Halloween and El Día de los Muertos in Spanish

día de muertos

To help get you in the mood for fantasmas (ghosts) and brujas (witches), let’s look at some Spanish vocabulary for Halloween and El Día de los Muertos.

El Día de Muertos

Even though it’s more related to an ancient pre-Columbian religious tradition created to commemorate the deaths of ancestors, Mexico has its own version of Halloween. It’s called Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and it’s a three-day celebration when people, gathering with their families, build their own very creative altares (altars), write funny calaveras (skull-poems) and offer agua (water), sal (salt) and pan de muerto (bread of the dead) to encourage a visit by the alma (soul) of their difuntos (departed) seres queridos (beloved ones).

Things that go bump in the night

Are you going to disfrazar (dress up, disguise yourself) as anything this year? Kids aren’t the only ones who wear disfraces (costumes). Some of the classics to dress as are una momia (a mummy), un hombre lobo (a werewolf), un zombi (a zombie), un monstruo (a monster), un diablo (a devil), or un vampiro (a vampire). But not everyone wants to dress as something tenebroso (scary). You could also be un espantapájaros (a scarecrow), un hechicero (a sorcerer), un hada (a fairy), una princesa (a princess), or un personaje (a character) from a popular movie. Some people get very creativa (creative) and dress as something from hechos actuales (current events) or cultura popular (pop culture). Or with imaginación (imagination), the list goes on, and a lot of the time you have to adivinar (guess) at the meaning of a costume.

Para los niños (For kids)

Kids in the US go trick-or-treating. They walk around their neighborhood and tocan las puertas (knock on doors). When someone answers, they hold up their bolsas (bags) and ask for golosinas (candy). If the person doesn’t give the kids candy, they risk the trick. Since no one needs to give kids any more ideas about fechorías (mischief) we’ll leave that to your imagination. Más vale prevenir que lamentar (better safe than sorry or, as it literally means in Spanish, better prevent than regret it). Make sure you have enough candy.

Para los adultos (For adults)

Halloween isn’t just for kids. Adults also like to get dressed up. Do you wear your disfraz (costume) to work? Or maybe you go to a fiesta (party) where everyone is dressed up. Even if you don’t go to any parties, you probably get a calabaza (pumpkin) for a jack-o-lantern. You’ll carve a rostro (face) into it, and put a vela (candle) inside so the face glows.

Tengo miedo (I’m scared)

Halloween is a great time of year to watch películas de terror (horror movies) or maybe visit a casa embrujada (haunted house). It’s fun to gritar (scream), as long as the pesadillas (nightmares) aren’t too bad. Now that the summer is long over and la noche (the night) is longer, it’s the perfect time to visit espeluznantes (spooky/eerie) places for some good Halloween fun. Walk through el bosque (the woods) in the oscuridad (dark), take a shortcut through el cementerio (the graveyard), visit that casa abandonada (abandoned house) where you know there are probably no fantasmas (ghosts). But you hear sonidos extraños (strange noises) and see things move con el rabillo del ojo (out of the corner of your eye), so you really never can be sure…

Whatever you do for Halloween, stay safe, and ¡diviértete! (have fun!) Looking to improve your Spanish? Check out these posts for all sorts of helpful information. And if you’d like to learn Spanish with the Language Garage, sign up for a free, no-obligation trial.

Image on Flickr.

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