HALLOWEEN cancelled? I don’t think so!

Just because we can’t go out guising, that doesn’t mean the fun – or indeed the terror – must be postponed. We can still get dressed up and play games, watch scary films and eat sweeties until our teeth hurt.

As highlighted by several readers in our letters pages, each year it feels as though our traditions are in greater danger of being crowded out by ghastly Americanisms like “trick or treating” and shop-bought costumes instead of improvisation, so let’s make 2020 the start of the Scottish Halloween revival. We’ve got a head start given the current requirement to be partially guised just to go to the shops.

Proud Scots will of course be stubbornly carving neeps instead of pumpkins to put in their windows, but please be extra careful with that knife this year. Protect your digits, contain the blood, and keep pressure off the NHS! Your Scottish citizenship will not be revoked if you opt for a pumpkin on health and safety grounds, but you should support Scottish neep farmers with a purchase anyway. What better way to prepare for potential self-isolation than freezing batches of hearty Scotch broth?

READ MORE: Have supermarkets not got the message about Halloween?

Another vegetable-based activity in need of a revival is pulling the stalks to learn your future. Keep an eye on local allotments for would-be MSPs walking blindfolded towards a bed of kale and rooting around in the soil. The length and condition of the stalks is said to determine electoral fortunes – long, healthy and sweet is a positive omen for Holyrood 2021; short, withered and bitter, the opposite.

Heading back indoors, there is much fun to be had playing some old favourites within the safety of your support bubbles.

If your extended household is big enough to make a circle, pop a suitcase of guising gear in the middle along with a bar of chocolate and a knife and fork. Take it in turn to roll two dice, and whoever rolls a double must don gloves, hat and scarf and attempt to cut themselves a square before someone else rolls a double and grabs the gear. If the weans are too slow and end up disappointed, explain to them the chocolate distribution is a metaphor for Barnet consequentials for Scottish businesses impacted by the Covid crisis.

Less frantic and fraught will be pin the policy on Douglas Ross – everyone’s a winner because let’s face it, none of us can say for sure whether he is for or against Brexit, university tuition fees or free school meals for vulnerable children. Bonus prize of a live spider for anyone who manages to pin “tougher enforcement against Gypsy Travellers” directly onto his heart.

Keep in character all evening as part of a murder mystery with a twist – every character is a current or former senior Labour politician. Who will be stabbed in the back? Indeed, who will be stabbed in the front? Can the survivors piece together the clues and apprehend the killer, or has the party as a whole become possessed by evil spirits? Round off the proceedings with a viewing of horror flick The Purge.

Dooking for apples the traditional way might not be quite so appealing this year – ordinarily, of course, one just accepts that drinking from a bowl full of saliva samples is part of the fun – but you can switch to the “fork between the teeth” method and keep the water clean.

This is doubly good for anyone who’s planning to trade their haul of free apples for some Class A drugs, as I understand from Tory MPs is an established practice. Hopefully they are at least doing contact-free transactions at the moment, perhaps packing the drugs into hollowed-out neeps and flinging them from windows.

Said MPs may be accustomed to dining on subsidised chargrilled ribeye steak and pan-fried salmon, but maybe since we’re all in this together they’ll be joining us mere mortals for one night only in biting into treacle-coated homemade scones dangling from strings. It would be a shame if anyone’s tweed jacket or double-breasted funeral suit was irreparably stained in the process.

READ MORE: The traditional Scottish Halloween has almost completely disappeared

In fact, maybe this Halloween tradition of hands-free consumption could be incorporated into House of Commons hospitality, as a way of raising morale in difficult times. MPs could have the options of paying full price to dine in conventional fashion – at a table, with knife and fork – or paying the subsidised rate but being deprived of cutlery and ushered into a special dining room with glass walls. Members of the public could pay to watch them with their snouts literally in a trough, inhaling their roast celeriac puree and Bearnaise sauce, with all profits going towards displaying a huge billboard proclaiming “EAT THE RICH” directly in their line of vision.

Apologies, I have digressed. What more fun and games can we look forward to tomorrow night?

A costume competition, of course, with extra points for creativity and sustainability. If your child can’t whip up a bat costume using bin bags or build a robot suit out of Amazon packaging then I’m afraid your home-schooling has failed. A china doll with a cracked face for the winner, followed by a lifetime of sleeping with one eye open.

For late-night adult viewing, consider 1973 classic The Wicker Man (an excellent staycation deterrent), 90s black comedy Shallow Grave or supernatural spine-chiller Under the Skin.

Whatever you do, don’t switch over to the news. Let’s pretend everything in the real world is fine, for one night only.



We’re running a competition to see your best Westminster-themed Halloween costumes.

First place receives a cash prize of £100, and the winner will be determined via a reader poll!

Click here to find out more and to enter.