The hidden gems, pop-ups and top tips in Scotland this week, by Suzanne McLaughlin...

1. THERE is, of course, only one place you have to be this week: George Square in Glasgow. You’ll no doubt already know that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be the main speaker at the #indyref2020 rally being staged by The National on Saturday ... but it doesn’t do any harm to give the big day another plug here. The event is free and family friendly. And we can promise you a stellar line up of guests. Details of speakers will be revealed every day this week, so don’t miss a single edition of The National. Saturday, George Square, 1.30pm until 3.30pm. Click here for the Facebook event.

2. HALLOWEEN, the movie that defined a genre, will be screened at BAaD at the Barras in Glasgow on Wednesday. This will be a special showing of John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic starring a young Jamie Lee Curtis in the ultimate scary classic. If there is one film that is meant for the big BAaD screen then this is most definitely it! Costumes and fancy dress optional but strongly recommended. You can also enjoy fully stocked bars and some yummy cinema bites from A’Challtainn. Tickets are £8 and this event is over 18s only. 8:30pm BAaD, 54 Calton Entry, Glasgow. Details and tickets at

3. THERE’S an interesting way to find out more about the women in the life of Robert Burns at the Bard’s Birthplace Museum in Alloway this week. Parris Joyce, the museum’s learning officer, will present Wumin O’ Wirth, a guided tour which discusses the life of the women concerned through objects which reveal stories about their lives. Wednesday, 3pm, free

4. HERE’S a timely but gruesome tale from the past. In the 17th century, the Witches of Pollok were burned at the stake. Dare you step through the mist of the cauldron of time to find out more at Pollok House, Glasgow? Practical demonstrations and enthralling performances will whisk you back to the era when fear of witchcraft gripped the nation. Witness experiments such as putting pins in clay effigies, the scrying bowl and the black mirror. Thursday, 7:30pm. Tickets £17.50. Adults only.

5. BELONGING: The Truth Behind The Headlines is an award-winning investigative journalism feature documentary that looks again at the events around three industrial disputes, involving three governments and spanning three decades. Secret government plans, behind closed door dealings and connections that remained lost or secret are revealed. A remarkable true story which picks up when Rupert Murdoch arrived in Britain. Remember: it’s not what’s in a newspaper that counts. It’s what’s not in a newspaper that counts. The Scottish Parliament. Wednesday, 6pm. The screening starts at 6.15pm, followed by a Q&A panel. Free, but register on eventbrite

6. AFTER Saturday’s indy rally why not take the family over to Paisley for its fireworks spectacular display? A DJ will build the atmosphere before the fireworks start at 7pm prompt. I’m told the evening will have a distinctly 90s feel. I expect some Britney and Chesney blasting out and maybe a wee bit of Oasis v Blur. Paisley Abbey 7pm, Saturday, free

7. CELEBRATE Halloween with some delicious cocktails and a creepy walk through Stirling’s bloody, ghostly history. Stirling Distillery will be offering a deliciously creepy gin tasting for your perfect Halloween night, starting with a bespoke bloody cocktail followed by three Halloween-themed drams and a tour. After your tasting you’ll head down to the Stirling Old Jail to hear tales of ancient Stirling and its violent and ghastly history. Thursday, Stirling Distillery, 6:30pm. £25. tickets available at