Freaky and fun events in Edinburgh this Halloween
19 October 2015
Edinburgh’s once again got the best on offer this Halloween and as always, its more treat than trick! From family friendly face painting to blood curdling ghost hunts, check out our top tips and choose the right haunt for you this Halloween.
Samhuinn Fire Festival
[Image Credit: Beltane Fire Society]
Be warm and wowed this Halloween by the Samhuinn Fire Festival. Organised by Beltane Fire Society, Samhuinn is a traditional pagan festivity to celebrate the Celtic New Year, and mark the start of seasonal change. Taking the form of a stunning torchlit procession down the Royal Mile and descending into the Old Town, visitors will enjoy acrobatics, fireworks, beautiful costumes and breathtaking performances. Fittingly, this year's celebration takes place at the Grassmarket, deep in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, which has historical significance as a site of All Hallows fairs, throughout the centuries.
Young families looking to get more involved with this year's Fire Festival should also head along to the Scottish Storytelling Centre for a day of craft, drama, storytelling and music workshops based on the Celtic traditions of All Hallow’s Eve – more traditionally known in Scotland as Samhuinn.
No tickets are required for Samhuinn Festival in the Grassmarket, attendance is by donation.
Beltane Society - Samhuinn Fire Festival (website)
Real Mary King’s Close Ghost Hunt
[Image Credit: Real Mary King's Close]
This Halloween weekend, The Real Mary King’s Close invites you to stay up late and discover the mysteries of the famous Mary King’s Close in their exclusively spooky tour, The Dark Truth Experience. The Close is a maze of subterranean streets and spaces, setting the scene for a truly terrifying underground ghost hunt. The hour long Dark Truth Experience is suitable for those not easily scared, provided they're aged 16 and over, and will run from 9pm from Wednesday 28th October until Saturday 31st October.
Check out even more ghost tours on our website, if you're feeling brave enough!
Real Mary King's Close (website) 0131 225 0672
Dungeons Lates Halloween Special
[Image Credit: The Edinburgh Dungeons]
Edinburgh Dungeon are ramping up their normally scary offering this Halloween to bring visitors the biggest, boldest Halloween ever with scary fun, edge of seat tricks and gripping storytelling, amongst other spooky things. Their brand new show for Halloween season - Resurrectionists - takes visitors on an interactive live action tour revisiting Edinburgh's mirky grave robbing past, meeting the villans and creeps along the way.
Throughout the show, visitors will be guided through 1,000 years of Scotland's grimey past and get the chance to experience the disastrous effects of the plague in Street of Sorrows, meet the ghouling Green Lady and feel the presence of infamous cannibal, Sawney Bean.
Visitors are encouraged to book now to prevent disappointment. The Resurrectionists runs between October 9th and November 1st.
The Edinburgh Dungeons, (website), 0871 423 2250
Dia de los Muertos in the Grassmarket
For a real taste of South America this Halloween pop down to the Grassmarket, which will be transformed into a spooky playground with a line-up of free events.
Aiming to bring a taste of Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration to Edinburgh, families can paint their own ‘Day of the Dead’ face masks, get their face painted or decorate some edible skulls.
Running between 10am and 5pm on 31st October, new restaurant El Toro Loco will be on hand to shake up some Apple and Habernero Margarita mocktails, Champurrado - which is Mexican hot chocolate made with chilli - and Pan de Muerto, or Bread of the Dead, which is traditionally made to look like a pile of bones.
There will also be a £10 meal for one voucher for everyone who turns up in their ghoulish Halloween outfit.
El Toro Loco (website), 0131 226 3706
Explore the Haunted Blair Street Vaults
Edinburgh is one of the most haunted cities in Europe, and this Halloween Mercat Tours will take you into the belly of the chilling Blair Street Vaults, described by some as the most haunted site in Britain. Explore this underground labyrinth, teeming with ghosts and spirits, as your guide tells the gruesome tales hidden within the city's secret underworld.
See their full schedule of tours on their website. Places are going fast, so book soon to avoid disappointment.
Paranormal Activity tour at Frankenstein
Want to take a glimpse into the 'other side'? Thistle Knights tours are hosting a Paranormal Activity tour at Frankenstein pub on the 1st November. In the suitably gothic setting of an old church, take on a spooky ghost hunt investigation around the 200 year old building. While on the tour, you will get the opportunity to use equipments such as the Spirit Box, a device used during talks with spirits. Come along if you are brave enough to experience the terrifying and scary, bone chilling night as you make contact with those on the other side. They're waiting for you...
Frankenstein Pub (website) 0131 622 1818
Dancing at the Zombie Zoo
[Image Credit: Edinburgh Zoo]
The Zoo at night can be a dark and spooky place, filled with eerie sounds and rumours of ghosts in the historic Mansion House; so what better place to celebrate Halloween than at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo? At over 100 years old, it's bound to have a few ghostly inhabitants...
Daring visitors will be given the chance to visit the ferocious dinosaurs the night before they leave the Zoo for the very last time. As dark as death itself, visitors will only be able to navigate their way to the 'Dinosaurs Return!' exhibit by torchlight. The Zoo's expert keepers will guide visitors up the hill and past the haunted Mansion House to hear all about the horrifying adaptions dinosaurs developed to hunt and kill their prey.
Next on the menu is a silent disco in the Zoo's Jungle venue, where people can try out their best Thriller dance moves and boogie the rest of the evening away in fabulously ghoulish fashion.
Dressing up like a zombie is encouraged and there will be food and drink available to buy on the night.
Tickets cost £25 and will be available exclusively through Itison>
Edinburgh Zoo (website) 0131 314 0326
Take a trip on the Psychic Cruise with Re-Union Canal Boats
Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd, 1 Union Path, Edinburgh EH3 9QB; 0131 261 8529
Spooky fun for all at Gladstone's Land
Discover some of the darkest secrets of one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile at Gladstone’s Land this Halloween. There’s a spooktacular programme of events taking place on All Hallows' Eve for both kids and grown-ups. Highlights include the Scottish Halloween Tour and Baby Owl Flying which will give kids the opportunity to learn more about the Scottish traditions of Halloween and how to ‘guise’. They’ll even have the chance to help fly Gladstone’s Land very own baby owl, Gladstone. For adults, the Raven Led Tour Halloween Ghost Tour is not for the faint hearted. You’ll learn more about the history of Gladstone’s Land and venture out onto the Lawnmarket to discover the Royal Mile’s gruesome past and the shocking events it has been witness; led Gladstone’s Land’s own raven, Nevermore.
Places are limited for the Scottish Halloween Tour and Baby Owl Flying and theRaven Led Tour Halloween Ghost Tour. To book and to find out about all of the Halloween activities taking place visit the Gladstone’s Land website.
Pumpkin Carving at Edinburgh Farmers Market
[Image credit: Jackie]
Bring your creativity along to Castle Terrace on Saturday 24th October and design your perfect pumpkin for Halloween. Pumpkins are priced at £5, with access to all the carving tools and stencils you'll need to create your own inventive design. The team from Edinburgh Farmers Market will also be on hand to offer creative inspiration and tips! The fun starts at 10.30, so head along early and grab the best pumpkin before they all run out.
If you're under 18, be sure to bring along a parent or guardian along to take part.
Edinburgh Farmers Market, Castle Terrace