Scottish Halloween Traditions

Halloween is one of my favourite events in the year. The colder evenings, the lit up homes, decorations and not forgetting the very stressful times organising an outfit for a child who can’t make up their mind until the day. Scottish Halloween events are rare to find who why don’t I tell you all about some Scottish Halloween Traditions.


When it comes to scottish halloween traditions, guising is probably one of the only ones remaining, even if its done completely different here in the 21st Century. Guising was dressing up both adults and children to disguise them from the returning dead who may have been seeking some revenge on anyone who had crossed them in their life. Disguised, the children could wander among the spirits of the dead visiting the feasting houses on Hallowe’en, where they would receive an offering of nuts or fruit to ward off evil.

traditional halloween guisers

These days the children dress up in a fancy costume , rarely handmade. They go from door to door telling jokes, singing songs or showing off some tricks and in return the occupants will give them sweets, fruit or money.

The end of the night is when the children check on their goodies and keep them out of reach of us mums who love a good treat, am I right?

Neep Lanterns

Carved neeps from scottish halloween traditions
Neep Lantern

Many moons ago small communities in Scotland, came together and lit bonfires. Children would be given a turnip, knife and spoons and asked to carve the neeps into scary faces. Once the insides were scooped out, it could then be served with dinner. The carved neep would then be placed around the bonfires on Halloween to scare off any ghouls wandering.

I speak as if it were a few hundred years ago but my friends parents always spoke about carving neeps. Oh how easy we had it as children. Thanks to our fellow Americans for showing the Scots that pumpkins are a bit easier. I thank you on behalf of all Scottish Children carving this year.

Dookin’ for Apples

dookin for apples
Fred Dookin’ for Apples, 2020

The game is played by filling a tub with water, adding apples and trying to get one with your teeth. Hold back your hair or you’ll end up soaked. There are many tales of where this traditional game came from. My favourite version is that it was a British courting ritual.

Young ladies seeking a potential husband would dook for the Apple with his name on. If she was able to bite the apple and pick it up with only her teeth, they would be destined for romance. If not then there would be no romance between the two.

Halloween Today

halloween at blair drummond, toddlers at blair drummond halloween event
Harris & Danny at Blair Drummond Halloween event 2020

Halloween today is lots of fun and very different to Scottish Halloween Traditions. The build up to it is super exciting. I love going into bargain stores to see what is the latest D├ęcor trend.

We celebrate it in many ways, much differently than before. When Autumn comes around we start decorating our homes. I usually book tickets to the many events that take place for Halloween. Picking our own pumpkins from the many local farms that have been growing them all year round. We attend Halloween parties also.

But guising is where the fun is at. We live in a fishing village where we know almost everyone. Finding homes decorated for Halloween and knocking to tell a joke in return for some sweeties is a huge highlight of the year. We are super lucky where we live as the community really do come together to make it fun for all of the children.

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