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14 spooky Halloween events taking place across Scotland

by October 3, 2016 Leave your thoughts

St Giles Cathedral, The High Kirk of Edinburgh on The Royal MileSt Giles Cathedral at night, Edinburgh

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 Hallow’s 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

Samhain 2014, EdinburghPhoto by Graham Campbell via Flickr | Creative Commons

31 October, 9pm

With colourful costumes depicting characters from ancient folklore, fire, musical and street theatre performances, the Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh is a feast for the senses. The Celtic festival, run by the Beltane Fire Society, will take you 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 celebrations start on the Royal Mile before moving to the Grassmarket.

Up Close with Burke and Hare’ with Mercat Tours, Edinburgh    

31 October only, 5pm

In a one-off tour for Halloween, trace the steps of Edinburgh’s infamous murderous duo, Burke and Hare. Starting at St Cuthbert’s graveyard and weaving your way along to the Grassmarket through mysterious wynds and alleyways, your guides will tell tales of the devious pair, as well as introduce you to the darker side of Edinburgh.

 ‘Condemned’, Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh


Thursday, 27 – 30 October 2016, 9pm

Ghostly occurrences are nothing new to visitors of Edinburgh’s Real Mary King’s Close. Thought to be one of the most haunted places in Scotland, the spirits of plague victims are said to still roam the streets and dwellings of this truly unique underground time capsule. ‘Condemned’ is a new late night experience for Halloween 2016, providing a frightening insight into the infamous witches of 18th century Edinburgh. Travel back to a time when Mary King’s Close was a bustling hub of the city, where suspicion lurked around every corner. If you dare, that is.

Glasgow Horror Festival, Blackfriars Bar, Glasgow

29 October, 1pm – 1am

This Halloween, Popcorn Horror presents Glasgow’s first ever annual Horror Festival in the heart of the Merchant City with 12 hours of entertainment, including indie film screenings, industry Q&A sessions, costume prizes, live music and much more, all from the Blackfriars Bar. Time to unleash your inner monster!

Movie buffs can also experience a Drive-In Movie Night at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, with Hocus Pocus showing at 6pm, followed by the slasher classic Friday the 13th at 9pm.

Murder mystery dinner at House for an Art Lover, Glasgow 

The Dining Room, House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston ParkDining room at House for an Art Lover, Glasgow

3 November, 7pm – 8pm

Usually, the ornate and sophisticated surroundings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover are admired during the day. By night? Well, that’s a whole different story. Join in the fun on 3 November for a classic murder mystery dinner. As well as enjoying a three-course meal, you’ll have to wrack your brains and solve a spine-chilling murder case. Are you up to the challenge?

Mostly Ghostly Haunted Theatre Tour, Dumfries and Galloway

29 October, 7pm

Scotland’s oldest working theatre, the Theatre Royal in Dumfries, has lived through many spellbinding performances, welcoming guests and entertainers from near and far. Now, it’s your turn to steal the show. With Mostly Ghostly’s ghoulish tour of the atmospheric auditorium, investigate claims of the venue’s paranormal activity, resident poltergeists and grisly legends over its 223-year history. Is there something lurking down in the basement?

Fright Nights, Linlithgow Palace

28 October – 31 October, 6pm & 9pm

As darkness falls, the ancient Linlithgow Palace starts to reveal its true character. Step back in time to the 1850s, and investigate the murderous mysteries and ghostly rumours that have circulated the property since then. For four nights over Halloween, be prepared for a few scares as you learn more about the darker side of this magnificent royal residence, which was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and, more recently, a filming location for the TV series, Outlander.

Original St Andrews Witches Tour, St Andrews

St Andrews old ChurchOld Church, St Andrews. Photo by Korz 19 via Flickr | Creative Commons

Regular tours, every Thursday and Friday

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 on a night-time walking tour! Starting at the Greyfriars Hotel on North Street your costumed guide will lead you through the dark streets, recounting tales of folklore, ghosts and witches with a theatrical flare that will leave you laughing and screaming in equal measure.

Ghoulish Ghost Tours, Crathes Castle

28 – 31 October

There is definitely something mysterious about Crathes Castle. This Halloween, the castle will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. A terrifying tour of the premises with scares and surprises around every bend, this evening is not for the fainted-hearted!  Don’t believe us? Learn more about Crathes Castle’s creepy past with our video introducing its spookiest resident, the Green Lady.

Traquair House Historical Ghost Tours, Scottish Borders

28 – 29 October, 7pm and 9pm

It’s hardly surprising that Scotland’s oldest inhabited house is home to a few hair-raising secrets.  A centuries-old former hunting lodge, the building was once a rural escape for Scotland’s kings and queens. This Halloween, the house will reveal all with an after-dark tour featuring several unexpected surprises. Not to worry, there will be time to relax in the comfort of the 18th century dining room with a glass of mulled wine, or dig into a delicious Halloween supper from the 1745 Cottage Restaurant – visit the Traquair House website for more details.

Spirits of Scone – Twilight Illuminations, Scone Palace, Perthshire

FREE TO USE PHOTOGRAPH...Visitors to Scone Palace this week were treated to a spectacular show, as the stately home was turned 'spicy red' in preparation for one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year, Scotland's first ever Chilli Festival. The festival which will be a celebartion of all things 'chilli' including food, drink, horticulture and much more, takes place in the Palace grounds over the weekend of 21st -22nd September. Organised by Chilli Fest (UK), "The Great Scottish Braves Harvest Chilli Festival" promises two days of fiery fun, with over twenty stands showcasing and selling everything from fresh curries, chilli chutneys and chocolate, to chilli ciders, chilli cocktails and cheese bombs.  For further info please contact Gillian Harrower on 01738 860523 or 07764 575134 Picture by Graeme Hart. Copyright Perthshire Picture Agency Tel: 01738 623350  Mobile: 07990 594431Spooky Scone Palace. Courtesy of PKC Corporate Communications Team

28 – 30 October, 5 – 8pm

Rumour has it that the ‘Spirits of Scone’ have reawakened this Halloween, so keep your wits about you. Join in an atmospheric illuminated tour of the magnificent gardens and spooky graveyard, complete with sensational sound and light effects. Grab something warm and tasty at the coffee shop between 4 – 8.30pm, and watch as the palace transforms before your eyes.

Halloween Party, Glencoe and Dalness

29 October

Halloween’s always a great excuse for a party! Kids can join in all the frightening fun at Glencoe Young Naturalist’s biggest Halloween bash yet, welcoming all witches, wizards and ghouls!

Forest of Frights, Ness Islands, Inverness

29 – 30 October

Don your scariest costumes and explore the unmentionable Forest of Frights, stretching 1300 m across two isles in the middle of the River Ness. Watch out for the creepy ‘Wall of Hands’ and meet some well-known characters along the way, including Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood, as you’ve never seen them before.

Halloween Magic at Haddo, Aberdeenshire

21 & 23 October

Wrap up warm and tiptoe your way around Haddo Country Park by torchlight and admire ominous illuminations from all directions. You never know, you might find yourself meeting a fairy queen or chatting to a tree spirit. Or, maybe there’s something more spooky lurking in the grounds of this fabulous property?

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!

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!). Visit our Halloween page and discover all the spooky surprises we have in store!

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David Walsh is a freelance journalist and travel writer based in Edinburgh.


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