Activities: Halloween Trails and Beyond…

Activities: Halloween Trails and Beyond…

Have you got any favourite Halloween events?  We’ve already been round the Botanics Halloween Trail already this year and I’m sure we’ll be going again. With young children we don’t like to attend gruesome or scary events and prefer to find things that just involve lots of fun and activity. Rather than doing ‘trick or treat’ here, we follow the Scottish tradition of guising so are already busy preparing a song to perform on Halloween.  There are loads of great events on offer this holiday, if you’re still looking for ideas…

The Ultimate Halloween Party

In less than ideal weather it’s sometimes best to stay indoors – so a great bet is Edinburgh’s largest family Halloween parties! Jam packed with ‘Spooktacular’ activities including magic from Alexander The Great, a Halloween Hop Dance Part, Messy Play with Make Mess Matter, Ghoulish Games, Mischievous Mascots, Frightful Face Painting from Pure Brilliant Events, a Phantom Photo Booth from Clear Photography, Spooky silver printing with Abi from Small Print, Creepy Creatures animal handling from the Animal Man, and Chilling Crafts with Little Crafters. In short, it’s pretty epic.

There’s not that many tickets left but for those toddling up to about nine years – this is the place to be this Halloween.

For the whole family

Home of all things Harry Potter – you can also head to the Grassmarket for a free family-friendly Halloween event on Saturday 28 October from 12pm-9pm.

Count Dracula and his gruesome gang of witches will be leading a parade (every hour) around the Grassmarket Square, all ready for children to  join in and show off their costumes – with a chance to win £100 worth of Harry Potter licensed items for the best dressed child!

From 12pm – 5pm, there will be drop-in workshops where kids can make their own spooky masks, hats and brooms. Throughout the day, Halloween characters will be walking around the Greater Grassmarket to entertain kids – from Merlin the giant wizard to the friendliest werewolf. Visitors can even find out their fate from the Grim Reaper.

Families are also invited to learn about the macabre history of the Greater Grassmarket with the free Kids Historic Trail, featuring chilling stories of the Wizard of West Bow and Half-hangit Maggie who is said to have come alive after being hanged. There will also be a free ‘treasure hunt’ where kids can follow the clues to find their hidden Halloween treasure.

Mamma’s Pizza and El Toro Loco restaurants will also be giving away free samples of pumpkin pizza and ghastly eyeball Brigadeiro for dressed-up visitors attending the Greater Grassmarket Halloween event.

From 5pm – 9pm, the Greater Grassmarket will be lit up with animations, classic Halloween film clips, lasers and beams projected onto buildings.

Halloween Trails

We had a great time completing the Botanics Halloween Trail with friends last week, and I love that it’s running in the weeks up until Halloween so we can pop in again. Katie gets to wear whatever costume she fancies and it’s a great excuse to get some fresh air.

We also really enjoyed the National Trust for Scotland Halloween trail at Newhailes in previous years. This year they’ve got hidden clues around the estate but also an array of arts and crafts too.


For Older Kids



Given the unsociable hours of the Samhuinn fire festival, I wouldn’t say it was one for small children. It does take place in the dark and the audience tends to be very tightly packed in places. But with all that in mind, I still think it’s a tradition not to be missed. Inspired by local myth, legend and tradition, it explores themes are are Scottish heritage. Whilst those ‘down south’ commemorate a historic act of political terrorism, I think there’s a much deeper meaning to Samhuinn. With the mix of thundering drums, physical theatre and of course fire, it conjures up something something dar more historic and engrained in history. I would hazard a guess that it would be hard to find anything quite like it. So whilst wisdom is obviously needed, when my children are a little older, just as I don’t want to lose the tradition of guising, I certainly wouldn’t want them to miss out on Saimhuinn either.




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