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Culture Talks #04 – It’s Halloween time!

Podcasts 1min

Ghostly Greetings! Quer saber um pouco mais sobre o Halloween? Então pegue os seus fones de ouvidos e dê play !

Hey, you! What’s up?

Seja bem-vindo e bem-vinda a mais um episódio de Culture Talks.  Aqui, você vai aprender um pouco sobre cultura e curiosidades da língua inglesa. No episódio de hoje, o teacher vai te contar um pouco mais sobre o feriado mais sombrio dos Estados Unidos: o Halloween! Então coloque o seu fone de ouvido, porque tem muitas curiosidades legais neste episódio que é quase 100% em inglês!

I witch you a Happy Halloween!

What’s up, everyone! I’m Scott Lowe, one of the teachers here at Fluency Academy, and I’m super glad to have you here with me today! Welcome to the fourth episode of Culture Talks. Here’s your opportunity to get to know a little bit more about the American Culture! Before we get started, I want you to imagine this scene:

It’s late at night, the streets are dark and it’s pretty chilly. You can see many figures wandering door to door: some vampires, some witches, some ghosts, some creepy creatures you cannot even remember their names. They walk by holding something that looks like a torch, and far beyond they go. Knocking on the door of a house, collecting a handful of colorful items. After getting what they want, they move to another house in order to get more and more goods. If anyone dares to refuse their need, the creatures start going insane: they kick the door, they roll the yard and even egg the house. Well…, wait up! I’m not talking about a horror movie! Actually, in this week’s episode, I bring out some curiosities about one of the most beloved annual celebrations in the USA! Have you got any clue? It’s Halloween!  

By the way, do you know what the word Halloween means? Well, it literally means “hallowed evening,” and was previously known to early European celebrators as All Hallows’ Eve. All Hallows’ Eve (October 31st) and All Saints’ Day (November 1st) both paid homage to saints (the word “hallows” means  “saints”). The name was eventually shortened to “Halloween,” which nowadays is worldwide known.

I’m sure that you’ve already seen this holiday in movies, tv series or even heard people mentioning it in songs. It’s true that Halloween is one of the most important dates in the USA and it’s the second-largest commercial holiday – it only comes second to Christmas! Well, there are many reasons why the 31st of October is such a beloved day, especially when it comes to the kids. The littlest ones get a chance to dress up and go trick-or-treating, and parents have an excuse to sip on Halloween cocktails. No matter if you’re a kid or adult, you can sure have a blast on this holiday that never gets old.

Humm, and did you know that this old-fashioned holiday dates back years and years ago? This holiday originated in Europe, but during the 19th century immigrants brought it to North America, where it spread in popularity and evolved in many ways. According to tradition, the spirits of the dead were able to come back to life to harm people and crops in the physical world. People tried to pacify the spirits on Halloween, and these practices led to many of today’s Halloween traditions. *Talvez  falar com um tom de suspense* For example, people used to wear costumes of monsters, ghosts, and devils to scare away the harmful spirits.

Well, nowadays people still wear these traditional costumes, but not as a way to scare away the spirits: people do it to have fun – and, yes, I said people because not only kids wear costumes… adults love wearing them as well. It’s like… an international excuse that adults have to come back to being kids… LOL just kidding! *yay sound*  You see, when it comes to wearing a costume, kids take it pretty seriously: they spend weeks, maybe months planning what they wanna wear and which character they wanna become on Halloween.

This much fuss about the costume has a lot of reasons indeed. One of them, by the way, is because kids and teens normally have Halloween costume contests! It doesn’t matter if they’re in elementary, middle or high school, students love showing off their creation. To the youngest competitors, normally a bunch of candies is the prize, yet to the older ones, the award is normally  in cash: 1st place gets something like 150 bucks, the 2nd place gets 100 bucks and the 3rd place receives 50 dollars. *cash sound* Nice prize, eh?

The costumes are not only intended to be worn around the school; they’re people’s uniform to go trick-or-treating! While kids and teens are marching on the street at night equipped with Glow sticks,  Laser Finger Lights, and pumpkin candy buckets, knocking door-to-door asking for candies, adults are getting ready for giving them the treats that are usually Skittles, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M&M’s, Snickers, Starburst, Corn Candy and many many others.

But what if a house runs out of candy? *tense riser* Well, there’s an internal code which everyone who participates in this celebration knows: the houses that are participating and giving candies leave the porch lights on. It’s a sign that indicates that there are still candies on display to be given. Well, when the candies eventually finish, the owners just turn off the lights as a way of telling kids and teens that their treats are over.

You see, if people are not into celebrating Halloween, they can only leave all the lights off so that no one bothers them because, if kids or teens knock on your door and you don’t have anything to give them, then the tricks kick off. Well, chill out ok! Nowadays kids don’t do much and maybe the worst thing you’ll find is a bunch of kids disappointed because they won’t get any candy from you – which is, for me, way worse than getting egged! Poor kids!

Another common way of celebrating Halloween is watching horror movies. Older teens who don’t feel like spending their night walking around the neighborhood normally get together with their friends to watch the most frightening new horror releases together, or maybe just the classics like Hocus Pocus, Poltergeist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Beetlejuice and so on! But, well, if you’re old enough to go to bars and get wasted, Halloween is also a great time to enjoy drinking themed cocktails such as morgue-a-rita, the witch’s heart, the zombie, and black magic.

You see, Halloween is not a holiday only for kids! There are plenty of things to do regardless of people’s age and that’s what I wanted to share with you. Well, it’s the main reason why we created culture talks, so we can explore different ways of seeing American culture. Hope you had as much fun as I did. I witch you a Happy Halloween!

Oh, and don’t forget that there are new episodes of our podcasts every week. You can also go to fluencytv.com where you can find a lot of different free videos, e-books, live classes, and so much more. If you liked this episode, follow us on Instagram @fluencytvingles to stay tuned!

Until next time. Peace out.

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