1. Das Buh (Boo!)
The single most important word for any self-respecting Geist (ghost) to commit to memory and use with frequency during the Halloween season.
2. Der Dämon (Demon)
This word dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks and represents the idea of a “divine being.” History, however, saw rise to the word being associated with all things evil, hence its place in the Halloween we now celebrate.
3. Der Friedhof (Cemetery)
If you dare… no Halloween is considered fully realized without a visit to the local cemetery. While the hope in taking such a trip is that the Toten (dead) stay dead and buried, scary movie history has proven time and time again that Halloween is the perfect time of year for a Zombie (zombie) invasion.
4. Das Geisterhaus (Haunted House)
An easy and important compound word to add to your Halloween vocabulary list. Geister is simply the plural of the word Geist, and Haus is one of those great cognates easily committed to memory.
5. Der Ghul (Ghoul)
Another frightening addition to any and all Halloween experiences.
6. Der Grabstein (Tombstone)
Remember those Zombies we mentioned earlier? To remember this one, imagine that a Grabstein is what they’re knocking over and out of the way in their quest to get their hands on (grab) you!
7. Die Fledermaus (Bat)
A nocturnal Blutsauger (blood sucker).
8. Das Halloween
Note that the origins of the word “Halloween” date back to the 8th century, when October 31st was called “All Hallows Eve,” which then morphed into “Hallow Evening” and, well… I think you get the picture. Since the Germans adopted the modern-day equivalent of Halloween from America, they decided to leave well enough alone, give it a das and call it a day.
9. Die Hexe (Witch)
Four hundred years ago, the Germans were in the midst of witch hunt frenzy, which saw many men and woman accused of casting Zaubersprüche (magic spells), riding around on a Besen (broom) and turning themselves into a schwarze Katze (black cat).
10. Der Horror (Horror)
Horror, as we know, goes really well with Halloween.
11. Das Kobold (Goblin)
These ghastly creatures date back to the European Middle Ages, with tales of their deeds sprinkled throughout folkloric history. Mischievous in nature, they’re also said to have been bestowed with magisch (magical) powers.
12. Der Kürbis (Pumpkin)
No Halloween is complete without lots and lots of pumpkins. Einritzen means “to carve,” and that’s exactly the first thing one does in order to make room inside for the Kerze (candle) that will ultimately transform your pumpkin into a functioning Kürbislaterne (pumpkin lantern).
13. Das Kostüm/die Verkleidung (Costume)
Remember, when it comes to German Halloween, they like to keep their dress-up on the scary side. With all these new scary vocabulary words you’ve learned, you should have no problem fitting right in.
14. Die Mumie (Mummy)
Just like in English, it sounds a lot like “mommy,” but this is definitely not something you want kissing you goodnight at bedtime.
15. Der Schädel (Skull)
The skull and crossbones appear to have transcended Halloween. Designers across the globe have transformed this classic symbol into the latest “it” thing.
16. Das Skelett (Skeleton)
Going back to the ancient roots of “All Hallows Eve” and its remembrance of the dead, skeletons allow for an easy association to modern-day Halloween.
17. Die Spinne (Spider)
The verb spinnen means to spin. Spiders spin webs. How simple is that?
18. Die Süßigkeiten (Candy)
No Halloween is complete without indulging in one’s fair share of candy, and this is no different in Germany. With holidays such as Easter, St. Nikolaus Day and Christmas also being heavily celebrated with candy, plus the country’s general love of all things chocolate, Germans have managed to rank #3 in the world for overall candy consumption. Now that’s what we call satisfying one’s sweet tooth!
19. Spuken (to haunt)
It’s not difficult to make an English connection with the word spuken. Just think “spooky.” Also note that a synonym for spuken is geistern (remember Geist = ghost), and translates to the concept of “walking around in a ghostly manner.”
20. Der Streich (prank)
Even though we learned that the Germans go candy hunting door-to-door, little pranks such as tossing eggs at houses have also been known to happen in Germany during this time of year!
21. Der Vampire (vampire)
Known to only come out at Nacht (night), suck your Blut (blood) and take shelter from the sunlight in a Sarg (coffin), the Vampire is the quintessential Halloween scare.
22. Die Vogelscheuche (scarecrow)
The noun Vogel means “bird” and the verb scheuchen means “to shoo”—exactly the intention of a scarecrow. So now, instead of one word, you’ve learned three.
23. Der Teufel (devil)
The word Teufel mixes well with other words in the German language to express some form of outrage, concern or alarm. Teufel noch mal, for example, means “dammit.” Was zum Teufel means “what the hell?” Pfui Teufel! is “ugh, disgusting!” You can have fun with this one.
24. Der Werwolf (werewolf)
“The Werewolf of Bedburg” is the story of Peter Stubbe, a German man accused of being a werewolf back in the 16th century. The tale is a disturbing one and the perfect addition to any Halloween party.
25. Unheimlich (eerie)
Depending on where you get the translation, unheimlich is also known to translate to words such as “creepy,” “sinister,” “weird” and “spooky.” So basically, you’re covering a lot of disturbing ground when you exercise your use of this word.
So there you have it. Some key vocabulary to manage your way through a howling Halloween… German-style.
Oh, and for those candy corn lovers out there, just in case you’re feeling cheated by the fact that Halloween comes only once a year…