Digital Family Samhuinn 2020

Get into the spirit of Halloween with this weekly series of online and offline activities for families.

Every year, we host an afternoon of storytelling and crafting for children and their parents so you can join in our Samhuinn festivities in a family-friendly way, and still be home in time for bedtime!

Our usual party is moving online this year, so we’ve come up with lots of ways that you can get arty, outdoorsy and spooky in a safe way and mark the changing seasons with your wee’uns.

What’s on?

Join us for three Family Samhuinn sessions over the next month, where we’ll share fun activities like: 

  • Seasonal recipes
  • Nature trails
  • Spooky stories & singalongs
  • Arts and crafts


Throw yourself an autumnal feast as we get closer to Samhuinn. Our volunteers have put together this special book of season recipes for you to try at home, featuring pies, soups, salads and the Halloween staple neeps.

Compiled by Lorraine Prince (editor), Matthew Scott (designs), and recipes from: Luz Lopez, Stew Wilson, John Wilson, Nicky Saunders, Lorraine Prince, Sara Thomas, Sarah Barr, Giulia Frontalini, Andria Michael, Justine Séran

Light up the dark Winter nights by making these beautiful autumn lanterns. All you see is some glue, tissue paper, and sticks and leaves from the outdoors. Once you’ve put it all together, admire the silhouette patterns that your collected leaves make.

Instructions by John Wilson

As well as inviting you all to take part in our Samhuinn celebrations digitally, we’ve also come up with some ways that you can get into the holiday spirit offline with some suggested rituals. The ritual above is specially tailored to children and getting families to think about the changes in the air as Winter approaches.

Compiled by Marsha.

Halloween is a great time to get crafty. Use these instructions from the group Veles to make your own spooky mask, which you can wear to scare off pesky ghosts and to celebrate the Slavic Day of the Dead, Dziady.

  1. Get newspaper
  2. Get balloon
  3. Mix water with flour
  4. Rip newspaper to get straps
  5. Blow the balloon in the size of your head
  6. Draw eyes spaces
  7. Dip newspaper straps in the glue and stick gently to the balloon
  8. Make sure you get at least a couple of layers
  9. Leave to dry
  10. Paint your mask

Compiled by Sean Hamilton and Iga Sobieraj

Have you ever wondered how we make our first fire, the Neid fire, at Beltane and Samhuinn Fire Festival? Our Torchbearers are going to show you the old methods used by Celts many years ago, and teach a little bit of the history of fire too, so you can try yourself at home.

You’ll want mum and dad to help you with this fire making activity!

Filmed by Raymond Jardine and Feòrag Forsyth

Learn how to make your own family rune in this tutorial from our Winter King, who appears as a wintry god at our upcoming digital Samhuinn celebration.

Filmed by Rob Thorburn

One of the joys of Winter is all getting cosy in the kitchen and making yummy festive treats to eat by the fire. We’re going to do just that in this tutorial from our volunteer Nicky, who shares her recipe for making scrumptious marzipan shaped like leaves.

Baked by Nicky Saunders.

Try your hand at upcycling and making things out of natural materials in this guide to making your own driftwood hanging.

Pippa will show you how to create a decoration for your bedroom using a paper, colouring pencils, and objects you can find in the outdoors.

Filmed by Pippa Lynott

Teenie Weenie finds himself alone in a scary world, where freaky noises and swoops and shrieks exist all around him. He feels smaller and smaller, until he makes a new friend and learns about the power of TOGETHER.

As Autumn passes into Winter, Rae Chell reads from Margot Sunderland & Nicky Armstrong book Teenie Weenie In a Too Big World.

Read with kind permission from Speechmark Publishing
Teenie Weenie In A Too Big World: A story for fearful children
Authors: Margot Sunderland & Nicky Armstrong
Publisher : Routledge (3 Oct. 2003)
32 pages


Our Redishes are an energetic group of fun-loving prank-playing summertime creatures. They’ve been spending these last days of Summer blending into the red and orange colours that have covered our trees. Can you spot them in these pictures?

Let’s use our natural surroundings to make art! Get outside and pick up as many fallen leaves as you can, then follow our instructions on how to turn them into leaf prints. 

We’ve made some of our own leaf prints already! Take a look at the pictures below for a little inspiration.

Get ideas on how you can add some art into your walks outside with these suggested activities from our Blues. 

Learn how to make a mobile out of what you find in the outdoors, dance and drum your way through the woods, or simply get up close to nature and think about the different things you can see, smell, and hear around you.

Compiled by Marsha

This step-by-step tutorial teaches you how to sing a very easy song in Gaelic called Fear a Bhata (which means “The Boatman”). 

Rosie from the Gaelic singing group Na Leumadairean Mòra (The Big Dolphins) will teach you the words, then you can sing along to the entire song. 

Performed by Joe Lolito, Rosie Smith, Eleanor Buffam, Alice Dillon, Elliot Parrot, Adam Dahmer, Katie Bery, Dhanya Baird

Learn to sing a spooky Polish song as part of Dziady, a Slavic Day of the Dead festival.

Compiled by Sean Hamilton and Iga Sobieraj

Spooky ghost stories with a Samhuinn flavour told for a Celtic Halloween.

Tales from the Hearth share the chilling story of the ancient King Herla, a wedding invitation and a horseback hunt doomed to ride forever.

Performed by Nicky Saunders

The Slavic god Veles sits down for a cosy (and growly) storytelling session with three short fables for children.

Read by Sean Hamilton

Family Samhuinn curator Rae Chell reads from two illustrated books for children about our relationship with nature – one called Tree by Britta Teckentrup and one called Leaf Man by Lois Elhert.

Illustrations copyright © Britta Teckentrup, 2015
Written by Patricia Hegarty. Text copyright (C) Little Tiger Press Ltd 2015 
All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of Little Tiger Kids Ltd.

Illustrations copyright © Lois Ehlert, 2015 Written by Lois Ehlert. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books and Media Group.

Read by Rae Chell


Learn to identify the plants and animals living near your home with this interactive activity sheet. See how many leaves, nuts, and critters you can spot, collect, and experience.

Get your friends involved too, and compare notes to see how the natural world differs around your homes!

Seeds can be used to plant things for a long time after they are first collected – you just have to know how to store them. Read how to safely collect and save seeds, with these instructions by Hannah Brazil from the Salisbury Centre.

Compiled by Hannah Brazil

Compiled by Lorraine Prince

Do you know what a possum is? It’s a bit like a mouse, but different. We’re going to learn to sing about possums in Gaelic, in this tutorial specially tailored to children.

Performed by Adam Dahmer and Dhanya Bird

This here is Guardie, our very own local Guardian of the Woods. Guardie shows us around the woodland that it looks after, and gives us tips on how we might one day become Guardians ourselves. Would you like to be a Guardian one day?

Performed by Karen Dickson

In a special edition of the Cailleach’s Cave, our Winter goddess tells us a story about a lonely stag, who feels sad when all the other animals in the forest don’t come to his party. An owl arrives to cheer him up and to explain the changes that are coming over the forest as Winter approaches.

Performed by Katherine Anne Bradley

Get out of your chair and get active with this yoga instruction video from our volunteer Andria! Try this with the whole family, and see who can be the bendiest.

Performed by Andria Michael

Coming up…

Session 3: Celebrating together for Winter
Thursday 29th October