French Language Blog

C’est l’Halloween Hey! – Getting Into The Spooky Spirit In French Posted by on Oct 24, 2018 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

It’s October and for everyone outre Atlantique, (over the Atlantic, saying for “in North America”) that immediately brings up spooky thoughts of ghosts and des bons bons (candy). Cependant (however), the “traditional” Halloween I grew up with aux États-Unis (in the United States) is not really traditionally a thing en France.

Image from Pixabay. Licensed under CC0.

Trick or treating and dressing up in scary costumes are staples of the October holiday en Amérique du Nord (in North America) and is all seen as very foreign for most people outside the continent. Some places around the world have a similar holiday in la Toussaint (All Saints’ Day), but it’s more seen as a religious holiday or simply a day off work.

While Halloween as I know it is picking up steam en Europe, it is still far from traditional and is still seen as an inherently American import. Cela dit (that said), there is a spooky source of Halloween traditions en français, it just comes from another part of la francophonie.

Au Canada (in Canada), l’Halloween is celebrated and in some parts of the country it’s celebrated en français. There is even a very fun song many people grow up with to set the French mood:

C’est l’Halloween
It’s Halloween

La chanson (the song) was written by Matt Maxwell in 1981 who was then a teacher in Halifax trying to get his students interested in la langue française (the French language). Looking for fun things to do en français the October holiday ended up providing the perfect inspiration.

C’est l’Halloween was so successful that he quit his job and became a full time performer. He toured around the country performing children’s music for 15 years after he left teaching and made a lasting impact on la culture canadienne (Canadian culture).

It’s a fun little tune that is easy to sing along to and teaches seasonally appropriate vocabulary like la sorcière, le fantôme et les méchants esprits (witch, ghost, and evil spirits).

Take a moment to get in the spooky spirit and listen to C’est l’Halloween!

Voici la chanson avec les paroles (et une traduction anglaise) :

C’est l’Halloween
It’s Halloween

Les sorcières sortent le soir
Les fantômes aussi
Le ciel est tout noir
Les nuages sont gris
Est-ce que tu as peur des méchants esprits ?
Ô monsieur, oui, oui, oui, oui !

The witches come out at night
The ghosts as well
The sky is all black
The clouds are gray
Are you afraid of evil spirits?
Oh Mister, yes, yes, yes, yes!

C’est l’Halloween, c’est l’Halloween, hey!
C’est l’Halloween, c’est l’Halloween

It’s Halloween, it’s Halloween, hey!
It’s Hallween, it’s Halloween

Pendant l’Halloween
Tu peux être ce que tu veux
Un tigre féroce
Ou un serpent bleu
Il se fait tard, rentres-tu à la maison ?
Ô Madame, non, non, non, non !

During Halloween
You can be what you want
A ferocious Tiger
Or a blue snake
It’s late, are you going home?
Oh Ma’am, no, no, no, no!



La lune, elle est pleine
Le hibou, il crie
De toutes les branches
Pendent des chauves-souris
Est-ce que tu as peur de cette nuit ?
Ô madame, oui, oui, oui, oui !

The moon, she is full
The owl, he cries
From all the branches
Hang the bats
Are you afraid tonight?
O Ma’am, yes, yes, yes, yes!



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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Sunshinesun:

    Merci John. Super sympa de partager cette info. Je partagerai avec mes étudiants de français aujourd’hui. Passe un bon weekend! S