Even though Halloween is not a Chinese holiday, it has become very popular in China, Taiwan, as well as other Asian countries. In this article, we will focus on learning 18 must-know Halloween vocabulary in Mandarin Chinese, while we won’t spend much time on the cultural background of this holiday since you may know more than me! Of course, as usual, we have a cute and fun infographic that comes along with it.
This article is short but fun! As I am writing this article, I have realized that some Halloween vocabulary in Mandarin Chinese are quite literal! Very different from in English!
Carving pumpkins is one of the traditional activities! Want a Jack-o-lantern that is unique, so you can show off to your friends and neighbors? Carve some Chinese characters into the pumpkin! We have 12 free printable templates below!
Halloween Related Vocabulary
Many people translate Halloween in Chinese as “万圣节 wànshèngjié,” but the actual Halloween is on November first. And October 31 evening is the night before. That’s why the actual night the children having trick or treat should be called 万圣夜 wàn shèng yè, the literal meaning of which is “ten-thousand,” “holy or saints” and “eve or evening.”
Pumpkin and Jack-O-Lantern
- Pumpkin: 南瓜 nánguā
- Jack-o-lantern: 南瓜灯 nánguā dēng. The Chinese name of jack-o-lantern is quite simple, it literally means “pumpkin” and “lantern or light.”
Orange and Black
The two most popular colors not only for this holiday, but also for the autumn season.
- Orange: 橘 (色) jú (sè)
- Black: 黑(色) hēi(sè)
Language note: The word “色 sè” means “color” in Chinese. When saying a color, you can either just say that color, or add “色 sè” afterwards. For instance, “黑 hēi” means “black,” and “黑色 hēisè” means “black color.” But we prefer to say “the color + 色 sè” when just talking about the color. When describing something of a certain color, there are two ways to say it. Here are the examples:
- That girl with “red hair”…
Red hair: 红 头发 hóng tóufǎ. The structure is “color + noun.”
- A pair of “black shoes”…
Black shoes: 黑色的 鞋子 hēisè de xiézi. The structure is “color + 色 + 的 + noun”
Candy: 糖果 tángguǒ
Do you know “糖 táng” means “sugar,” and “果 guǒ” means fruits. Put them together it becomes candy!
Trick or treat
The translation for this term is quite interesting! It is “不给糖，就捣蛋！Bù gěi táng, jiù dǎodàn!” The casual translation can be “if you don’t give me candy, I will mess around!”
Spider and Spider web
Spider: 蜘蛛 zhīzhū
Spider web: 蜘蛛网 zhīzhū wǎng
“网 wǎng” in Chinese means “web, net.” For instance, go on the Internet is “上网 shàngwǎng.”
Ghost and haunted house
Ghost in Chinese is “鬼 guǐ.”
Haunted house: “鬼屋 guǐwū” literally means “ghost” and “house.”
Skull and skeleton
Skeleton: 骷髅 kūlóu
Skull: 骷髅头 kūlóu tóu. The literal meaning of “骷髅头 kūlóu tóu” is “skeleton head!”
Moon: 月亮 yuèliàng.
Costume: 服装 fúzhuāng. “服装 fúzhuāng” is not for Halloween specifically, it can be used for other occasions.
Language bonus: when I thought about Halloween costumes, this idiom always came to mind, so I would like to introduce it: 奇装异服 qízhuāngyìfú, which means “bizarre dress.” “服装 fúzhuāng” can’t quite express all those different kinds of dress since the phrase can also be used for formal dress, casual dress, and others. “奇装异服 qízhuāngyìfú” can be used to mean a costume that is not often seen on a regular basis.
Bat: 蝙蝠 biānfú.
Bonus: It is not related to Halloween. But since we talk about “bat,” why not learn how to say “batman” in Chinese? It is “蝙蝠侠 biānfú xiá.” We usually use “侠 xiá” to describe a person who is a chivalrous person.
Vampire: 吸血鬼 xīxuèguǐ. Vampire in Chinese is a fun translation too. “吸 xī” means “inhale, suck in.” “血 xuè” means ”blood,” and we learned earlier that “鬼 guǐ” means “ghost.” So, the ghost who is sucking your blood is a vampire.
Halloween Vocabulary Infographic - Simplified Chinese Version
Halloween Vocabulary Infographic - Traditional Chinese Version
12 Printable Pumpkin Carving Chinese Character Templates
Let your Jack-O-Lantern be the coolest one on your street! Right click to download the templates! All templates are designed in Letter size. You may need to adjust the size according to the size of your pumpkin! (I have to admit, some random ideas were from my students!)
To have fun, to play
Other holiday infographics
Hope you have fun learning those words. How do you say those words in your language? Share with us!