Although you can see people dressing like princesses and superheroes today, the original images of Halloween are much spookier. Think of things like ghosts, skeletons, witches and spiders.
However, even though these images are popular in the Halloween season, it's not the only time of year we think about them. In fact, many of these scary ideas are part of the English people use every day.
This time, let's take a look at common English words and expressions related to the dark topics often connected with Halloween.
Skeletons in the closet
This expression refers to an embarrassing fact that you want to keep secret. It is often used when talking about politicians, celebrities and other well-known people.
Come back to haunt you
"Haunt" is a verb we use to refer to ghosts who regularly appear in a place. However, just like spirits that will not go away, it can also refer to anything that continues to affect or cause problems for someone.
It can be used for things like memories and emotions, or for people or events from the past.
Nail in the coffin
"Coffins" are long boxes that dead bodies are placed inside before being put into the ground. A "nail in the coffin" is an action or event that leads to the failure of something that is already going wrong.
Dig (your) own grave
A "grave" is a place in the ground where you can find the coffins we mentioned earlier.
The expression "digging your own grave" means doing something that will cause you problems in the future. It's another way of saying that someone is killing, or harming, themselves.
Work the graveyard shift
A "graveyard" is a field where the bodies of dead people are buried. The graveyard shift is another name for the overnight shift, when workers begin very late at night and end in the morning.
Have you ever been to a place where there are almost no people and very little activity? These empty, quiet areas often give us a creepy, unpleasant feeling. We call these places "ghost towns."
Make one’s blood boil
If your blood is boiling, it means you are extremely angry!
Something that is "stiff" is hard and unable to bend easily. So if you are "scared stiff," you are so scared that you cannot move!
Like a bat out of hell
Bats are the flying animals many people associate with vampires. If something is moving "like a bat out of hell," it's another way of saying it's moving very quickly.
English is a language with many idioms and unique expressions. You may feel discouraged trying to memorize everything, but if you focus on a specific theme, you'll be surprised at how much you can learn!
Remember: the expressions we've covered this time can be used any time of the year. So, don't wait for Halloween to give them a try in your conversations!
This article was adapted from an original written by Sana Nozaki.