Shouldn't it be "horror filled halloween" or "spooky halloween"? It fits the purpose of the day. Why "happy"? By the way "Happy Halloween everybody!"

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    As the wiki article says: It's an evening of celebration and remeberance. Also it is unnatural/unintuitive to wish someone a horrible anything. Oct 31, 2013 at 11:49
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    "Happy Halloween" has been a well-wishing greeting for over 100 years. Alliteration might have played a role in popularizing the greeting – who knows? This isn't to say that "Have a spooky Halloween" isn't used (in fact, it is), but it may not be as common as "Happy Halloween." Heck, you can use jolly if you want; don't overthink it :^)
    – J.R.
    Oct 31, 2013 at 12:07
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    Hallowe'en is celebrated in the UK and has been in various ways for centuries, but people don't really greet each other with "Happy Hallowe'en!" which sounds very American.
    – Hugo
    Oct 31, 2013 at 15:19
  • Actually, it's HUGELY American! Happy Halloween everyone! :-)> Oct 31, 2013 at 19:11

5 Answers 5


The wish for a "Happy" Halloween is a wish for the person to enjoy the day, regardless of how little or how much spookiness they wish for on that day.

Likewise, "Happy Christmas" is a common expression in the UK, wishing for an enjoyable Christmas.

Though it is true that people attempt to wish one another a "Spooky Halloween", this simply hasn't caught on in popularity, and "Horrible Halloween" would be similiar to telling someone to "Have a Rotten Day!", the connotation of you wishing them a bad day is just too overpowering to make it work.

The alliteration of "Happy Halloween" also likely helps keep it in its place as a popular greeting and well-wishing for the day.


"Happy" is just the generic modifier for holidays. I can think only of Christmas as an exception to the rule ("Merry Christmas").

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    Which it isn't in the UK. They just say "Happy Christmas".
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 31, 2013 at 13:48
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    Is Christmas the only Holiday that doesn't have Happy before it (in US English)?
    – krikara
    Oct 31, 2013 at 15:04
  • I can think of no other holiday that does not get predecessed by "Happy".
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 31, 2013 at 16:28
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    @krikara There are some "holidays" that aren't happy and would be weird to be proceeded by "happy". Yom Kippur is the best example I can think of.
    – Amory
    Oct 31, 2013 at 16:30
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    @Amory True. I didn't say it was either. Just that people do it. Sometimes people say things without realizing they should not.
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 31, 2013 at 22:21

Because people say happy "everything" now. It is like a drone sentence that gets repeated by the non-thinking masses. Happy Monday. Happy Thursday. Happy Columbus Day (I heard this a couple weeks ago). Happy roll back the clock weekend!

This might be the masses or it could be Hallmark. If you put the word "Happy" in front of any phrase then they can sell millions of cards for each "Happy" phrase. Happy answer.

  • Yay, happy answer \o/
    – Thomas
    Oct 31, 2013 at 23:02

Most people are happy on halloween, because it's a day that you celebrate.

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    @SteveMelnikoff and WS2 Ahh, c'mon. "Provide evidence" and "cleansing parish portals"? Have you never been a child and celebrated halloween? Yes, it's commercialized but it's always been a favourite kids holiday, and 40 years ago I remember celebrating in the UK with my schoolmates.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 1, 2013 at 3:49
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    @Mari-Lou No, Hallowe'en was never celebrated in the UK until the commercial people got on to it about 10 years ago. Back in the fifties when I was a child we had barely heard of it. It was just associated with some ancient ecclesiastical ritual that had long-since been abandoned. One reason for this is that there was another important autumn celebration and that was Guy Fawkes night on 5th November. (cont'd)
    – WS2
    Nov 1, 2013 at 13:29
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    'Always remember the fifth of November, for gunpowder, treason and plot... It involves fireworks, and bonfires. And effigies of Guy Fawkes are made and put on the bonfires. But there are two major problems. One is that fireworks are dangerous and bonfires in people's gardens have tended to give way to large organised displays. Another problem is that it focuses on a matter of British history which is potentially anti Roman Catholic. The resurgence of Hallowe'en has to some extent come in at the expense of Guy Fawkes burning, but the latter is still nonetheless very much in evidence.
    – WS2
    Nov 1, 2013 at 13:30
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    @WS2 I've been living in Italy for almost 30 years now and Halloween has been celebrated longer than 10 years. It's true that until relatively recent it was barely heard of there, but even 20 years ago kids were dressing up in Italy. And if memory serves me correctly, when ET was first released nobody in the UK was asking "What's Halloween?" In any case in the UK it's been celebrated since the 80s. gcompany.org.uk/1980%20Halloween.htm
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 1, 2013 at 15:45
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    @Mari-Lou I have no idea how long it has been 'celebrated' in Britain. But it does not have the aura of a festival of any kind anyway. It is simply a commercial thing which shops use to cash-in-upon. It is totally divorced from the ancient custom of re-hallowing the parish church etc.
    – WS2
    Nov 1, 2013 at 16:45

The nonsense of wishing people "Happy Halloween" perfectly suits the costume-party-for-twenty-somethings that this occasion has degenerated into. The spookiness, the jack o'lanterns, the trick-or-treating, the element of the macabre have all but disappeared.

  • Hi Greg, welcome to English Language & Usage. Thanks for your contribution. If you think you might use our site again (and I hope you do!), please make sure you take the Tour. Sep 28, 2016 at 7:28
  • The greeting is much older than your perceived degeneration of the occasion.
    – Helmar
    Sep 28, 2016 at 9:32

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