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What is Halloween 2021?

In the UK, there are several widely-celebrated events throughout the year including New Year’s Eve, Easter, St Patrick’s Day and Christmas.

The month of October, however, is all about Halloween. On 31st October, Halloween sees people everywhere dress up in fancy dress costumes the scarier the better!

Halloween is also known as All Hallows’ Eve. This is because it takes place the day before All Hallows’ Day, alternatively known as All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day is a Christian festival paying tribute to all of the religion’s saints and dates back to the 4th century.

There is also a theory that Halloween’s origins were even earlier and are found in Parentalia, which was the Roman festival of the dead. Other suggestions include Halloween being an extension of Samhain, a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season.

Today, though, Halloween itself is generally not considered religious by most people and is instead just a fun celebration.

Two pumpkins with carved faces sit side-by-side on a wooden table outdoors.
Credit: Bekir Dönmez @ Unsplash

How is Halloween celebrated in the UK?

Walk around a British town on the evening of Halloween and you will see many people dressed up as witches, cats, devils and whatever pop culture phenomenon has occurred throughout the year. For Halloween 2021, we expect to see lots of Squid Game tracksuits!

Children go trick-or-treating on the night of Halloween. For this, they wear a costume and knock on their neighbours’ doors. When a neighbour answers, the trick-or-treaters say “Trick or treat!” and they will be given a sweet or a chocolate bar.

For older Halloween fans, celebrators will turn up to work dressed spookily or will attend Halloween parties at night. Other popular activities include watching horror films and carving pumpkins with scary faces.

In Manchester in the north of England, big, inflatable monsters can be seen crawling out its iconic buildings every year!

How can I learn English with Halloween?

If you are a fan of American or British sitcoms, it is likely that your favourite has a Halloween episode! Often English learners find that watching English-language TV programmes helps them pick up the language faster.

The American sitcom Superstore has many fun Halloween episodes, as do Friends and police comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You can find spooky shows on Netflix focusing on Halloween including Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and – if you want something very scary – The Haunting of Hill House.

There are many, many English-language Halloween films. Check out It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966), The Addams Family (1991) and the Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)!

Learn English in the UK and celebrate Halloween with us with a General English course at Think English.

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