Episode 16:

Happy Halloween

Holiday Pumpkin
Holiday Pumpkin

Helpful Links:

Transcript for Today's Episode:

Welcome to the English for Everyone ESL Podcast! I’m your host, Caren Hayden, and I’m here to help you improve your English.




Today’s episode is all about the spookiest American holiday - Halloween! I will tell you about the historical origins of this beloved holiday, how we celebrate Halloween in America, and why it’s my favorite holiday. Stay tuned!




Halloween is celebrated every year on October 31st. It is a very popular American holiday for kids and adults alike. Children dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. This means they knock on their neighbor’s door and say, “trick or treat.” The neighbor offers them candy or a goodie of some kind. The children go from door to door and gather as much candy as they can.


Houses are decorated with carved pumpkins (called Jack-o-lanterns), skeletons, spider webs, witches, bats, monsters, false graves, and other creepy elements. Television networks play monster movies all month, and radio stations even play Halloween-themed music on October 31st. Halloween is definitely a well-celebrated and very popular holiday in America.


Many adults also enjoy celebrating Halloween in the United States. They may go to adult-only costume parties, dressed as their favorite superhero, movie character, or political figure. Or, they might have a horror movie-thon where they invite friends over and binge-watch frightening movies all night.


The origin of Halloween, however, is quite different from how we celebrate it today. It began more than 2,000 years ago with a Pagan ritual that celebrated the end of the harvest season - Samhain (sounds like sow-wen). In the 7th century, the Catholic Church merged Samhain with a more Christian celebration - All Saints’ Day (then known as Hallowmas), which was November 1st. Then October 31st was declared All Hallows’ Eve. Irish immigrants brought this holiday to America in the 1840s.


I have always loved celebrating Halloween. As a child, I truly enjoyed coming up with a great costume and going trick-or-treating with my friends. Some of my childhood costumes were Cleopatra, a gargoyle, a rock musician, and a zombie. This year, I’m going to dress up as Wednesday Addams from the TV show and movie, The Addams Family. I am going to volunteer at a Halloween carnival at my daughter’s elementary school, so I need a costume. I still think it’s fun to dress up and celebrate.


I’m also a lover of horror movies and books. I just have a hard time getting anyone to watch scary movies with me. There are many movies about Halloween. Some of my favorites are Halloween, The Nightmare before Christmas, Scream, and Donnie Darko. If you want to get an idea of how Americans celebrate Halloween, one of these movies might give you some insight into the spooky tradition.


One of my favorite horror writers is Stephen King, who I’ll be featuring on the next episode of this podcast, so be sure not to miss that show!

There are holidays similar to Halloween around the world. Of course, Samhain is still celebrated in some parts of Scotland and Ireland every year on October 31st. There’s also the Day of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico and many other Latin American countries. Does your country celebrate something similar to Halloween? Do you have any special days where you dress up in costumes? And, what is your favorite scary movie (or are you too scared to watch them)? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment on the show page or send me a message.


Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope you have a Happy Halloween this year!


Thank you so much for listening to the English for Everyone ESL Podcast! Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. You will find the transcript of today’s show and some helpful links about today’s topic on the show website: www.englishforeveryonepod.com. [Stay tuned for the slower version of today’s episode].




[slower version, same transcript]


Bye Bye!



Music is Where’s My Jetpack by Computer Music All-Stars found on www.freemusicarchive.org