All Hallows Eve, better known as Halloween, is less than a week away. It is a time for costumes, spooky stories and a celebration of the ending of summer and beginning of winter. There is no better place to celebrate the creepiest time of year than Edinburgh, a city renowned for its dark history and many haunting ghost stories. Here are just a few of the things Halloween revellers can get up to in the city this week, to celebrate the most macabre night of the year.
The Samhuinn festival: This festival, organised by the Edinburgh Beltane Fire Society, is held every year on the Royal Mile. It is a medieval pageant, based on a folkplay telling the story of the changing of the seasons as well as celebrating the Celtic New Year. Expect music, fire, folkdance and theatre and a colourful and flamboyant way to celebrate the pagan origins of this time of year. The festival takes place at 9pm on the 31st of October on the Royal Mile. Entry is free. For more information go to the website. There is also an after party being held at the Bongo Club from 11pm. Tickets cost £7.
Fright Night with Faust: At the Usher Hall, reportedly one of Edinburgh’s many haunted venues, there will be a screening of the silent 1926 film Faust. Visitors are encouraged to dress in 20s attire and watch as the film is musically accompanied by the hall’s organ. Prior to the film screening, an illusionist is going to perform a Victorian séance, giving the audience a chance to commune with some of Edinburgh’s ghosts. The screening takes place on the 29 October 2011 from 6.30pm. Tickets cost £12.
Mary King’s Close and Mercat Tours: A staple of the Edinburgh tourist circuit, the ghost tours which take place in the old underground parts of the city are a perfect way to experience some supernatural goings on. From 27-31 October 2011 the Real Mary King’s Close will be hosting Supernatural History Tours, which give participants a chance to examine the myths and legends of the famous close. Mercat Tours have a range of different tours over the Halloween weekend, for the bravest souls as well as the most cowardly, which explore the Blair Street vaults, believed to be the most haunted place in Britain. The Real Mary King’s Close tour costs £15 and starts just off the High Street in the Old Town. Mercat Tours are around £10 depending on which tour is chosen, and begin at St Giles Cathedral.
The Edinburgh Secret Society’s Fright Night: The Secret Society is known for their events “for those of a curious disposition”. This Halloween, they will be staging a special event where the audience will have a chance to see “a real ghost, witness previously unseen footage of genuine psychic ability, contact a spirit celebrity, sacrifice a virgin and summon the devil.” This is an experience which is billed as not for the faint hearted. Tickets cost £8, and the evening takes place on the 28th of October at Edinburgh University’s Anatomy Lecture theatre.
La Mascarade at Ghillie Dhu: For those who prefer to celebrate Halloween with a party rather than a scare, the auditorium at Ghillie Dhu on Rutland Street is holding a masquerade ball, with food, drinks, music, entertainment and general revelry. The dress code is formal, with masks a must for the mysterious Venetian tradition. Tickets cost £25 booked in advance, and £28 on the door. The ball takes place on the 27th of October, at the Ghillie Dhu.