Halloween in Scotland

main-content

Welcome to the home of Halloween!

Foggy, eerie Halloween in Scotland. MacBackpackers

The Origins of Halloween

With things getting all spooky for Halloween - Celtic cultures in Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and elsewhere are preparing to celebrate Samhuinn, marking the end of the harvest season. Traditionally the time of year when cattle were driven back down from their summer pastures, having been sent there during Beltane in May.

In the Celtic calendar, the traditional festival of Samhuinn is a time that marks the end of the summer and beginning of the winter. It was believed that at this time of the year the veil between the land of the living and the departed is thinnest. This means the Aos Sí, the 'spirits' or 'faeries', can more easily come into our world. Besides causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. To celebrate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. 

Misty Isle of Skye. MacBackpackers Halloween

Halloween Traditions

Many old traditions have remained in today's Halloween celebrations. Guising or ‘galoshin’ amongst children was common. According to folklore, this was so that they could venture out safely without being detected by wicked ghouls.

Traditionally, Scottish used to also carve neeps (turnips), in the same way as the pumpkins are carved today, and make lanterns. However, some things have changed. Did you know that The Witchcraft Act of 1735 forbid the consumption of pork pastries on Halloween? Eating them was only made legal again in the 1950's. Since then sausage rolls have been a popular Halloween treat. So, if you have a sausage roll tonight, you can feel privileged to be allowed to do so without risk of getting caught.🍖

Later, combined with the Christian All Saints Day, taking place on the November 1st, and All Souls Day, Samhuinn became All Hallow's Eve, Allhalloween, and thus Halloween.

Spooky Castle Ruins. MacBackpackers Halloween

Things to do in Scotland

With haunted castles, eerie woodland walks, hair-raising ghost tales and spooky activities - there are few countries more stuffed with haunted sites than Scotland.

If you are in Edinburgh, you can take part in the traditional Samhuinn Festival, which celebrates the old Celtic traditions. For the first time ever, Samhuinn Fire Festival marks the turn of the seasons at the top of Calton Hill. That means more space, more performers, more drummers, and, of course, more fire.

There are also plenty of ghost tours around Scotland. Visit Scotland recently introduced this great map as well that helps you to find the scariest, most haunted places around our wee country. 

Ghost Trail Scotland

Photo credit: Visit Scotland

Stay spooky and stay safe on this eeriest of evenings. Oidhche Shamhna shona dhuibh uile!👻☠️🎃

 

Our tours of Scotland take you to visit spooky places all year around. Read more about all our tours and join us to listen to horrible histories, mysterious stories and fascinating myths.

Featured Reviews

Private Tours

Ashleigh Cameron said...

Tim was fantastic! really knew his stuff and it made the whole trip even more interesting, showed us some pretty incredible places and even tailored the tour so we could check out the Glenfinnan Viaduct which was…
Read More Buzz

Instagram

  • Image for Happy National Beer Day!
  • Image for Gearrannan Blackhouse Village is a very unique hostel in Scotland. The coastal crofting village is situated in a secluded bay within the district of Carloway, on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. We stay in this fantastic accommod
  • Image for Happy #coosday everyone!
  • Image for
  • Image for Edinburgh getting ready for the Quidditch World Cup again.
  • Image for Hey fam! We're on Snapchat! Let's be friends?
  • Image for A throwback to @markmacb's first 7 Day Best of the West this year.
  • Image for There's definitely never a dull moment on our tour!
  • Image for Our favourite day of the week is here! A Throwback Thursday. What is your favourite memory from our tour?
  • Image for If you are looking for eternal beauty, Scotland is your place.
  • Image for A throwback to those fab summer days! We can't wait to refresh in the pools again.
  • Image for It's World Bee Day!
  • Image for You make our world go round.
  • Image for Happy Eat What You Want Day!
  • Image for Some amazing pictures from the last few days of the 5 Day Skye and Highland Fling.
  • Image for Can we all just take a moment to appreciate this picture, please. That's Eilean Donan just casually covered in snow.
  • Image for Thanks for sharing your fantastic memories with us @theconstanttravellers.

Cannae wait for more views like these
  • Image for When you think about seeing a few historic places in Scotland, and your guide starts right from 170 million years ago.
  • Image for We're always looking for new, exciting routes. Recently, we've been testing our new vehicles for a tour going to Ahch-To. Who's up for this?
  • Image for Two bank holidays can only mean one thing - two fabulous long weekends!☀️ Here's a throwback to May to get you planning your next wee getaway. Who's planning to explore new places this weekend?
  • Image for We're not mooooooo-ving anywhere!
  • Image for Our spring sale ends soon! Book before 30th April to save an extra 15% on all our standard tours.
  • Image for Visit the splendid Scottish Highlands and Islands this summer!
  • Image for Happy #coosday!
  • Image for Happy Easter everyone!
  • Image for Since we might reach 21°C this weekend, here's a throwback to a lovely summer day few years back.
  • Image for The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie were decisively defeated by Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, in Culloden
  • Image for Some call it tuesday, we call it #coosday!

MacTweets