We really were not sure what to expect for Halloween in Scotland. We had seen a few Halloween decorations going up in storefronts and people’s homes. The supermarket had one row that had costumes and decorations. Of course there was no shortage of chocolate …
We asked the family and a few people we met what to expect. What we learned was that it wasn’t near as big of a deal as it is at home and trick-or-treating was called “guising.”
The first costume we had planned on was a fail. For the life of me I couldn’t find the zipper we bought – Rohan was going to have his face unzip and be all bloody and gory. So, to the next idea – but turns out the face paint I bought from the Dollar Store in Canada was shite and it wasn’t covering his face. A quick run over to Tesco to see what they had at 7pm on Halloween night – and the boys came home with better make up and Daddy went to work.
Finished and ready to go – it had now started spitting rain. Out we went anyway and around the back of our flat, there was a circle of houses. We knocked on two different doors. The lights were on and no one answered. It wasn’t going well….. We went out onto Corstorphine Road where it was busier and we knew for sure we had seen one house decorated. We knocked on that door and they answered! We didn’t know that they expect you to have a trick, or a joke or a dance – something to entertain them with and then you get a treat. They told us a few of their jokes so we could use them as we went door to door. They were super nice and super super helpful.
Right across the street was a huge house and we could see, from the other side of the road, into their dining room window. Full on decorated and the people were all in costume. We started to head over and Rohan, as we were walking up their drive way was saying no, no, I don’t want to do this … no. I went up to the door with him and rang the bell.
The huge door opened and Dracula appeared. I said we were visiting from Canada and didn’t really know Halloween worked in Scotland. The next thing we knew we were invited in. Rory and I both had whiskey’s in our hands and Rohan was helping himself to the spread of food all over their dining room table. Dracula introduced us to his wife, and his grown kids who were all, also in costume. There was a small boy there – probably around 5 years old and soon, more family arrived two kids closer to Rohan’s age.
They played and ate and played some more. They told us all their jokes and sang their Halloween songs. And then it was time to start the games.
Apple bobbing was up first – but not in the way we do it at home. This was quite brilliant. Apples in a bucket of water is still the same – but then a chair is placed beside the bucket. You kneel on the chair and hang over the bucket with a fork in your mouth. The intent is to drop the fork and the pines stick into an apple, which is floating in the water. Brilliant. You get a turn then move to the next person.
side note: just looked up bobbing for apples with a fork and the Scottish term “dooking for apples” appeared. Apparently it’s unhygenic but then goes on to say that Scots are sturdy and “we have more than enough antibodies to put our faces in dooking water.” Dooking – makes me laugh.
OK, so we all took turns, adults included. I speared my apple on the first go! It kind of levels the playing field and also great that you don’t have to ruin your Halloween makeup by putting your face into the water.
Next up was the donut eating. But first, the whiskey’s had been refilled again….
Donuts were tied onto strings and an adult held onto a donut while a child tried to eat without any hands. It was too much fun. This family was so welcoming and turned what would have been the worst Halloween ever, to one of the best Halloween’s and also one of the best experiences we’d had on this entire trip so far. It’s not easy to make friends while you’re traveling and even if you do – being invited so openly into their homes and being treated so well, it’s just not happened on this trip. We’re so very grateful.
We said our goodbye’s although we didn’t want to go, but the alarm was going off at 3am the next morning as it’s time for us to leave Scotland and head to warmer climates. Spain here we come.
I ran over the next morning and stuck a note in their door, thanking them again for such a wonderful evening and their hospitality. I left our email address … who knows if we’ll ever see or hear from them – but I hope they do know, that night with them was soooo awesome.