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My Very Scottish Halloween

9th Oct 2017
My Very Scottish Halloween

We caught up with our guide, Stephanie, to hear of the best things about Halloween, here's what she told us:

For many people when you ask the question “what is your favourite time of year?” you will probably get a response about summer. They like warmth, the sun tans and the days at the beach. Or they might tell you how they love winter, the crisp cool nights sipping on mulled wine and the smell of cinnamon in the air. But spare a thought for those of us, like me, that prefer that in between time. Autumn; when the world turns beautiful reds and oranges, it’s not too hot and not too cold and like baby bear’s porridge - it’s just right! 

Autumn also includes that one special holiday, the time of year that every child loves, when they can dress up and ask strangers for sweets. A night of listening to horrifying ghost stories whilst eating all those sweets. It is of course Halloween! A time of fun for everyone and not just the children.

I’ve loved Halloween for as long as I can remember. I enjoyed guising as a child and the thrill of dressing up as a witch (my personal favourite) to visit my grandparents and show off my brilliant Halloween costume. This time of year in childhood also meant school discos. I vaguely remember the Halloween music which consisted of the theme tune to “Ghostbusters” and “Time Warp”. Lyrics we all knew and sang in a hall filled with gloomy lights and smoke. Once the disco finished, it came time for the best part of the night; guising. We would rush home to visit our neighbours and sing our Halloween rhymes:

“Halloween is coming the Geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny a hap’ney will do
If you haven’t got a hap’ney
God Bless you!”

Ok, I know it’s very similar to a very well-known rhyme from another holiday. My personal favourite was always the less fussy:

“Trick or treat, smell my feet
Give me something good to eat”

Our neighbours would drop sweets into our Halloween bags. At the end of the night, we would empty our bags to see what we had achieved for our efforts. We would love comparing our sweets and eating them as we counted how many we got. This was always followed by protestation as our parents would limit our sweet intake and remind us of the very real threat of losing our teeth!

My childhood Halloweens were the best and my love for Halloween has not left me! Living in Edinburgh has only increased my fondness for Halloween. This gothic city with its historic streets and intriguing graveyards make it the perfect setting to celebrate Halloween! There is always so much to keep you busy. From the Samhuinn Fire Festival to the wonderful ghost tours (ok, I might be a little biased with that one). Working with Mercat Tours definitely keeps my Halloween enthusiasm alive and well. It gives me all the excuse I need to get dressed up (I still love a witches' outfit) and share the tales of the city with people from all over the world. It’s every wee Scottish guiser’s dream – or at least it was for me. Happy Halloween!

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