Scary English Idioms - The Halloween Issue

Vocabulary activity

Here are a few English expressions or idioms in honor of Halloween.

A BLOODCURDLING SCREAM: a terrified scream as to cause one’s blood to freeze.

A JINX: someone that brings bad luck or a spell.

CREEPY / SPOOKY : scary.


SOMETHING/ SOMEBODY SENDS SHIVERS DOWN MY SPINE: feel frightened by something or someone.

THE WITCHING HOUR: midnight or any time of day when something bad is likely to occur.

TO BE (AS) PALE AS A GHOST / PALE AS DEATH: very pale or white in the face.

TO BE SCARED STIFF  : very frightened so that one is unable to move.

TO BE SCARED WITLESS: very frightened so that one becomes senseless.

TO FREAK OUT  : become scared, excited or disturbed, or very angry or upset.

TO GIVE SOMEONE THE CREEPS: make one feel frightened or nervous.

TO HAVE A SKELETON IN THE CLOSET : something that might bring shame or embarrassment to a family or person if other people knew about it.

TO JINX SOMETHING: bring bad luck.

TO LOOK AS IF ONE HAS JUST SEEN A GHOST: look frightened or upset

TO MAKE ONE’S HAIR STAND ON END: cause one to be frightened


TO SHAKE LIKE A LEAF: be very scared and trembling.

TO SPOOKE SOMEONE : to startle or disorient someone.

TO STAB SOMEONE IN THE BACK: to betray somebody..

 TO WEIRD SOMEONE OUT: make somebody feel very uncomfortable or uneasy.

Now try the following exercise! Complete the sentences with an idiomatic expression, or a part of it, from the list above.

  1. John came into the office, as pale as __________  after being mugged in the street.

  1. Please change the channel. The Walking Dead always _________ me out.

  1. The kids freaked __________  when we open the door wearing masks and costumes.

  1. I was scared ___________  when I saw a shadow at my window.

  1. John has a few ______________  in the _____________. He has accumulated tons of fines and tickets for bad driving and he lost his license last year.

  1. We used to be best friends, but she _________________  by telling lies about me to everyone.

  1. Last night my friends were telling urban legends  that made my hair ________________.

  1. A bat came in through the window and ___________ my little brother, and he started screaming.

  1. Halloween movies scare the ____________  off me.

  1. Suspense movies send ____________________. After watching one, I have nightmares all night.

  1. When she saw a rat in the garden, little Tommy let out a ____________________.

  1. A guy in the store kept looking at me as I was buying groceries. He was really giving me ____________________.

  1. When we heard a noise coming from the basement we ran from the house _____________ out of hell.

  1. You scared __________________  out of me with your plastic spiders. I thought they were real!

  1. Is everything okay? You look as if ______________.

  1. I was __________________  witless when the light in the old house turned on and off by itself.
  1. I need to go to bed. It’s past the _____________.

  1. When I was a kid I was terrified to cross the yard alone. Nowadays I do it but I still shake ___________________.

  1. Your vampire mask is really ______________

  1. I thought our team was going to win but I didn't say so because I didn't want to _____________ it.

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