of contexts, from describing someone who is running late for an important meeting to describing a chaotic scene in a movie or TV show. It is often used in informal or colloquial language, and it can convey a sense of excitement or urgency.

Examples:

  • “We need to finish this project like a bat out of hell if we want to meet the deadline.”
  • “The car sped away from the scene of the crime like a bat out of hell.”
  • “The kids ran through the house like a bat out of hell, knocking over everything in their path.”

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Last Updated on November 28, 2023

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