Let me explain to you what the Higgs boson is.
Just kidding! Nobody can explain to you what the Higgs boson is, because if they try they'll say things like: The Higgs boson is the particle that imparts mass to the other particles. And if you're thinking clearly you'll say: Wait, what does that mean? You mean if the Higgs boson disappeared, then the other particles would exist but wouldn't have mass? So how could they be particles at all--I mean, how could they be particles in the sense that I think of "particles"?
The answer to that question, I think, is that particles aren't really particles in the sense that you and I think of particles. At least, that would explain why physicists sometimes use "particle" interchangeably with "field." (And as for what a "field" is: It's like a particle, except different.)
Here , for example, from a BBC article that a few months ago tried to tackle this Higgs boson thing:
As the Universe cooled after the Big Bang, an invisible force known as the Higgs field formed together with its associated boson particle.
It is this field (and not the boson) that imparts mass to the fundamental particles that make up atoms.
I don't exactly know what it means for a field to be "associated" with a particle, but I do think that the word "field," for the layperson, is better for Higgs-related pedagogical purposes than the word "particle," because it plugs more easily into the common metaphor that the Higgs is like "molasses" that, by resisting the movement of all those non-Higgs particles, gives them mass. After all, a "field," in the layperson's vague sense of that term, is some sort of continuous expanse, and so is molasses. Kind of.