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Halloween in Scotland

Scotland’s Halloween traditions

Hallowe’en, All-Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Eve, Allhalloween ...

However it’s known to you, Halloween has its roots in the Gaelic festival of Samhain, first attested in the 16th century. The word Halloween itself is Scottish, and derives from the Scots shortening of All-Hallows Eve.

Robert Burns, whose ‘Halloween’ poem was published in 1786, said this time of year was ‘thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands’.

While today Halloween often conjures up images of pumpkins, Scottish traditions included the carving of a very different foodstuff. Find out more in our list of 6 Scottish Halloween traditions, some of which may be a bit of a surprise!

The Trust cares for many objects associated with some of Scotland’s spookiest stories. From the portrait of Lady Margaret Duff at Brodie Castle to the bone-chilling bezoar of Brodick Castle, discover these petrifying pieces that our curators have uncovered in the darker corners.

A black and white photo of a small boy and a black cat standing on a step outside a castle. Snow lies on the ground in the background.

Ghosts of Scotland

Watch out! There are ghosts about!

We’ve got lots living at our places (they’re all very friendly, of course!), and many members of our staff have revealed their own eerie encounters with the spirits of Scotland.

Will you spot the ghosts of Clan MacDonald on the dramatic mountain landscape of Glencoe? Or be haunted by the Grey Lady in the Tapestry Gallery of Falkland Palace?

Plan your ghost hunt today at one of our many haunted houses and and check out these spine-chilling Scottish ghost stories!

As well as ghosts, we also have links to the spooky and supernatural –from wood carvings and photographs to glorious pumpkin patches – at many of our properties. Discover our Halloween hidden secrets

The strong room at Culross Palace, with wood-panelled walls either side of a stone fireplace. A chair and desk stand in the corner of the room, with a quill and candlestick upon it.
The haunted strongroom at Culross Palace
A white illustration of a ghost piper, dressed in ceremonial hat and tartan sash, is superimposed on a dark photo of the beach at Culzean. The castle can just be seen on top of the cliffs in the background. Lightning forks flash from the sky.

Halloween recipes

In the mood for some wicked Halloween food? You’ll love trying these hauntingly healthy and ghoulishly good recipes!

Autumnal recipes, from soups to martinis

Want even more ideas for tasty treats? If you’re carving a Halloween pumpkin this year, use the flesh and seeds to make this delicious Creamy Pumpkin & Lentil Soup.

For a spooky sweet treat, these Bone-chilling Boo-nana Lollies, coated in coconut, are a healthier Halloween treat for children – and they’ll have lots of fun making them as well.

Need something to wash it all down? This Eerie Eyeball Punch is a great Halloween party idea that’ll definitely prove a hit.

Three peeled bananas are impaled on lollipop sticks and lie in a row. They are covered in desiccated coconut and have raisins to suggest eyes and an open mouth.

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