Scotland is by many accounts considered the home of Samhuinn – a traditional Celtic holiday. The end of summer and beginning of winter is embraced, and it is believed that this change in season causes two worlds to nearly collide; the druids would prepare a feast for the one day a year when those from beyond could join the living in a celebration.
Lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to frighten away evils, and laying out a feast of new harvest fit for a king for the kinder sprites was a norm on a night when the doorway between living and the dead would open in search of an opening for a permanent residence. The twilight is inviting, and so Halloween is the favourite time of the year to many in the city as it is a perfectly valid excuse to be a little naughty, a lot frightful and perhaps a pinch childish, too. This year, like every year, the city explodes with activities all themed with Halloween and horror for all the family, the hoards of students and tourists alike.
Who loves Halloween more than children? Costumes, candy, tricks, candy, ghouls, candy. Well, at least if American television is to be believed. Instead, traditional Samhuinn is more about the ghouls and activities of lantern making, bonfires, secret haunts and witchery in the grander scale. Some of the most exciting children’s events for Halloween has an almost-adult like myself trying to find a good enough excuse to join some of these events myself!
Friday 18th & Saturday 19th October: Halloween Hoedown – Puppetry Workshops
- Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – STUDIO. 2pm & 3.30pm (1hr)
- Free, booking essential. Learn how to make your own puppets with Yugen Puppet Company.
- Part of Scottish International Storytelling Festival.
Sunday 20th October Bewitched!
- Free, drop-in. Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – STUDIO. 11.30am (1hr)
- Join traditional storyteller, or Shennachie, Jess Smith and hear magical tales of witches and the supernatural from the Scottish travelling culture.
- Part of Scottish International Storytelling Festival.
Saturday 19th – Thursday 31st – October Spooky Happenings at Almond Valley
Encounter unearthly creatures on a trail of terror, collect the clues and claim a small prize for your bravery. Join in with creepy crafts and gruesome games, and have a spine-tingling good time.
Friday 25th October Friday Fright Night
6pm-9pm. Doors re-open after dark for traditional Halloween games, a moonlight trail, and a ghost train journey into the depths of the night. Come dressed to kill. Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingston.
Saturday 26th October: Harry Potter Film Showing & Wizarding Ball
Ghillie Dhu does it in style; Get sorted to your house upon entry, enjoy a food banquet and a butter beer or two whilst taking part in Quidditch, Wizarding Ball and watching the first of Harry Potter films! 12-5pm, £10.00 Per Person (All Ages).
Saturday 26th October The Big Halloween Big Draw
Free, drop-in. Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two. 1.30-4.30pm. A magical potion of Halloween fun for budding artists, inspired by the exhibition Witches and Wicked Bodies. Find your funny bone by creating your own mixed media dancing skeleton; make a magnificent magic wand from brightly coloured paper, silks and ribbons and use traditional pen and ink techniques to join our ‘Witches Gathering’ by drawing your very own witch to add to our eerie group work. Free entry to exhibition for participating families.
Friday 1st November The Meadows: The Sick Kids Halloween Freaky Friday Monster March
The Sick Kids are holding the first ever Freaky Friday Monster March event. There are plenty of spooky shenanigans planned for this fancy dress sponsored walk around the Meadows, from 6-8pm. Terrifying and fun in equal measures, entry fee is just £7 per person!
Technically a little old for trick or treating? Cannot pass off your obsession with Harry Potter due to the fact you have kids as your kids are already in college or don’t have kids at all? There are some very special treats for the rest of us as well, as Halloween is not all about kids
Thursday 31st October: Halloween Murder Mystery – The Sorority
Blue Murder Events and Ghillie Dhu have framed up for the perfect Halloween event for crime fictions fans; Following a tradition started almost two thousand years ago, The Sorority Coven meet. However, they have come a long way from the pointed black hats, billowing cloaks and broomsticks of their ancestors. There are pressing issues for The Sorority to discuss…
Friday 1st November: Club Noir Halloween Horrorama
- At the Picture House, Edinburgh, 11pm till 3am for some Kitsch horror. Bloodthirsty burlesque. Glamorous Scream Queens with fetish for Halloween. Cabaret of 14+ acts: striptease, dance, live music, variety. Devil, Madame De Sade, Ghosts, Lady MacBeth, Playing With Fire, etc, etc.
- Also starring DJs playing vintage and modern music.
- Dress up. Like only a Club Noir audience knows how! Anything Goes.
And to wrap the Halloween season up is the ever breath taking Beltane Fire Society’s Samhuinn Fire Festival, October 31 from 9pm.
And last but definitely not the least, travelling from a bit further away, a student? Not is the city alive with ghouls and witches, ready to frighten the bravest of souls, is the Frankenstein’s Halloween Party Week from 25th October till 3rd November every night till 2am- and not just any party week, but one of the biggest Halloween parties in Europe! Come dressed for occasion and jump cue!
The Edinburgh Address loves Halloween just as much as the next person – therefore, our October is filled with special offers to coincide with the busy October! Browse through the special offers on the homepage and find the perfect location to stay whilst getting frightened out of your wits – or while enjoying a calmer Halloween, enjoying the best of the Edinburgh autumn has to offer.