Have a Highland Halloween

With the end of October and Halloween almost upon us, I thought a bit of fun was in order and so in this blog I’m revealing some fun facts and ideas for your Halloween. Despite modern parlance such as “trick-or-treating” the traditions of celebrating Halloween can be traced back to the Highlands of Scotland in the middle ages, even the name itself comes from the old Scots language. These days Halloween seems to have embraced other cultural traditions from around the world, and why not – maybe it’s time to start a new trend. Maybe Halloween hot-tubbing? Read on for more ideas to try.

What does Halloween mean?

The word "Hallowe'en" means "hallowed evening" or "holy evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before the Christian holy day of All Hallows' Day). In Scots, the word "eve" is even, and this became e'en or een.

The origins of Halloween

Before the Christian calendar included All Hallow’s Day, the Celtic-speaking people of Scotland and Ireland marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter with celebrations. One of these known as Samhain, meaning end of summer, was celebrated in medieval Scotland on 31 October.

At Samhain, because of the changing of the seasons, the boundary between the living and the dead was thought to thinned, and customs began in which the spirits of the dead were appeased so that people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink, or portions of the crops, were left outside for them. The souls of the dead were also said to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Places were set at the dinner table and by the fire to welcome them.

While in Scotland and Ireland, people have been celebrating Samhain and Halloween since at least the early Middle Ages, it was not until mass Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century that Halloween became a major calendar fixture in North America.

A bit more History

Halloween celebrations in Scotland evolved from leaving food for the spirits of the dead into household festivities including rituals and games and fortune-telling. Seasonal food was still important in these games, and included apple bobbing and nut roasting.

From at least the 16th century, Scottish celebrations included mumming and guising. This involved people going house-to-house in costume (or in disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food. Dressing in disguise as the spirits of the dead was believed to offer guisers protection from the spirits as they revisited the land of the living in darkness. The receipt of apples and nuts in exchange for an act of entertainment was intended to be taken on behalf of the spirits. By the 18th century guising was firmly established in the Scottish Highlands and included playing pranks when disguised, carrying lanterns made from scooped out turnips and demanding reward in exchange for good fortune.

We Scot’s like a party

The folk in the Highlands clearly knew how to have some Halloween fun despite the dreariness, dark and cold of the season. These 500-year-old traditions have become popular all around the world today and have evolved a little too. Decorating your house entrance, garden and interior with icons of Halloween such as witch hats and broomsticks, black cats, ghouls and ghosts, skeletons, bats, spiders and cobwebs and not forgetting jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins or candles all form part of the modern Halloween. If you want to add something new to the current trends, why not have a Halloween hot-tub party?

A Highland Halloween hot-tub party?

Why not – it’s the perfect place to go dooking or bobbing for apples and with a bit of imagination there’s much more you can do:

Surprised Add floating lanterns, tea lights or glow sticks to give your tub an eerie glow

Surprised Set a skeleton adrift on an inflatable lounger or in an inflatable ring

Surprised Fill your ice buckets and cup holders with a blood-red punch

Surprised Invite your guests to bring a fancy-dress swimsuit – you could even make your own by adding white fabric paint in a spiderweb design onto a black costume

Surprised Play some spooky sound-effects and spine-tingling tunes and you’re all ready to party!

No hot-tub? Order now for Christmas, finance available

Now we’ve got you thinking about a Halloween hot-tub party you’re wishing you had one right? Well your wish could be reality as soon as Christmas if you place your order with us before Halloween. What’s more, Highland Home Centre can offer a finance package for any hot tub you order, even for as little as £26 per week! We can find a hot-tub model and finance agreement to suit your budget including three years of interest free repayment! All our finance packages are provided by trusted and well-established Hitatchi Capital UK Ltd. Don’t ponder on this amazing prospect for too long – you could be planning a Christmas or New Year pool party if you order your hot-tub today!