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Halloween Exercises provide you with the opportunity to discover the origins of Halloween as well as how people celebrate this tradition. This lesson is centred around the theme of Customs and Traditions at a consolidating stage of learning English which explores how we celebrate our cultural identity across the globe.  In this lesson, we will learn the history of Halloween and how a theme park is bringing extra revenue to a small town in America.

Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3CrosswordWord List
The tradition of Halloween has changed since its orgins. What changes do they mention in the video?

Click here to view the transcript and answers

1. The use of a pumpkin instead of a turnip
2. Replacing soul cakes with candies
3. Dressing up in costumes that are associated with the supernatural theme such as pop stars and celebrities.


This holiday is also known as all Hallows Eve. Welcome to watchmojo.com today. We’ll be learning more about Halloween. Halloween is a holiday observed annually on October 31st. Though it is celebrated in some Asian and South American countries, it is mostly commemorated by western nations.
Some believe Halloween has pagan origins. It is most commonly linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain which marked the end of autumn and the harvest season. During this period the people of the Gaelic world held feasts in honour of the departed souls that entered our realm. Alongside the souls of the deceased, it was believed that various supernatural beings made their way to us as well. But not all of them were good as such people started carrying carved turnips and wearing costumes in a possible attempt to deter evil spirits. Other Samhain customs included going from home to home to gather food fuel and offerings for the festival.
When the Roman Empire conquered Celtic territory later on some of ancient Rome’s religious traditions such as its festival of the dead were incorporated into the celebration of Samhain. Halloween has also been associated with Christianity because of all hallows or all saints day on November 1st. With all souls day falling on November 2nd, this holy period obliged religious Europeans to observe various traditions that were in practice as early as the 12th century.
For instance to pray for souls trapped in purgatory the impoverished went to their neighbour’s homes for soul cakes that were baked for the occasion. Meanwhile, those trying to hide from potentially vengeful spirits would dress up. This tradition spread to North America through Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century. It was here that the pumpkin eventually replaced the turnip as the jack-o’-lantern. Other objects connected with fall like corn husks and scarecrows were also adopted as decorations for the home during Halloween.
Thanks to its associations with spirits and the world beyond Halloween has been linked to paranormal imagery and horror figures. So as trick-or-treating increased in popularity many traditional Halloween costumes worn by children became supernatural in theme. These days costume choices have expanded to include famous people, pop culture characters and more.
Today instead of travelling to a neighbour’s home for soul cakes or other offerings the custom involves a request for sweets. Normally reserved for kids the practice of going door to door is usually accompanied by participants asking Trick-or-treat when collecting their candy. Playing pranks has also been historically associated with Halloween.
Adults celebrate by also donning costumes and attending Halloween parties. Other common activities today include watching horror movies and sharing ghost tales.
Halloween is now a lucrative holiday as costumes candy and horror films are big business. You’ll likely be able to find a screening of the Rocky horror picture show to watch. But Halloween attractions like haunted houses, hay rides and more are also available. For Halloween costume and makeup ideas head to watchmojo.com for our easy and fun tutorial videos.
Listen to a news report about a theme park in America called Spooky World.

1. The majority of people who go to Spooky World are teenagers and young adults.

2. Spooky World is good for Litchfield as it brings extra work and money to the town.

3. You don't have to be a skilled worker to get a job at Spooky World.

4. The town is lucky to have a good infrastructure that avoids any traffic congestion when the park is open.

5. Owners say the disruption is worth it because they pay out a lot of money to people who live in the town during the holiday season.


Click here to view transcript.

Litchfield, N.H., is home to about 9,000 people. There’s not much industry here — the area is home to a couple of pumpkin farms and a few pizza joints. But this year, a local Halloween attraction merged with another well-known haunt to become New England’s largest Halloween theme park.

Spooky World/Nightmare New England looks like a Hollywood set of a terrifying B-movie. The air is chilly, but that doesn’t stop some 3,500 people from getting in the spirit of haunting. Most are teens and young adults like Victoria Miller from Norton, Mass.

“I was always a fan of horror movies from when I was little,” Miller says. “I just love being scared. My favorite movie when I was little was Alien. I don’t know. It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s really fun.”

The owners expect more than 70,000 visitors this month. Tickets are between $30 and $50. The attraction brings in good revenue, and it brings jobs to people who need it.

Spooking On The Job

Marc Dahlquist has a fake bashed-in forehead and what looks like blood running down his nose. He wears green contacts that make his eyes look like those of a snake.

“I’m dressed in a straitjacket,” Dahlquist says. “It’s awesome.”

Dahlquist stands in the makeup room getting ready to frighten the crowd.

“I just finished schooling for being a personal trainer, and I can’t find work in the field — at all,” he says. “Luckily enough, it was around October, the holiday season, so I had the opportunity to jump on board here. And I love it.”

Dahlquist works in a spooky house with sophisticated animatronics, and the piped-in smells of decay and mildew.

“It takes a lot of hands, a lot of brains and a lot of effort to get something like this off the ground,” says Jayson Meyer, another park employee.

Meyer was laid off from his construction job last July. Now he builds the sets and hidden doorways that zombies jump out of.

“I’m actually a husband and father of two,” Meyer says. “And being that I have a newborn at home, my wife is also out of work. Being able to support my family, Spooky World/Nightmare New England has helped me out tons.”

The attraction hires about 300 people for the season — everyone from makeup artists and wardrobe helpers to plumbers and electricians.

Shocking Locals, Stimulating The Economy

For five weekends in October, the bloodcurdling shrieks change the character of Litchfield. For one thing, cars are backed up for miles. Keith Vessels owns Romano’s Pizza down the street.

“I’ve never seen this road as busy as it,” says Vessels. “I think the town’s a little bit overwhelmed, because they’re not used to this kind of thing.”

Romano’s is getting some new customers. But Vessels says it’s often at the expense of the regulars who may have to fight the traffic to pick up their orders.

But the disruptions might be worth it. The owners of Spooky World/Nightmare New England say they’re paying out close to $400,000 in salaries. For those who’ve been struggling to find work in a frightful economy, that’s a nice holiday boost.

Halloween Theme Parks Bring Spooks … And Jobs NPR (2009)

Try our Halloween Trivia Quiz.

To play our crossword puzzle about Halloween, you need to click on the numbered boxes to reveal the clues.

Here are keywords and phrases covered in our Halloween Exercises:

  • bat
  • broom
  • candy
  • carve
  • cobwebs
  • costume
  • evil
  • ghosts
  • make-up artist
  • nightmare
  • October
  • parties
  • pumpkin
  • Roman goddess
  • spooky
  • supernatural
  • sweets
  • trick-or-treat
  • zombies

Especially helpful are exercises that are focused on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practise so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Customs and Traditions explores how we celebrate our cultural identity across the globe.

Entertainment and Leisure explores how we spent our free time.

Environment and Nature explores the way humans and animals live, adapt and change on our planet.

Exploring how different societies create roles for people to develop their skills and knowledge.

Exploring how we learn and adjust to the world around us. .

Exploring how we experience the world through our life journeys

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. Our word games and puzzles are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings in your mind.

We add reading and writing exercises on a regular basis. Why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day?

For this part, you practice how to understand the details of a text, including opinions and attitudes.

For this part, you practice how to understand the structure and follow the development of a text.

For this part, you practice how to find specific information in a text or texts.

In addition, we add listening and speaking exercises in order to practise for this part of the B2 First Exam.

In this part you talk to the examiner about yourself and your life, e.g. your name, school, interests and future plans.

In this part, you talk about two photos on your own which you have to compare for about 1 minute. After you have finished, your partner will be asked a short question about your photo. When your partner has spoken about their photos for about 1 minute, you will be asked a question about their photos.

In this part you express ideas with your partner by looking at a discussion point that the examiner gives you.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you focus on general aspects of a topic with the examiner or you may involve your partner.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you will hear people talking in eight different situations.

In this part, you will hear someone being interviewed.

In this part, you will hear five people talking about different things.

In this part, you will hear an interview.

Cambridge English Examinations:

Cambridge English exams are designed for learners at all levels from the pre-intermediate level Cambridge English: Key (KET) to the very advanced level Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). These exams give candidates proof of their ability to use English in a wide variety of contexts, relevant to work, study and leisure activities.

A2 Key | B1 Preliminary | B2 First

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