Listening Comprehension on dislikes

Listen to the recording and answer the following questions. If the speaking is too difficult for you to understand, there is a written transcription below the questions. But first, try to just listen without reading at the same time. Listening Comprehension on dislikes


  1. What date is Halloween?
  2. When is All Souls day?
  3. When is St. Martin’s day?


  1. Apple bobbing is a game, in which the players can win money or sweets.
  2. Everybody usually gets wet when they play apple bobbing.
  3. The speaker likes giving out sweets, but doesn’t like it when people throw eggs at his house.
  4. He thinks that children in London didn’t make enough effort with their Halloween costumes.
  5. Trick or treating is popular in Germany.
  6. Nobody knows how the story of St Martin began.
  7. In Spain, it is traditional to slaughter pigs on Nov 12th.


Listen to the audio and fill in the gaps, so that you have a phrase which means you dislike something. Write the phrases in the present simple Ex: (In the audio, it might say) I didn’t like it. Answer: (in the present simple)  I don’t like it.

  1. I _________ it.
  2. I can’t ________ it.
  3. It ___________ me up the wall.
  4. I __________ bear it.


  1. How did the speaker used to celebrate Halloween when he was a child?
  2. What is the act of trick or treating?
  3. Why did the speaker hate trick or treaters when he used to live in London?
  4. How did trick or treating begin?
  5. How is St. Martin’s day celebrated in Germany?
  6. What does the phrase ‘to get your just desserts’ mean?


(Please leave a reply below) What do you think of Halloween and trick or treating? Do you agree with the speaker that it is an unwelcome addition from American culture?


OK, I’m going to start with something controversial. I’m just going to put it straight out there: I hate trick or treating at Halloween. If you don’t know what trick or treating is, I’ll try to explain. Halloween is a special day in the year (Oct 31st) when the ghosts and spirits of the world are meant to come back to life and everything is supposed to be scary….wooooaaahhhh. When I was a kid, at Halloween we used to wear a devil mask and maybe put an old white sheet over our heads and pretend to be ghosts. Then we would play a few simple games like apple bobbing. To play apple bobbing, you get a big bowl (it was usually the washing-up bowl), fill it with water, throw in a few apples and then try and pick the apples out of the water with your hands behind your back, just using your teeth. Of course, you would get your face wet and great hilarity ensued; innocent childhood pleasures! Then slowly but surely, yet another Americanisation crept into British culture – Trick or treating. This is when kids dress up as something scary and go round to other people’s houses and say “Trick or Treat” at the front door. The house owner has to give the children sweets (the treat) or they get a trick, which is usually some eggs thrown at the front door. This is how I remember things from the 80s and 90s, but now it seems that there is just an obligation to give sweets to anyone who calls at the door over a period of about 3 days around the 31st. I just can’t bear it! When I was living in London, it used to drive me up the wall, because you would just get kids turning up at the door and demanding sweets. Half of them hadn’t even bothered to dress up at all, putting in zero effort and just basically begging for sweets. I couldn’t stand it! Anyway, I checked out wikipedia and it turns out that the origins of trick or treating came from medieval England and Ireland. Poor people used to go door to door on Nov 1st and get given food in exchange for saying prayers for the dead on All Souls Day on Nov 2nd. It’s even mentioned by Shakespeare in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Now that I’m living in Germany, trick or treating isn’t such an irritation for me, as the Germans aren’t really into it. I asked some of my students what they do if someone rings the door on Halloween and about 75% said nobody knocked on their door and the others said that they turned the lights off at the front of the house and wouldn’t answer the door. In Germany, the celebration around this time of year is St. Martin’s day, which is on 11th November. I haven’t exactly got the full story yet, but basically St Martin was riding a horse and he saw a poor man in the snow or something and he gave him his cloak to keep him warm. So, now you get groups of young children walking in the street at night on November 11th, carrying lanterns and singing traditional songs. Sometimes, the procession is led by a person riding a horse. In Spain apparently, St Martin’s day is the traditional day for killing fattened pigs for the winter. So they have the idiom “A cada cerdo le llega su San Martín”, which means ‘Every pig has its St. Martin’s day’. I think it means that every bad person eventually gets his or her comeuppance: in other words, a fate or punishment that someone deserves for doing a bad thing. There is another idiom that we have for this, which is for ‘somebody b to get their just desserts’… a very nice phrase!

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