Halloween is around the corner, and in France, it’s been a trend for the past few years, especially in big cities. So to help get you in the mood for des fantômes (m.) (ghosts) and des sorcières (f.) (witches), let’s look at some French vocabulary for Halloween.
Things that go bump in the night.
Est-ce que vous vous déguisez (are you dressing up) this year? Kids aren’t the only ones who wear des costumes (m.) (costumes). Some of the classics are une momie (a mummy), un loup-garou (a werewolf), un zombie (a zombie), un monstre (a monster), un diable (a devil), or un vampire (a vampire). But not everyone wants to dress as something qui fait peur (scary; lit. that makes fear). You could also be un épouvantail (a scarecrow), un sorcier (a sorcerer), une fée (a fairy), une princesse (a princess), or un personnage (character) from a popular movie. You could also get very créatif (m.)/créative (f.) (creative) and dress as something d’actualité (in the news/topical) or from la culture populaire (pop culture). Or with de l’imagination (f.) (some imagination), the list goes on, and a lot of the time you have to deviner (guess) at the meaning of a costume.
Pour les enfants (For Kids)
Kids in France also love to go trick-or-treating. They walk around their neighborhood and frappent aux portes (knock on doors). When someone answers, they hold up their sacs (m.) (bags) and ask for bonbons (m.) (candy). If the person doesn’t give the kids candy, beware of the trick! Since no one needs to give kids any more ideas about espiègleries (f.) (mischief), we’ll leave that to your imagination. On n’est jamais trop prudent ! (better safe than sorry!; lit. one is never too careful). Best to just make sure you have enough candy.
Pour les adultes (For Adults)
Halloween isn’t just for kids. Adults also like to get dressed up. Do you wear your costume (m.) (costume) to work? Or maybe you go to une fête (a party) where everyone is dressed up. Even if you don’t go to any parties, you probably get une citrouille (a pumpkin) for a jack-o-lantern. You’ll carve un visage (a face) into it, and put une bougie (candle) inside so the face glows.
Maman j’ai peur ! (Mom I’m Scared!)
Halloween is a great time of year to watch des films (m.) d’horreur (horror movies) or maybe visit une maison hantée (a haunted house). It’s fun to crier (scream), as long as les cauchemars (m.) (nightmares) aren’t too bad. Now that summer is over and la nuit (the night) is longer, it’s the perfect time to visit des endroits inquiétants (eerie places), places qui donnent la chair de poule (that give goosebumps; lit. hen skin) for some good Halloween fun. Walk through les bois (m.) (the woods) dans le noir (in the dark), take a shortcut through le cimetière (the graveyard), visit that maison abandonnée (abandoned house) where you know there are probably no revenants (m.) (revenants, spirits). But you hear des bruits inquiétants (strange noises) and see things bouger (move): can you ever be sure what is vrai/réel (true/real) or just une apparition (apparition)?
Whatever you do for Halloween and however you use your new French vocabulary for Halloween, soyez prudents et amusez-vous ! (be stay safe and have fun!) Looking to build some more French vocabulary? Check out this post on social media terms. And if you’d like to learn French with the Language Garage, sign up for a free, no-obligation trial here.