Nae ‘trick or treat’ haivers here; nae pumpkins either

Scots is closely associated with Halloween, neepie lanterns, guisin, dookin fur aipples, treacle scones an aw the rest. The writer below is also worried about what some call the ‘pumpkinisation’ of Scottish Halloween.

The traditional Scottish Halloween has almost completely disappeared

ONCE again I find myself lamenting the almost total disappearance of the traditional Scots Halloween. With our neep lanterns, and outfits ransacked from our mothers’ old clothes basket or fathers’ old wartime uniforms we sallied forth as guisers to earn sweets, fruit, nuts and pennies by giving wee songs, poems etc in return.

From the Open University course Scots language and culture, (Brown, I (2019) 9.Drama, television and film)

You might have heard people in Scotland talk about a person, often a man, being a guiser, or in English ‘geezer’ – an odd looking person. And you will hear people in Scotland talk about going guising at Halloween. The use in connection with Halloween comes much closer to the original meaning of the word, to go masquerading or to be a masquerader, to disguise oneself. The Scots words guiseguising and guiser all originate in Old French guise “manner or fashion” and desguiser “disguise, change one’s appearance”. In today’s French you will come across the verb se déguiser which means to disguise oneself or to masquerade; this too comes from Old French desguiser.

Scotslanguage.com – #GuidGuisin – virtual guising event

The Scots Language Centre are encouraging everyone to celebrate Halloween by taking their guising online this year.On Saturday, 31st October, people are invited to post their guising ‘turn’ on social media in the form of text, images, audio or video; accompanied by #guidguisinYou can see the …


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