Oct 23, 2023

5 Must-Know Chinese Words for a Spooky Halloween

Halloween is coming! Have you decided what character you’d like to dress up as this year? Wouldn’t it be so cool to know how to say your chosen character in Chinese? Let’s learn them now!

Ghost 鬼 (guǐ)

Let’s kick off with the scariest character – ghost “鬼”! Initially, the Chinese character for “ghost” was a kneeling figure with a square-shaped head. Can you spot the square at the top of the character 鬼? We also like to think that the curved stroke at the bottom of the character is the ghost’s tail.

Witch 女巫 (nǚ wū)

The Chinese word for “witch” is straightforward. 

女 (woman/female) + 巫 (shaman/witch) = 女巫 (witch)

During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), 女巫 were considered a profession who resolved other people’s matters, from illness to unexplained mysteries. Today, in some rural communities in China, the role of 女巫 still exists.   

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Wizard 男巫 (nán wū)

男巫 (man/male + witch) means “wizard.” Throughout the history of ancient China, 男巫 were regarded as messengers connecting heaven and earth. Their main job was to find the balance between nature and human impact. 

Interestingly, in classic Chinese, the character 覡/觋 (xí) is used instead of the two-character word 男巫. 覡/觋 is composed of 巫 (shaman/witch) and 見/见 (to see) – imagine those wizards can “see” something from the invisible world. 

Pumpkin 南瓜 (nán guā)

Do you usually pick up a big pumpkin (大南瓜) or a small pumpkin (小南瓜)? Pumpkin carving has become a favorite with kids in China during the festival. 

  • big pumpkin 大南瓜 (dà nánguā)
  • small pumpkin 小南瓜 (xiǎo nánguā)

Other creepy creatures

Some more Chinese words for other creepy creatures.

  • zombie 殭屍/僵尸 (jiāng shī).  
  • vampire 吸血鬼 (xī xuè guǐ)
  • mummy 木乃伊 (mù nǎi yī)
  • Frankenstein 科學怪人/科学怪人 (kē xué guài rén)
  • monster 怪獸/怪兽 (guài shòu) 
  • haunted house 鬼屋 (guǐ wū) 
  • ghost story 鬼故事 (guǐ gù shi)

Have you now made your mind up about which character you are going to choose as your Halloween outfit? Don’t forget to practice the Chinese word for it! Happy Halloween (萬聖節快樂/万圣节快乐; wàn shèng jié kuài lè)!

By Chineasy | A Super Chineasian

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