Super Spooky Halloween Words in Italian for Kids!

When I first moved to Italy back in 2008, one of the biggest culture shocks I experienced was the general apathy towards Halloween. I originally come from Canada, a country that like the USA enjoys celebrating Halloween as much as Christmas and Easter, so it was a surprise to see October 31st come and go as if Halloween didn’t exist!

I later learned that Halloween is more of a North American celebration than a European one – though in recent years, it has become increasingly popular even in Italy.

What do Italians call Halloween?

Italians use the very same word – Halloween! That being said, they tend to pronounce it without the word-initial h because this sound doesn’t exist in Italian.

Do Italians “Trick or Treat”?

Yes, they do! Trick-or-treat in Italian translates to dolchetto o scherzetto which literally means little treat or little trick. These days, kids love to dress up and collect candy from their neighbours. In fact, when I used to work in a nursery school in Italy, we’d take the kids out after lunch and walk from shop to shop asking for treats.

Trivia: Children in Italy usually dress up as evil characters such as witches, devils, monsters and vampires at Halloween. This is because there is already another important (and very traditional) Italian festival in February where dressing up plays a huge role: Carnevale! At this time, kids dress up in a variety of costumes, from their favourite superheroes to knights, princesses and fairies. It would be considered strange to dress up as a good character on Halloween!

Italian Halloween Vocabulary

  • il trentuno di ottobre = October 31st
  • autunno = autumn/fall
  • zucca = pumpkin
  • strega = witch
  • scopa = broom
  • pipistrello = bat
  • vampiro = vampire
  • fantasma = ghost
  • ragno = spider
  • mostro = monster
  • casa infestata = haunted house
  • caramelle = candies
  • spaventoso = scary
  • diavolo = devil
  • costume = costume
  • buio = dark
  • notte = night

Italian Halloween Phrases

  • Ho paura! = I’m scared!
  • Mi fa paura! = It scares me!
  • Bù! = Boo!
  • Posso mangiare una caramella? = Can I eat a candy?
  • Mi sono vestito/a da ___. = I’m dressed up as ____.

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