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Spooky Halloween events taking place across Scotland

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Samhuinn Fire Festival, Edinburgh © iStockphoto

Samhuinn Fire Festival, Edinburgh © iStockphoto

There’s a chill in the air and I don’t just mean the temperatures outside are getting cooler. Halloween is nearly here. We take it very seriously in Scotland, with ancient traditions and superstitions living on. What will you be doing on All Hallows’ Eve? Cowering under the covers?

We hope not, because we’ve come up with some suggestions of the best things to do this Halloween with a range of events to suit everyone; from fun events for all the family to the downright terrifying. Take your pick from haunted houses, ghost walks, scary films, pagan fire festivals and more.

Samhuinn Fire Festival, Edinburgh

31 October 2021

With colourful costumes depicting characters from ancient folklore, fire, musical and street theatre performances, the Samhuinn Fire Festival usually unfolds on top of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill and is a feast for the senses. The Celtic festival, run by the Beltane Fire Society, harks back to the traditions of Samhuinn (Gaelic for Samhain) – the pagan celebration of the end of the harvest season and arrival of winter.

This year, the society is delighted to welcome people back in person! Tickets will need to be booked in advance.

Spook factor: 👻👻👻

Mercat Tours, Edinburgh

Various dates and times

Mercat Tours have a variety of chilling ghost tours for the spookiest time of the year. Make a creepy descent to Edinburgh’s most haunted vaults on the Halloween Underground tour, or walk through Edinburgh’s Old Town after dark while hearing harrowing tales of the vagabonds, witches and other dastardly figures who met their fate at Edinburgh’s Gallows on the Doomed, Dead and Buried tour. Or maybe you’re brave enough for an evening of folklore on the Ghosts & Gouls offering?

For (brave) adults only, the tours takes you on a spine-tingling journey through the most macabre chapters of Edinburgh’s past, to spots where horrific misdeeds were committed and ghostly presences abound. In short, dare to be scared!

Spook factor: 👻👻 – 👻👻👻👻👻

The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh

29 – 31 October 

Are you ready do descent into Edinburgh’s dark past on one of The Real Mary King’s Close’s Lantern-Led Tours? Discover The Close’s former residents in a complete darkness – the only light source the flicker of your lantern. And meet an insidious character which used to strike terror into people’s hearts at their very sight. The tour runs for an hour between 6pm and 10pm.

Spook factor: 👻👻👻👻

29 – 31 October

If you’re heading on a Lantern-Led Tour between 6 – 7:30pm, why not add on an extra experience? Enjoy a Spirited Evening at the Amber Restaurant at the very top of the Old Town, where you can delve into tales of Scotland’s other spirit, Scotch whisky, with haunting stories alongside a personalised menu.

Spook factor: 👻

Halloween Pumpkin Trail, Castle Kennedy

8 – 31 October

Have a spooky time at Castle Kennedy in Dumfries & Galloway where the whole family can get involved in exploring the colourful, autumnal gardens in search of hidden pumpkins. Once you’ve followed the Halloween Pumpkin Trail, warm up with a tasty hot chocolate and treat at the welcoming tearoom.

Spook factor: 👻

St Andrews Ghost Tours, St Andrews, Fife

Various dates and times

Wandering the streets and lanes of historic St Andrews, you can get a real sense of the past taking you by the hand. Just pray it’s not something else taking you by the hand when you take a night-time walking tour! Starting in Church Square, behind Holy Trinity Church, you can explore the dark streets with St Andrews Ghost Tours. Hear tales of folklore, ghosts and witches based on the local bestselling book Ghosts of St Andrews by Richard Falconer.

Spook factor: 👻👻👻👻

Traquair House Halloween Fun Day, Scottish Borders

31 October, 11am – 4pm

Tots and kids of all ages will love the Halloween Fun Day at Traquair with ghost stories in the woods, a chocolate ghost hunt in the Traquair Maze and more. There’s even the chance to get your hands on some creepy crawlies – if you are brave enough! Those donning Halloween costumes could be in with the chance of winning a prize.

Spook factor: 👻👻

Haunted Forest: CULT, Estate, Largs, Ayrshire

21 – 31 October

The woodlands of Kelburn will be transformed into world of ghosts and ghouls at the Haunted Forest: CULT. This evening events encompasses an eerie atmosphere, so be prepared for a few chills and thrills!

*Recommended age for this event is 14+. Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult (18+).

Spook factor: 👻👻👻👻

Galoshans Festival, Inverclyde

22 October – 12 November

Gett your freak on this October at Galoshans Festival! See Inverclyde take centre-stage as it welcomes a whole array of spooktacular events from visual art exhibitions and dazzling street performances to creative workshops. This year the festival will celebrate the theme of ‘Climate’, linking in with UN Climate Change COP26.

This year’s festival takes a break from the annual Galoshans parade and street party, and instead welcomes the return of in-person and outside events, and will see street theatre, art installations, film, performances and much more.

Spook factor: 👻👻

The Edinburgh Dungeon

16 – 31 October 

Take a gruesome ghost train-style ride this Halloween at the Edinburgh Dungeon and watch with glee as creepy tableaux are brought to life with special effects and costumed actors embodying characters from Scotland’s most horrifying events and creepiest legends.

This year sees ‘Will you survive the curse of the possessed Nun?‘ where guests are invited to delve into Scotland’s dark history and learn the tale of Pearlin Jean, a wronged nun, betrayed by her lover.

Filled with plenty of jumps, scares and other gory surprises which will have your shrieking, the Edinburgh Dungeon offers a silly, theatrical romp this Halloween season.

Pre-booking is essential for all guests. Children under 15 years must be accompanied by an adult; not suitable for children under eight.

Spook factor: 👻👻👻

Halloween at Blair Castle

13-29 October 2020

Head along to Blair Castle in Pitlochry this October for a spooky experience. Enjoy a feast of Halloween activities with prizes to be won, and children will love the Spooky Wood Activity Trail too.

Do you want to hear more about Scotland’s gruesome ghost stories, or delve deeper into the land’s myths and legends? Check out our Scottish Ghosts, Myths & Legends eBook now!

Spook factor: 👻

Paisley Halloween Festival: Out of This World

28 October – 1 November

2021 will see an interesting twist on the annual festival’s usual scene as the town centre is transformed into an immersive ‘out of this world’ experience. Featuring a series of spectacular displays, an alien invasion, creatures from the deep and a constellation of stars providing some fun, free family entertainment. There will also be an illuminated trail of installations and light displays centred on the River Cart too.

Of course, this is just a selection of the ghastly goings-on and events you can enjoy this Halloween across Scotland. For other ways you can scare yourself silly this year take a look at what other Halloween events are on (if you dare!). Find out more about Halloween or why not visit a haunted site or two for a truly spooky experience?

October is a wonderful month to visit, but there’s plenty to see and do throughout the year too. Find out when to visit Scotland and start making plans!