Russian Language Blog

Halloween Words & Phrases Posted by on Oct 29, 2020 in Culture, Russian life, Traditions

Everyone’s favorite in the United States, Halloween is gaining popularity in Russia. And since the festival of spirits, witches, and pumpkins is tomorrow, I hope it will be helpful to put together a list of words and phrases on this topic.


Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

I’m sure at least some of you were wondering what the Russians do on Halloween.

Ten years ago, one of our bloggers said that in the late 1990s, she didn’t even know about Halloween. She also mentioned that the Russian Orthodox Church took an affront to the holiday. But thanks to the Internet and Hollywood horror films, Halloween is now known in many countries around the world. Unfortunately, Halloween is not yet a traditional holiday in Russia. Even though today it has lost its religious roots and is just a fun day for children and some adults, the Russian church still believes that the presence of religious content in the celebration of Halloween is contrary to Orthodoxy. But let’s put aside all the controversy about the effect of the witch costume on faith. Those who celebrate this day do it the same way as in the United States, with the only exception of trick-or-treating.

Below you will see popular words and phrases about Halloween with Russian translations. Put on your zombie or broccoli costume and start learning our scary vocabulary.

Halloween – Хэлло́уин [he-lo-OOEEN]
All Hallows’ Eve / All Saints’ Eve – ночь накану́не Дня всех святы́х [noch’ na ka-NOO-ni dnja vsekh svja-TYKH]
Trick – шу́тка [SHOOT-ka], ро́зыгрыш [RO-zy-grish]
Treat – угоще́ние [oo-ga-SHSHYE-ni-ye]

Caramel Apples

Image by ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓ from Flickr

Halloween Food

Halloween is not complete without food goodies and treats such as:
Candy – конфе́та [kan-FYE-ta]
Pumpkin – ты́ква [TIK-va]
Pumpkin pie – ты́квенный пиро́г [TIK-vee-nyi pee-ROK]
Caramel apples – я́блоки в караме́ли [YAB-lo-kee v ka-ra-ME-lee]
Chocolate – шокола́д [she-ka-LAD]
Roasted pumpkin seeds – жа́реные ты́квенные се́мечки [ZHA-ree-nye TYK-ve-nye SE-me-chkee]
Apple dumplings – я́блоки в те́сте [YAB-lo-kee v TES-te]
Apple cider – я́блочный сидр [YAB-lach-nyi seedr]
Jello worms – желе́йные червячки́ [zhe-LEJ-nie cheer-VEECH-kee]

Lanterns Pumpkins

Image by Bany_MM from Pixabay

Halloween Decorations

Most places where young people like to gather, for example, cafes and bars, will definitely be decorated with the theme of the holiday.
Decorations – украше́ния [ook-ra-SHYE-nee-ya]
Jack-o’-lantern – свети́льник Дже́ка [svee-TEEL’-neek DZHE-ka]
In Russia, this word is not used. Since most Russians have not read the legend about Jack, they simply call it:
Lamp/lantern of pumpkin – фона́рь из ты́квы [fa-NAR’ ees TIK-vi]
That boy made his pumpkin into a jack-’o-lantern. – Этот ма́льчик сде́лал из ты́квы фона́рь.
Candle – свеча́ [svee-CHA]
Web – паути́на [pa-oo-TEE-na]
Skull – че́реп [CHE-rep]

Because of their superstitions, few venture to decorate their homes in a cemetery (кла́дбище) style avoiding dressing like the dead (мертве́ц) as well.
Coffin – гроб [grop]
Tombstone – надгро́бный ка́мень [nat-GROP-nyi KA-meen’]
Graveyard – кла́дбище [KLAT-bee-schye]
Grave — моги́ла [ma-GEE-la]
“Dig your own grave” (“копа́ть/рыть себе́ моги́лу”) and “dig your own hole” (“рыть себе́ яму”) are common Russian phrases.
While you smoke, you dig your own grave. – Пока́ ку́ришь, ты ро́ешь себе́ моги́лу.


Image by Clarence Risher from Flickr

What is your costume for the Halloween party?

Costume – костю́м [kas-TYOOM]
Party – вечери́нка [vee-chee-REEN-ka]
Black cat – чёрный кот [kot]/кошка [KOSH-ka]
Bat – лету́чая мышь [lee-TOO-cha-ya MISH]
Raven – во́рон [VO-ran]
Spider – пау́к [pa-OOK]
Owl – сова́ [sa-VA]
Broom – метла́ [meet-LA]
Mask – ма́ска [MAS-ka]
Wand – волше́бная па́лочка [val-SHEB-naya PA-lach-ka]
Ghost – при́зрак [PREEZ-rak]
Spirit – привиде́ние [pree-vee-DYE-nee-ye]
Ghoul – при́зрак на кла́дбище [PREEZ-rak na KLAT-bee-schye]
Zombie – зо́мби [ZOM-bee]
Mummy – му́мия [MOO-mee-ya]
Vampire – вампи́р [vam-PEER]
Witch – ве́дьма [VYED’-ma]
Wizard – волше́бник [val-SHEB-nik]
Warlock – колду́н [kal-DOON]
Monster – монстр [monstr]
Werewolf – о́боротень [O-ba-ra-tyen’]
Demon – де́мон [DYE-man]
Skeleton – скеле́т [skee-LYET]
Her husband has a skeleton in the closet. – У её му́жа есть скеле́ты в шкафу́.
Devil – дьявол [D’YA-val] or чёрт [CHORT]

You can find examples of using the word “чёрт” in Russian HERE.


Image by City of Greeley from Flickr

Some more useful words and phrases for Halloween:

Haunted house – дом с приведе́ниями [dom s pree-vee-DYE-nee-yamee]
Blood – кровь [krof’]
Ghosts stories – стра́шные исто́рии [STRASH-niee is-TO-ree]
Scream – визг [visk]
Spell – заклина́ние [za-klee-nA-nee-e]
Potion – зе́лье [ZE-l’e]
Bonfire – костёр [KAS-tyor]
Moon – луна́ [LOO-na]
Scary – cтра́шный [STRASH-niy]
Spooky – пуга́ющий [poo-GA-yoo-scheey]
Creepy – га́дкий [GAT-keey]
Ghoulish – ме́рзкий [MERS-kiy]
Afraid (of) – боя́ться (чего-либо) [ba-YA-tsa]

Some foreign phrases cannot be accurately translated into Russian since they are from a foreign culture and are not used in Russia. Therefore, they simply remain unchanged or turn out to be a translation attempt. In this case, the meaning is slightly distorted. Such imperfect translations include the phrase “Trick or treat!”. Here are some of them:

Сла́дость и́ли ша́лость! – A sweet treat or a trick!
Сла́дости и́ли га́дости! – Sweets or nasty things!
Угоща́й, а то проу́чим! – Give a treat, or we’ll teach you!
Кошелёк и́ли жи́знь! – Your wallet or your life! (This is the most popular translation version)

Russian culture has its own mystical characters. Read about some of them in THIS BLOG.

Happy Halloween!

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