Spooky Idioms for Halloween

Improve your understanding and self-expression with this article and reading comprehension exercise about halloween-themed idiomatic English expressions related to horror! If you’re interested in other idioms, check out this post about idioms from anatomy. These spooky idioms are perfect for Halloween. If you are interested in more horror or halloween themed material, check out this horror book review post and this horror story that models inverted and cleft sentences.

Horror & Halloween Related Idioms & Expressions

Idioms are expressions or phrases that have a figurative meaning that is different from the literal meaning of the individual words. They often convey a concept or idea in a way that may not be immediately apparent based on the literal interpretation of the words used. Idioms are unique to each language and are commonly used to add color, humor, or emphasis to communication. read on to find out about some horrific idioms that will help you to understand and express yourself in English.

To have a Skeleton in the Closet

Meaning: A hidden secret or embarrassing fact that someone wants to keep hidden.

Example: “The politician presented himself as virtuous and family orientated, but the journalist discovered that he had a few skeletons in the closet.”

To Stand / Have a Ghost of a Chance

Meaning: A very small probability of success.

Example: “I don’t stand a ghost of a chance of finishing my homework before the party.”

The Graveyard Shift:

Meaning: Working late into the night or early morning hours, like a night shift.

Example: “I’ll be on the graveyard shift to finish this project before the deadline.”

The Witching Hour

Meaning: Late at night, historically between 3 and 4 AM.

Example: “The party doesn’t start until the witching hour, so make sure to bring your costume.”

Skeleton Crew

Meaning: The minimum number of people needed to keep a service or operation running.

Example: “It’s the weekend, so we’re operating with a skeleton crew in the office.”

Out of the Woods

Meaning: Free or safe from a difficult or dangerous situation.

Example: “The company has survived a difficult market this year, but we’re not out of the woods yet; there are still some challenges ahead.”

Witch Hunt

Meaning: An aggressive attack on a person or a group to find faults or blame.

Example: “The criticism of the new policy turned into a witch hunt, with everyone pointing fingers.”

Scare the Living Daylights Out of Someone

Meaning: To terrify someone.

Example: “The horror movie was so intense that it scared the living daylights out of me.”

To Cry Bloody Murder

Meaning: To scream or complain loudly and with great distress.

Example: “When I saw the spider on my shoulder, I cried bloody murder and ran out of the room.”

To be as Dead as a Doornail:

Meaning: Completely dead or without hope. A nail, as used in a door, is inanimate and lifeless.

Example: “When the battery had completely run out, my phone was as dead as a doornail.”

How much do you remember? Check out the exercise below to find out!

More great horror related resources from Onlearn English