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October 27, 2020

The opportunity for Halloween parties may be limited this weekend but Scotland's Halloween customs have been around a long time and, much like a good ghost story, they seem likely to linger for years to come.

From dookin' for apples to guising, many of our Halloween traditions are echoes of old Celtic customs which have mutated and changed as they travelled down through the years.

While pumpkin carving may have overtaken turnip carving in the 21st century, the habit of carving scary faces into turnips, or tumshies, goes back a long way.

The idea is that the fierce faces will frighten away evil spirits.

Other food-related Halloween customs have fallen from favour.

For instance, people used to pull up kale roots and examine them for clues about future life partners. The shape and length of the root was said to predict the shape and height of future husbands while the earth around the root was a measure of how wealthy the couple would be.

Similarly, throwing hazelnuts in a fire was thought to indicate how harmonious a marriage might be. If they burned steadily then all would be well.

If the hazelnuts hissed and exploded then it might be a stormy marriage.

Haunted hotel

One way to avoid hissing hazelnuts is a romantic break and, over on our Big Deal page, we have a great offer on a one or two night stay at Tulloch Castle Hotel, Dingwall.

With lovely views of the Cromarty Firth and Black Isle, this 12th century castle has many period features such as the 250-year old panelled Great Hall, plus painstakingly restored original fireplaces and ornate ceilings.

Options start at £59 for an overnight stay with breakfast. Full details here.

Tulloch Castle has 20 en-suite bedrooms, each with its own unique character and charm.

Romantic strolls

We fancy the idea of soaking up the atmosphere and taking romantic strolls along the coast. We can also see the attractions of nipping down to the Speyside Whisky Trail.

Of course, like any good Scottish castle, Tulloch is said to be haunted. In particular, The Green Lady, possibly the ghost of a former owner, has been spotted by guests.

Very chilling and all the more reason to snuggle up in front of an open fire at Tulloch Castle Hotel.