Spending Halloween in Edinburgh
Mon 31 Oct 2016, various venues.
Halloween or All Hallows Eve is a celebration of all things spooky and scary, taking place on 31st October each year. It is a modern version of the ancient Celtic festival Samhuinn, which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.
Edinburgh is known as one of the spookiest cities in the UK and there are lots of organised events on for Halloween. It is advisable to book early as they are very popular with both locals and tourists.
Things to do in Edinburgh for Halloween 2016
- Haunted Mysteries, Murder and Legends Tour (year round)
- Murder and Mystery Tour (year round)
- Ghost and Gore Tour (year round)
- The Ghost Bus (year round)
- Edinburgh Dungeons (year round)
- The Real Mary King’s Close (year round)
- Ghillie Dhu Murder Mystery Nights (27 Oct)
- Halloween Ceilidh at the Counting House (28 Oct)
- Halloween at Lauriston Castle (30 Oct)
- Samhuinn Fire Festival (31 Oct)
Traditional Halloween Festivities
- Fancy Dress – Dressing up in costume. Popular characters include skeletons, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, vampires and witches.
- Bobbing for Apples – Also called ‘Dooking’ here in Scotland. This game is played using a barrel filled with water and floating apples. Players must bend over the barrel with arms behind their backs and pick the apples out using only their teeth. The person who gets the most apples over a fixed period of time is the winner.
- Trick-or-treating – This tradition originated in Scotland in the 19th century as Guising – where children would dress up in costume and go door-to-door around the neighbourhood performing in return for food and coins. The custom of shouting ‘Trick or Treat!’ has become common today. The idea being if the children don’t get a treat from their neighbour (usually sweets or chocolate), they will play a trick on them.
- Making Jack-o-lanterns – Spooky faces are carved into hollowed-out turnips or pumpkins and candles placed inside to create a festive lantern.
- Telling Ghost Stories or Watching Horror Films – Turning out the lights to tell scary stories or watch horror movies is sure to scare everyone silly.
- Halloween Parties – Both adults and children throw parties incorporating some or all of the above activities, along with the usual food, drink, music and games.