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Celebrate Halloween at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

As Halloween looms closer and the nights grow shorter, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival will this year again host a range of fantastic events for kids, adults and families – with plenty of opportunity to join in with traditional activities and fun!

The spook-themed frivolities kick off at the Circus Café with Guid Crack at Halloween on Friday the 28th, as guest storyteller Mara Menzies hosts the monthly storytelling club for adults, with a focus on scary tales (but leaving room for some laughs too!).

The following day, families have a selection of activities to choose from – the Museum of Childhood hosts free family event A Spooky Time at the Museum in the early afternoon (drop in slots at 10.30am & 1.30pm), with the opportunity for kids to paint their own glow-in-the-dark skeletons, perfect for decorating the house with. It’s then only a short hop across the round to the Storytelling Centre, where Family Samhuinn will be going ahead from 12-3pm. The much older Celtic festival Samhuinn is completely intertwined with what we now know as Halloween (or Guising as known from Scottish and North England customs), and ahead of the spectacular but more adult-oriented Samhuinn Fire Festival on the Monday night, families are invited to join this free, drop-in family event for a day of crafting, face painting, dancing, drumming and other fun activities, plus stories from mesmerising costumed storytellers. All are encouraged to wear their favourite Halloween costumes, and the day will be suitable for families of all ages, promising a memorable day of seasonal celebrations!

Lauriston Castle will also be opening up to families on Sunday the 30th at 10am for Halloween at the Castle, costumes encouraged, where kids and parents can enjoy a fun-filled afternoon of treats in the historic Castle (but are advised to watch out for the resident ghosts and ghouls!) – booking early is encouraged as it’s always a popular day.

Last year, TRACS launched a new Guisers resource, an introduction to the variety of traditional guising activities prevalent across Scotland, including a “ready-made guising routine” incorporating Gaelic & Scots and including poetry, song, the Galoshins folk play and the Gaelic Oidhche Challuinn. The resource is freely available to everyone online, and will also be put to good use at Guisers Galore on Sunday the 30th at the Storytelling Centre, where introductory workshops will be held, encouraging kids and families to learn a song, a poem and a dance before heading out on a Guisers Trail around the Old Town, with support from lively storytelling duo Macastory and storyteller Allison Galbraith who specialise in the spooky!

In the evening, storytellers Daniel Serridge, Lauren Bianchi and Dougie Mackay take you into the dark and disturbing world of Chilean folklore with Stories from the Shadows: Chile. Sitting off the coast of Chile lies the archipelago Chiloe, a mysterious place rich in folklore and myth that holds tales to chill your bones. Featuring shadow puppetry and song, this evening will prove to be the perfect Halloween warm up for those with a little more appetite for the darker side of folklore…

Halloween itself comes as the final day of the Storytelling Festival, but never fear as there are further creepy treats to enjoy. Tim Porteus is a fantastic storyteller who specialises in working with children to bring out their inner thirst for stories – showcasing the pupils from Burnbrae Primary School’s own spooky stories at Once Upon a Halloween at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. And to continue on with the creative theme, as a conclusion to the Festival’s Ghost Story Competition in partnership with the National Library of Scotland, ten winning stories from over 250 entries are shared at Ghostly Tales for Telling by some of Scotland’s most accomplished storytellers: Michael Williams, Claire Druett, Daniel Allison, Ian Stephen, Fiona Herbert and Tim Porteus. Organised to mark the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the wild creative process that went into its creation through a simple challenge on a rainy night, perhaps a modern classic will be born this Halloween evening!

We hope that you mark the season well and attend one or more of our Scottish International Storytelling Festival Halloween events – there’s a wealth of fun and spookiness in store.