Why one town in Scotland celebrates Halloween today

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock
Share this article
Have your say

Halloween may not be until the 31st October, but residents of this Scottish town will be celebrating today.

Every year the people of this Scottish town head out to go guising or enjoy Halloween just like the rest of the country - but with one small difference. It isn't the 31st of October.

Known as Killieween, the residents of Kilmarnock celebrate Halloween on the last Friday of October, no matter the date. Theories about this little known tradition range from the Gaelic festival of Samhain to witches being burned or the clocks going back on the Sunday, but it's not known exactly why Killieween exists.

The main suggested reason relates back to the town's industrial past. The last Friday of the month was when payday fell, meaning this was when the majority of the residents would have money to spend on the celebrations.

Read more: Scottish schoolgirl 'wins Halloween' with Duke of Wellington costume - complete with traffic cone
Speaking to STV, Frank Beattie, former Kilmarnock Standard editor and local historian, said "We like to think we are the ones that have it right and the rest of the world has it wrong.

"It's never really been pinned down but it is the day all the major employers paid their staff. Children clocked that dad came home with more money on a Friday even during the 1960s and 70s when industry went in decline.

"It was accepted most children would go out on the Friday knowing they would get a better treat. In England it wasn't such a big thing until more American ideas came through on national television.

"I looked at old records and papers to try to pin it down but I couldn't find anything. I'm happy that the origin seems to be the massive employment and Friday is just when the workmen got paid."

Regardless of why, celebrating on a Friday is ideal for everyone as there's no school or work (for most) the next day, so kids and adults can relax and stay up late.

Plus, according to the BBC Social, it gives kids in Kilmarnock a chance to go guising twice in one month and stock up on sweets.

Read more: The best places to pick pumpkins in Scotland this Halloween