Learn More Halloween Idioms

Hello, my friends and welcome to another edition of  ‘English Makes No Sense,’ the podcast that unravels the weird and wacky world of the English language, one lesson at a time.

My name is SL Rockfish, your ghostly host, and today, we’re diving headfirst into a cauldron of Halloween idioms that are as puzzling as they are fun!

So, grab your broomsticks and flashlights because we’re about to shine a light on some spooktacular idioms that’ll tickle your funny bone!”

Segment 1: “Graveyard Shift”

“Let’s kick things off with ‘graveyard shift.’ It might sound like an invitation to work among tombstones, but it’s not. Oh no! The ‘graveyard shift’ refers to working late at night, usually between midnight and the early hours of the morning. I guess they call it that because it’s so late that even the ghosts are asleep! So, next time you’re working late, just say you’re pulling a ‘graveyard shift.’“

Example Sentence: “I can’t join you for a midnight snack; I’m on the graveyard shift tonight!”

Graveyard shift has nothing to do with working in a cemetery.

Segment 2: “Skeleton Crew” 

“Now, you might think a ‘skeleton crew’ means working with a team of, well, skeletons, but that’s not quite right. A ‘skeleton crew’ refers to the bare minimum number of people needed to keep something running. You know, like when most of your friends are out trick-or-treating, and you’re left with a ‘skeleton crew’ of buddies to hang out with!”

Example Sentence: “We were so short-staffed during the holiday that we operated with a skeleton crew in the office.”

Segment 3: “Grim Reaper”

Host: “Next up, we have the ‘Grim Reaper.’ You might have seen him in movies, a tall, dark figure with a scythe. But in the world of idioms, he’s not out trick-or-treating. No, the ‘Grim Reaper’ symbolizes death itself! So, if someone says, ‘The Grim Reaper is knocking on your door,’ they’re not expecting a candy treat but implying something seriously spooky.”

Example Sentence: “I felt like the Grim Reaper had come to visit when my computer crashed and ate all my work.”

Segment 4: “Scaredy-Cat”

“Now, here’s one that’s as cute as it is confusing. ‘Scaredy-cat‘ isn’t a feline dressed up for Halloween; it’s a person who’s easily frightened or hesitant to take risks. So, if your friend won’t enter a haunted house because they’re afraid of plastic spiders, you can playfully call them a ‘scaredy-cat.’”

Example Sentence: “Don’t be such a scaredy-cat; it’s just a harmless Halloween decoration!”

You don’t have to be a cat to be a scaredy-cat!

Segment 5: “Witching Hour”

The ‘witching hour’ isn’t when witches gather to cast spells on your candy stash, though that would be interesting! No, the ‘witching hour’ is a term for those late-night hours, typically around midnight, when spooky and supernatural things are believed to happen. So, if you hear strange noises at night, it might just be the ‘witching hour‘ at play.”

Example Sentence: “I heard a mysterious creaking sound in the house right at the witching hour!“

Segment 6: “Dead as a Doornail” 

Last but not least, ‘dead as a doornail.‘ This one’s a real head-scratcher because it’s not about inanimate objects holding funerals. Nope! When something is ‘dead as a doornail,’ it means it’s completely lifeless, inanimate, or defunct. So, if your phone’s battery is drained, you can say it’s ‘dead as a doornail.’”
Example Sentence: “After three days without water, my plants were as dead as a doornail.”

 Well, my fellow idiom explorers, we’ve journeyed through the cryptic world of Halloween idioms today, and I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have! Just remember, when English gets spooky, it makes no sense. Embrace the weird and wonderful, and don’t let the ‘Grim Reaper’ of grammar haunt your dreams. Until next time, do something fun, do something amazing or you know, do nothing at all!  But whatever you do, have a great day and I hope you keep your trick or treat bag full of treats!  Until next time, Peace friends! replenished!”