Ready to give your Halloween a Día de los Muertes shade? This list of spooky and scary Spanish words will help you do the trick (or treat)!
Halloween Vocabulary in Spanish
In Spanish, the event itself has a special name – la Noche de Brujas, or the Night of Witches. However, the word Halloween is not uncommon either.
- la calabaza /lah kah-lah-BAH-thah/— a pumpkin. You can use this word outside Halloween contexts to refer to any kind of squash. And if you come across a phrase la calabaza iluminada /lah kah-lah-BAH-thah ee-loo-mee-NAH-dah/, be sure it is the Spanish for the chief Halloween attribute – the jack-o’-lantern – since it is the literal description of what it really is – an illuminated pumpkin.
- los dulces /lohs DOOL-thess/— candy. When used without any article, dulce means ‘sweet’.
- truco o trato /TROO-koh oh TRAH-toh/— trick or treat. While truco IS the Spanish for ‘trick’, trato is not exactly a treat; in certain contexts, it can mean ‘treatment’ (of somebody by somebody), but the chief meaning of the word is 'an agreement'. If you do not want to go into all the trouble, go for the English phrase – it is used just as often.
- la araña /lah ah-RAH-nya/— spider. Remember Charlotte’s children who stayed to live with Wilbur in the barn? The third little spider’s name was Aranea for a good reason, then!
- la telaraña /lah teh-lah-RAH-nya/— cobweb. If you break the word into its constituents, you will find the maker (araña) and the product (la tela – a net). In other contexts, la telaraña can mean a fishing net or a mass of tangled wires (you know the pain!)
- el gato negro /ehl GAH-toh NEHG-roh/— a black cat. This should not be a problem if you learned the colors from our article.
- el murciélago /ehl moor-see-YEH-lah-goh/— a bat. The Spanish word was derived from two Latin words: mus (mouse) and caeculus (diminutive for blind), so basically it is a blind mouse (which of course it is not). The English word bat was derived from the Old Norse leðrblaka meaning leather flapper. It’s amazing how different cultures use different associations for the same object of reality, isn’t it?
- el disfraz /ehl dees-PHRASS/ — a costume. In other contexts, the word may be translated as disguise. And if you are looking for a Spanish verb that will help you say whom you are going to dress up as, do not look any other way – disfrazarse is the word you need. E.g.: Todos los niños se disfrazan en la Noche de Brujas.
- la máscara /lah MASS-kah-rah/ — a mask. The pronunciation of the Spanish word is not to be confused with that of the English word mascara, despite the fact that the latter was actually derived from the former.
- el maquillaje /ehl mah-kee-YAH-kheh/ — make up. The spelling may be tricky, but once you say it aloud you'll spot the similarity with the English word.
- el superhéroe /ehl soo-pehr-EH-roh-eh/– a superhero. The feminine gender of the word would be la superheroína /lah soo-pehr-eh-roh-EE-nah/, but female superheroes are often addressed as la superhéroe.
- el esqueleto /ehl ess-keh-LEH-toh/— a skeleton. Remember the well-familiar English word and the fact that the Spanish will struggle to pronounce a word with the initial s – they will always add an e- to reduce the pronunciation effort. Oh, and shift the stress! Easy!
- el duende /ehl DWEHN-deh/— a goblin, an elf, or an imp. In fact, any small magical creature, both kind and evil, may be called duende, as well as a charming person may be described as someone who has duende.
- el fantasma /ehl fun-TASS-mah/— ghost. Don’t let the final letter trick you into using the wrong article – fantasma has Greek origins, thus it is a masculine noun. To remember the word itself, think phantom of the opera.
- la bruja /lah BROO-khah/— a witch. What do witches ride? A broomstick! Start saying broomstick and the word will come to you! Plus, you can not only use it on Halloween, but on any other day as well if you come across an especially mean woman. A male wizard should be called el brujo.
- el hechizo /ehl eh-CHEESE-oh/— a spell. When used outside magical contexts, the word can also mean ‘to charm’. The Spanish for ‘to cast a spell’ will be hechizar.
- la magia /lah MAH-ghee-ya/— magic. The adjective you might need will be mágico /MAH-ghee-koh/.
- la momia /lah MOH-myah/— a mummy. Both the Spanish and the English words have come from the Arabic mūmiyā that means an embalmed body.
- la casa embrujada /lah KAH-sah em-broo-KHAH-dah/— a haunted house. Note that the Spanish epithet is derived from embrujar, a verb that is related to la bruja and means ‘to bewitch’ – another case of different associations with the same object of reality!
- el diablo /ehl DYAH-bloh/— the devil. To memorize the word, remember the English adjective “diabolical”.
- el vampiro /ehl bahm-PEE-roh/— a male vampire. Should you meet a female vampire, call her la vampira.
- el/la zombi /THOHM-bee/— a zombie, both male and female, just make sure you use the correct article.
You might want to re-read the Halloween vocabulary list a couple more times to win more points in the short quiz below and up your Halloween Spanish game altogether! Anyway, here it is: