S IS FOR SAMHUINN The true meaning of Hallowe’en can be traced back hundreds of years to the
ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where local communities would party like it was, erm, 1099, as they celebrated the last gasp of the fertile season. The focus was on life and death: the dying of one season and the stirrings of another and during the festival it was thought that the living and the dead could intermingle and celebrate this one night, hand in phantom hand.
The Beltane Fire Society brought the festival of Samhuinn (their spelling) back to pyrotechnic- popping life in the late 1990s, with their outdoor fire celebration on the streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
terrifying underground vaults below Niddry Street.
If you’d rather stay above ground then you can take your tour atop a double-decker bus, with Glasgow’s brand new Ghost Bus Tour (departing from outside the Tourist Information Office, George Square, Glasgow, Thu 29–Sat 31 Oct, www.scotland adventuretours.co.uk). You’ll learn of the city’s dark past of witch burning, murders and grave robbers. Who you gonna call?
Lastly, for glimpse of Scotland’s hardest working ghost, the Mackenzie Poltergeist, City of the Dead tours (www.blackhart.uk.com) offer special access to his stopming ground, the Black Mausoleum in Greyfriars Kirkyard on their Graveyard Tour. ■ See Around Town on page 33 for more information or ‘Y is for Yesteryear’ for more tours.
U IS FOR UNDER THE STARS Ponder the great beyond at Mugdock Country Park’s special Moon Watch event.
Or alternatively take a trip to Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park for their Stargazing Evening, where you can spot stars and planets with the experts. ■ Moon Watch, Fri 23 Oct, 7pm. Free. Mugdock Country Park, Craigallian Road, Milngavie, 0141 956 6586; Stargazing Evening, Fri 30 Oct, 7pm. £tbc. Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Muirshiel Centre, Calder Glen Road, Nr. Lochwinnoch, 01505 842 803.
The society’s re-telling of Samhuinn features the True Blood
Green Man (representing summer) who merges into the Horned God, King of Winter. The two kings battle it out, with fists replaced by fire, drum beats and ritualistic dances.
And where sometimes at Hallowe’en you paint your face the shade of pumpkin and ostensibly feel like a bit of a wally, at the BFS Samhuinn celebration it’s de rigueur. Disguising your face is traditionally a measure to protect against the unwanted attentions of the imps and faeries that slip through from the ‘other world’ to walk the earth for one night only. ■ Samhuinn, Sat 31 Oct, 9pm. Pay by donation. Sets off from Castle Esplanade, Royal Mile, Edinburgh. www.beltane.org
T IS FOR TOURS Get grown-up thrills, away from the guising massive, on an organised ghost tour. Perhaps
the most exciting, and the scariest, of the Hallowe’en tours is Edinburgh’s Auld Reekie Tours Overnight Ghost Hunt (Fri 30 & Sat 31 Oct, www.auldreekie tours.com). The hunt takes place in the geninely
V IS FOR VAMPIRES You can’t move for vampires these days. The second installment of the Twilight movie
series, New Moon, is scheduled for release in December while, on the small screen, Channel 4 have recently started showing the excellent HBO series True Blood on Wednesdays at 10pm. For the impatient, there’s the chance to gorge over
Hallowe’en with the release of the True Blood season one DVD on 26 Oct. Less highly recommended by The List, but worth a look for the True Blood true fan, is Charlaine Harris’ book, A Touch of Dead: a repackaged collection of the Sookie Stackhouse stories on which True Blood is based, published on 29 Oct.
W IS FOR WITCH TRIALS
Be prepared to stand trial for your sins in the mock 17th century courtroom of the Edinburgh Dungeon’s Scare Witch Trials, before making your way through the tunnel of tortured witches and coming face-to-face with the Scare Witch herself. Now with added blood and gore. Nice. ■ The Scare Witch Trials, until 31 Oct, Wed–Tue 10am–5pm; Sat 10am–8pm. £15 (£14; children £11). Edinburgh Dungeon, 31 Market Street, Edinburgh, 0131 240 1001.
X IS FOR X-RATED Subversive fun for adults at Club Noir’s Halloween Burlesque party. It promises
torture, striptease, voodoo and fetish acts as well as live bands, DJs and magicians. Don your nipple tassels and join in the fun. ■ Halloween Burlesque, Sat 31 Oct, 9pm–3am. £14.50. O2 Academy, 121 Eglington Road, Glasgow, 0141 418 3000.
DEAD MEN WALKING
Ahead of Glasgow’s first ever West End
zombie walk, organiser Colin
Armstrong explains the big idea behind his day out for the undead
Colin Armstrong is a man with a dream. A dream to see a large group of mindless, dribbling corpses slowly wandering through Glasgow’s West End.
‘In August I was a zombie extra in a film called I Spit On Your Rave at the Big Chill
festival,’ Armstrong explains. ‘It was great fun, so I wanted to do something similar. I told my friends about these zombie walks I’d heard about and they said I should try and get one on the go.’
Rapidly growing interest in the event on Facebook and Bebo have produced some worried murmurs about safety on the day. However, Armstrong assures us these will be very well-behaved zombies. ‘The major rules of the walk
are that you have to stick to
the pavements and not aggravate anyone (by biting or other means). We have to use proper crossings and overpasses, which will look a little weird when there are 100 zombies waiting on the wee green man. On the flip side, when the man changes from red to green we get to unleash our zombie screams at the folk the other side of the road. Hanging your head, dragging your feet and shouting “brains” becomes socially acceptable!’ ■ www.glasgowzombie walk.co.uk
26 THE LIST 22 Oct–5 Nov 2009
Y IS FOR YESTERYEAR There’s not much that’s scarier than the past: dark, mysterious and always repeating
itself. So, for a chill like no other immerse yourself in Scotland’s bygone eras with a Linlithgow Palace Ghost Tour. The tour covers the bad old days of the 1700s in Scotland and recaps on all the mysterious legends of the Stewart Kings, so you can learn while you squirm. ■ Linlithgow Palace Ghost Tour ,Sat 24 & Sun 25 Oct, 7.30pm & 9.15pm. £8.50. Linlithgow Palace, Kirkgate, Linlithgow, 0131 473 2000.
Z IS FOR ZOMBIE WALK You’ve seen Shaun of the Dead, you know the drill. Now Glasgow’s very first zombie walk through Kelvingrove Park needs your support (see panel). You will be rewarded in hell. ■ Meet outside the Queen Margaret Union, University Gardens, Glasgow, Sat 31 Oct, 3pm. Free.