The spookiest time of year is upon us once again and we’re delighted to see that, for 2021, COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed enough to allow the third sector and communities across the Falkirk area to bring back some much-loved indoor and in-person Halloween events, parties and discos – and of course the return of guising, or “trick-or-treating”!
Our team have gathered information about some local events and other Halloween themed activities and resources – the full list is available below:
Via Zoom: Dates-n-Mates is Scotland’s first friendship and dating agency run by and for adults with a learning disability. They invite both members and non-members to join them for their “Spooktacular Virtual Halloween Party” on the evening of Thursday 28th October 2021. Find out more about the event and how to join in on the Dates-n-Mates newsletter!
- With Our Local Libraries and a Good Book
With the weather getting colder, wetter, and the nights drawing in, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to curl up with a blanket, a hot drink and a spooky tale. And our fantastic libraries across Falkirk have got you covered!
Falkirk Community Trust runs libraries in Falkirk town centre, Bonnybridge, Denny, Larbert, Grangemouth, Meadowbank in Polmont, Bo’ness and Slamannan. All Falkirk libraries are back to their pre-COVID-19 opening hours and services – you no longer need to make an appointment to browse, but you will be asked for your details for contact tracing. (Fewer PCs are available now due to physical distancing arrangements, so booking in advance is advised to avoid disappointment.)
Their Click and Collect service continues at all libraries – you can ask the libraries team to choose books for you, so all you need to do is pop in and pick up. You can also request books from the library catalogue. (Please wait until the team has been in touch to say your books are ready before stopping by to collect.)
You can also download their free Libby app to your smartphone or tablet to read books and magazines and listen to audiobooks.
Waterstones recently released their top picks for Halloween this year – and they’re available via our Falkirk Libraries! (Please note, these copies may have been reserved since they were added to this list.)
The Haunting Season: Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights – “Eight bestselling authors. A dazzling new collection of original haunted tales. This is your indispensable companion to the long, dark nights this October.”
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse – “Unexplained disappearances at a sinister former sanatorium in the Swiss Alps spell trouble for vacationing detective Elin Warner.”
Damnable Tales anthology – “A selection of classic stories from the dark side of folklore, filled with haunted landscapes and the inescapable terrors that lurk in the human mind.”
Sherlock Holmes & the Three Winter Terrors by James Lovegrove – “Posing a trio of supernatural riddles for the Great Detective, Lovegrove’s gothic reimagining of Sherlock Holmes houses a host of scares.”
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell – “A dark mystery that sets a silhouette artist and a child medium on the trail of a ruthless serial killer in Victorian Bath.”
Remember, if there is anything your local library doesn’t have in stock, you can request it and the team will work to get it to you!
Falkirk Libraries are also running lots of different Halloween events before the big day, including:
- (Not So) Spooky Stories (free, ages 3 years old and up):
- Halloween Bookbug at Denny Library, Friday 29th October, 10:30am (free, for all ages)
- Halloween Family Craft Session (£2 per child) on Saturday 30th October from 11am at:
- “Five Ways to Enjoy Nature This Halloween”
Did you know that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) look after a lot more than birds? They’re now the largest nature conservation charity in the country, working hard to make sure we can all “Give Nature a Home”.
They’ve put together a list of 5 great ways to experience the spooky side of nature in your garden or at one of their reserves, including how to become a nature detective and find more about the creatures that really do go bump in the night, and looking for “freaky fungi” like yellow brain fungus to dead man’s fingers, which looks a bit like a zombie’s hand. There’s also tips on how you can help look after nature’s spookiest, but sweetest, real life creature…the bat.
Check out the full list at their website!
- Forestry Commission Scotland: Nature in Autumn
The Forestry Commission Scotland has created a new page dedicated to autumn in Scotland’s forests, with:
- top autumn destinations and walks
- activities for rainy days
- the science behind autumn leaves
- sustainable foraging
- Halloween themed visits
- stargazing at the UK’s first Dark Sky Park in Galloway
The Forestry Commission has also produced a new guide for family autumn activities this year, including:
- new seasonal activity sheets
- their “forest bathing” guide, based on the Japanese relaxation process shinrin yoku, which is designed to boost mental health and wellbeing for people of all ages
- new Room on the Broom activity and colouring sheets
For further information, please visit the Forestry Commission Scotland website.
- Parent Club Resources
Parent Club (which provides up to date guidance from Scottish Government on your child’s health and education, with articles, hints and tips from other parents and carers) also has lots of online resources for safe Halloween and autumn fun, including outdoor and indoor activities and games, things to do in autumn, and (a little ahead of ourselves here) tips for a safe Bonfire Night.
Don’t miss their dedicated Halloween page too!
- Out and About: Bonnybridge
ROOTS Monster Mayhem: On Sunday 31st October, 2pm – 4pm, ROOTS Helping Hands will be giving out FREE goodie bags from their building at Unit 6, Foundry Road, Bonnybridge, FK4 2AP (situated behind JD Joinery)…for anyone who dares to approach them, that is! Check out their Facebook post for all the info.
- Out and About: Camelon
Halloween Quiz: Forth Valley Sensory Centre is hosting their first Halloween Quiz on Friday 29th October, 7pm – 10pm, in-person at the centre! Yes, a return to in person fun, with food and party games too. Hosted by volunteers Laura and Joe, the quiz takes place over 2 rounds and will be fully accessible to those with sight or hearing impairments. British Sign Language (BSL) support from Volunteer Coordinator Hannah is also available on the night.
The event will include typical buffet food but served at the table, and is Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) to prevent people having to get up and wander around too much.
There will be party games, including a “Guess the Ingredients” of the Witches’ Brew, and other Halloween themed activities. Costumes are optional, but there will be a prize for the most “spooktacular” outfit.
Tickets are £10 (for those aged over 14 years old) and £5 (for 5 – 14 year olds) are very limited, as the centre has reduced the capacity of their halls in order to maintain social distancing as much as possible. Booking is therefore essential.
- Out and About: Falkirk
Westfield Halloween Disco: If you live in the Bog area of Falkirk (or near Westfield Park Community Project), and have P1-P7 aged children, check out the Westfield Park Community Project Facebook page to find out more about how to get their tickets for their Halloween disco on Saturday 30th October, 1pm – 3pm!
Falkirk Wheel Halloween Fun Day: Tickets for The Falkirk Wheel’s Halloween fun day on Saturday 30th October – Sunday 31st October include entry for a child and their adult (at £12 per ticket), a Halloween treasure hunt and other activities like archery, mini golf and face painting. Visit The Falkirk Wheel Facebook page to find out more and then buy your tickets!
Halloween in the Walled Garden: the event will take place again this year in the beautiful surroundings of Dollar Park – don’t miss out on activities like a witch hunt, tombola and rock painting on Saturday 30th October, from 11am – 3pm. Plus a Halloween display full of monsters, witches and ghouls. Costumes are definitely welcome. Visit the Dollar Park Walled Garden on Instagram to find out more!
- Out and About: Grangemouth
Pumpkins in the Park!: Traditional Halloween activities like pumpkin carving and dooking for apples are coming to Inchyra Park in Grangemouth on Saturday 30th October at 3pm – visit Friends of Inchyra Park on Facebook to find out more and to confirm your attendance!
Zetland Park Halloween Trail: Zetland Park is in Grangemouth need some help to solve some spooky clues that will be left around the park – from Monday 25th October – Saturday 30th October, they invite local folk to dress up in their scariest Halloween outfit and find and solve the clues. Even better, the person who solves the mystery, in the best outfit, can win a voucher for the local Bowhouse Bakery! To find out more about how to get involved, visit the Zetland Park Regeneration Project Facebook page!
Zetland Park Rose Garden: Zetland Park Regeneration Project is also looking for some help on Halloween itself! They’re looking for people who can spare a few hours, 11am – 2pm and help out in the rose garden before the gloomy winter hits.
All equipment will be provided along with refreshments, friendly faces and chats, and people do not have to come for the full duration as any help is appreciated. There will be some heavy work (pushing full wheelbarrows and shovelling bark mulch), but also lighter roles, including neatening edges, raking, and light weeding.
This is perfect for anyone who would like to help out more in their community, but can’t commit to a regular volunteering role.
There’s no need to get in touch, just show up on the day! However, if you have any questions, visit the Facebook post.
- Out and About: Polmont and Brightons
Polmont and Brightons Community Pumpkin Trail: After the success of last year’s event, Polmont Playgroup has organised another COVID-19-friendly Pumpkin Trail around Polmont and Brightons.
The trail covers a buggy and pram-friendly route, a 2.5 mile round route to spot all the pumpkins open from Friday 29th October – Sunday 31st October. Open to everyone of all ages, including families, dogs and those just there for the walk.
Trail Maps can be ordered online, and cost £3 each. All money raised from the maps will go towards funding for the playgroup. Each pumpkin marked on the trail will display a letter; once you find the letter, note it on your map and unscramble the letters to make a spooky phrase. All completed (and partially) completed) Trail Maps will receive a FREE Pumpkin Goody Bag! (Maps all have a unique reference and duplicates will not be accepted.)
There are also spooky rocks hidden around the trail for people to find, along with extra pumpkins and a Best Fancy Dress competition, and a special prize for the winner.
Everyone taking part should follow all current social distancing guidelines, and wear a mask if entering any of the local businesses. Participants are asked not to knock at any of the decorated houses along the trail.
For further information, please view the Facebook event.
- Out and About: Carron Valley
This event comes with a warning that the show is aimed at adults, and parental discretion is advised for younger folk coming along – so you know it’s going to be a scary one! Duncarron Medieval Village will hold their “Dunscaring!” Halloween event on the evening of Saturday 30th October. Find out more on the Dunscarron Facebook page and then buy your tickets for this unique experience!
- Out and About: Stirling
Bannockburn House, which is thought by some to be a site of active paranormal activity, have teamed up with History and Horror Tours to provide “The Haunted House Tour” throughout October and beyond. Find out more about the Tour, and buy your tickets, on the Visit Scotland website!
- Out and About: Alloa
As dusk draws in at the Black Devon Wetlands near Alloa, the RSPB invite people to join them for their Halloween Event on Saturday 30th October, 3pm – 6pm, with lots of fun nature-based Halloween activities with RSPB Scotland and Clackmannanshire Rangers.
Everyone is welcome to find out gruesome facts about animals on the pumpkin trail around the reserve, get crafty by making a nature wand, learn how to start a fire for your cauldron and listen to a spooky story. Fancy dress is welcome, and encouraged!
Tickets are £4 per child (adults go free when a child ticket is purchased); booking is essential.
To book your place, or for further information, visit the RSPB website.
Craft and Decoration Ideas: Zero Waste Scotland has posted lots of different crafty Halloween decoration ideas that use items from your home that would otherwise go to waste, from Toilet Roll Tube Bats to Scrap Paper Spiders – visit the Zero Waste Scotland website to find out more. They also have a fantastic guide to throwing a zero waste Halloween party this year.
BBC Recipes: BBC Good Food have compiled some fun and tasty Halloween themed recipes, including spider pizzas and pumpkin spice scones, to help you make a truly terrifying Halloween banquet this year – visit the BBC Good Food website and get cooking!
Traditions: The National Trust for Scotland has posted information online on old Scottish Halloween traditions – did you know that in Scotland, we used to carve neeps (turnips), and that pumpkins are an American influence? Or that Halloween dates all the way back to the 16th century? To view the full list, please visit the National Trust for Scotland website.
Halloween Pictures: Little ones will love to make their own digital Halloween picture (and no mess from painting at home!) – they can visit the CBeebies website to get started!
Grace Chocolates supports women who have been through the Scottish criminal justice system and are keen to make positive steps towards finding a job. The programme helps support them on their way to employment, meet new people and widen their support network, have some fun while learning new skills and qualifications, and building their confidence as they learn what they can do. They are involved in every stage of making the chocolate, and receive on the job training, gain certificates and qualifications through courses and training. They are supported throughout allowing them to progress to different tasks gaining and building their skills, learning, confidence and resilience as they go.
Themed Recipes from Falkirk Food Connections: Last year, to help people have fun and reduce their food waste, Falkirk Food Connections published a range of Halloween themed recipes on their Facebook page. We still think these are lots of fun, with some of our favourites including:
Recipes also aim to be cost-effective, filling and nutritious. So you can have fun with the kids and eat healthy!
Pumpkin Muffins: Did you know that pumpkins are highly nutritious and particularly high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C? All especially important for boosting everyone’s immune system over the winter months.
Last year, Forth Environment Link (FEL) showed us how to create these yummy treats for their Halloween Foodie Friday feature, encouraging people to reduce waste and making sure you use up the fleshy part of your gourds. The video is still available on the FEL Falkirk homepage for people to tune in to at their convenience:
Disney Apples: TV channel Chefclub Network Kids uploaded a video in 2019 on how to make Mickey and Minnie Mouse shaped treats, in a different take on the traditional toffee apples. The recipe uses apples, marshmallows, melted chocolate, and different sweets.
27 of the Best Easy Kid-Friendly Halloween Treats: Edit+Nest, an American-based positivity and home blog, has put together a list of easy, kid-friendly recipes for Halloween treats that don’t take hours to make! They also have lists on healthy Halloween snacks, good Halloween recipes for making in advance, zero waste pumpkin recycling ideas (we’re all about sustainability and reducing waste!), and spooky fun for adults too (including shot recipes), and lots more ideas on their Pinterest.
- Building Confidence Around Dogs
As we approach the spooky season, Dogs Trust put together some information for people and children who find dogs a little frightening, as opposed to ghosts and ghouls.
These may be especially useful at this time year, when dogs can be alarmed by loud noises and bangs from haunted activities and fireworks.
- stand still and keep calm
- try not to be loud
- avoid off-lead areas
For further information, resources and advice, visit their Building Confidence Around Dogs page.
- Dog Friendly Halloween Recipes
Dogs shouldn’t have to miss out on all the tasty treats that come with Halloween! In their Autumn 2021 issue of Wag, Dogs Trust has revisited their pumpkin and peanut butter spookies recipe:
35g pure pumpkin (fresh)
30g peanut butter (xylitol free)
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Add the oats to a food processor, or use a stick blender, to create a fine flour. Set your oats to one side and use either the processor or blender to blend your pumpkin until smooth.
Add the pumpkin, oats and peanut butter into a bowl, and mix into a firm dough. Roll your dough out until it is about 2cm thick and cut out the treats using your favourite cookie cutter.
Add the treats onto a non-stick tray and put in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes.
Warning: only use xylitol free peanut butter.
Or for other fun, check out their quick and easy pumpkin and frozen yoghurt treat, or autumn enrichment tips, and DIY dog den video (an easy way to help your dog feel safe and secure during this rather loud time of year).
If you think we missed anything going on your community or you’d like us to add your event or activity to this list, please contact our team by email: