Halloween is just one week away! Though it’s celebrated in dozens of countries around the world, the spooky holiday we all know and love is believed to have evolved from Samhain, a Celtic festival celebrating the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. If you haven’t decided on a costume yet, take a look at our Halloween Vines for inspiration…
Given its Gaelic roots, it’s only natural that here in Scotland you’ll find tons of events to get you in a macabre mood on All Hallow’s Eve. We’ve put together a list of highlights featuring everything from pumpkin festivals and gory science for kids to film screenings and ghost tours for those of us who are a wee bit too old to be going out guising.
What are your plans for Halloween? Got any ideas for a Scottish-themed costume or tips for fun games? Tell us all about it in the comments section below, or send us a link to your own Vines!
Ghost Tours at Crathes Castle, near Banchory, Aberdeenshire – Crathes Castle was built in the 16th century, and it’s said that a restless spirit known as the Green Lady still haunts its halls today… Find out about the castle’s eerie history with special Halloween ghost tours on 24, 25, 26 and 31 October.
Spooky Walks at Galloway Forest Park - wrap up warm, bring a torch and explore the scary side of Galloway Forest Park on 26 October. Dress up and bring your pumpkins for the chance to win a prize, and don’t miss the fireworks display at 8pm.
Halloween Pumpkin Festival at Cairnie Fruit Farm, near Cupar, Fife – Halloween just wouldn’t be complete without these gleaming orange lanterns. Carve your own pumpkin at Carnie Fruit Farm’s Pumpkin Festival from 26 – 27 October, or explore the torchlight maze, the floodlit fun yard and ghost train on from 31 October – 2 November.
Halloween Fun Day at Traquair House, Innerleithen, Borders – hear some spooky stories, have your tarot cards read, catch a magic show and more at Halloween Fun Day on 27 October. The 1745 Cottage Restaurant will be serving Halloween-themed treats all day, and there are prizes for the best dressed guisers.
Halloween Awakening at Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling - ghouls, spirits and death take centre stage during this enchanting evening of acrobatics, presented by Wolanski’s Pole & Aerial Fitness on 27 October.
Spooky Sunday at National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh - make your own Halloween mask, witches’ potions and hear horror stories from Scotland’s gruesome past on Spooky Sunday 28 October. The National Museum is also hosting a free tour exploring the Scotland’s supernatural heritage beginning at 1pm on 31 October.
Celtic Samhain Festival at the Scottish Crannog Centre, Loch Tay, Perthshire – the ancient Gaelic festival returns to the Scottish Crannog Centre on 31 October, with a torch-lit procession through the woods, fire sculptures, storytelling, and more. Booking is essential.
Samhuinn Fire Festival at Edinburgh City Centre - Beltane Fire Society leads a procession of dancers and devils down the historic Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town on 31 October, beginning on Castlehill and ending at Parliament Square.
Murder Mystery Dinner at House for an Art Lover, Glasgow - tuck into a three-course meal as you interrogate suspects played by professional actors in this classic murder mystery on 31 October. The grisly drama unfolds at House for an Art Lover, designed by renowned architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Booking is essential.
Faclan Hebridean Book Festival at An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway - Dr Carl Watkins discusses his new book, The Undiscovered Country: Journeys Among the Dead, as part of the Faclan Book Festival on 31 October. This vivid account of British beliefs surrounding death through the ages is the perfect reading material for getting into the ghoulish spirit of Halloween.
Halloween at Highland Wildlife Park, Kingussie – take a twilight walk and enjoy chilling tales of witches and ghouls on 31 October. There will be prizes for the best costumes and pumpkins, plus a delicious Halloween BBQ – so save your appetite and don’t scoff your sweets all at once!
High Wire Adventure in the Dark at Nevis Range, near Fort William - never mind zombies and vampires – it doesn’t get much scarier than navigating a high wire rope course in the dark! Have a go at these special sessions on 31 October if you’re feeling brave enough, or if not, opt for a relaxing gondola trip for late-night views of the park.
Alloween at Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway, Ayrshire, 31 October – meet some of the Bard’s spookiest friends on 31 October as you listen to Aunty Betty’s scary stories around the kitchen fire, and take a wander to the haunted Alloway Auld Kirk if your nerves can handle it! Recommended for children aged 7 and over. Booking is advised.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh - the Usher Hall’s annual Halloween party takes us back to 1923 with a screening of the silent classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame accompanied by live organ music on 31 October. Scottish gypsy-jazz band Havana Swing will keep the party going into the wee hours while fortune teller Amalia will be available for palm and tarot readings. Booking is essential.
Frankenstein at Pickaquoy Centre, Kirkwall - watch Danny Boyle’s stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic tale of scientific experimentation gone grotesquely wrong. Filmed at the Royal National Theatre in 2011, Johnny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, The Flying Scotsman) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) alternate between the roles of Dr Frankenstein and his creation. Catch Miller and Cumberbatch as the Creature on 31 October and 1 November respectively.
Halloween Hoot at Dundee Science Centre - kids can get their hands dirty and cook up all sorts of Halloween horrors at these parties on 31 October and 1 November – perfect for fans of all things gruesome and gory. There are prizes for the best costumes, so get into the Halloween spirit and come dressed to impressed.
Drive-In Movies at Victoria Park, Glasgow – Glasgow gets its very own drive-in cinema with screenings of Ghostbusters (PG) or Halloween (18) in Victoria Park from 31 October to 3 November. Grab some popcorn, pile into the car and enjoy these spine-tingling classics on the world’s largest LED screen. Booking is essential.
These are just a handful of the special events happening this Halloween, so make sure you check with your favourite castles, museums and family attractions to see what other ghoulish goings-on are taking place. Happy Halloween!
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