Italian Phrase: Buon Halloween! (Happy Halloween!)

Today’s ‘phrase of the week’ is part of our Italian Halloween Word series. On the days leading up to Halloween, we’ll post a word that is related to this spooky time of year. Enjoy! 🦇

Despite being an American invention, Halloween (which is pronounced ‘alloween without the initial ‘h‘ in Italian) has become increasingly popular in Italy over the last decade, much to the chagrin of the older, more traditional generation.

/ˈallowin/

Young people and adults alike enjoy dressing up in scary costumes and attending special costume parties held by their local nightclubs or restaurants, and more children than ever before take part in trick-or-treating (known as dolcetto o scherzetto in Italian).

Waist up portrait of three girls dressed in Halloween costumes looking at camera while posing against brick wall outdoors
Le ragazze si sono travestite per Halloween. – The girls dressed up for Halloween

At the nursery school where I used to work in Turin, for example, the teachers would take the children trick-or-treating around the local shops. In exchange for a Halloween song (canzone), the shop owners who were happy to participate would offer us freshly baked cookies (biscotti) and packaged sweets.

Halloween kids walking down road and asking for a treat
Dolcetto o scherzetto! – Trick or treat!

The fact that Halloween is a borrowed rather than a native tradition in Italy means that you probably won’t hear people wishing each other a Happy Halloween! in the context of daily life. One situation where you might hear it is at a party (festa) but that’s about it. Of course, as the popularity of the holiday increases over the years, this may well change!

So with that word of forewarning out of the way, here are three possible ways of translating Happy Halloween!

Buon Halloween!

(Literally: Good Halloween!)


Felice Halloween!

(Literally: Happy Halloween!)


Buona Festa di Halloween!

(Literally: Good Halloween Holiday!)


Did you know that…?
In Italy, people typically dress up in spooky costumes at Halloween, with the most popular being the witch (strega), vampire (vampiro) and devil (diavolo). If you dress up as something that doesn’t fall into the spooky category, such as a fairy or a superhero, you might get some funny looks. Traditionally all other kinds of costumes are reserved for another Italian festival that takes place in February: Carnevale!

Learn even more Halloween vocabulary by visiting our dedicated article!

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