Halloween is one of those great holidays that changes with you – dressing up and partying will never go out of style. Whether you're begging for candy at age 9, partying at a club in your 20s or attending a fancy ball at 40, everything feels better wearing vampire teeth. To celebrate the spooky occasion this month, we're counting down the Top 10 Halloween Events across the UK (and beyond).
Wey & Arun Canal Halloween Cruises, West Sussex
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust are running their annual Halloween cruises from Loxowood Boat centre on the 27th of October. It's a barrel of fun and a great way to see the newly restored canal, historically known as 'London's Lost Route To The Sea.'
There are two cruises, with the first starting at 4:30pm. This slot is aimed at youngsters (and adults who are scared of the dark) and lasts 45 minutes. There will be an onboard story-teller, regaling visitors with spooky tales and hairy myths about the area. The fun continues along the towpath, as a few surprise “happenings” take place. Tickets are £6 and include light refreshments. The second cruise starts at 7pm and lasts 90 minutes. This one is for the adults, so you can expect the stories and the “happenings” to be a bit scarier without the sun shining. Tickets are £9 per person and include a glass of punch, a hotdog and ghoulish jelly. Everyone is encouraged to dress-up for the occasion, but this is not compulsory.
For booking information, check out www.weyandarun.co.uk/ or call the Wey & Arun Canal Trust office on 01403 752403 between 9am and 1pm Monday to Friday.
Scream Fest, National Forest Adventure Farm, Midlands
The National Forest Adventure Farm is putting on a serious production this Halloween, with 'Spooky Family Fun' taking place during the day and 'Scream Fest' starting after 6pm. The former is an event specifically for kids younger than twelve and includes activities like pumpkin carving, mummy hunting in one of Europe's largest maize mazes, pumpkin catapults, corn cannons and ghost stories. It's really fun, light-hearted entertainment and won't have little ones wetting their beds for the next week. The same cannot be said for Scream Fest though...
After 6pm the Adventure Farm hosts one of the spookiest Halloween festivals you'll find anywhere. For a start, it's a long way out in the countryside and extremely dark – two elements that work really well together when crafting scary tours. And all that open space and farmyard cuteness transforms into a scene worthy of any horror movie. The mummy-hunting maze and old-fashioned barn on the property provide the backdrop for two old Scream Fest favourites, 'Field of Screams' and 'The Barn'. This year sees the unveiling of a brand new experience, called the 'Slasher', which plays off a story about a psychotic young boy who grows up to be a dangerously crazy man. Please note: No children under twelve will be permitted without parental supervision.
For more information, check out www.adventurefarm.co.uk.
Spooky Screenings, Blythswood Square, Glasgow
Scary movies are the Christmas carols of Halloween. If you’re not into costume parties, scary cruises, festivals or theme parks, you can still celebrate the occasion by catching a good, old-fashion slasher flick. The award winning boutique hotel and luxury spa, Blythswood Square, will be offering visitors a comfy seat to do just this on 31st of October at 7pm. There will be a screening of John Carpenter’s classic horror, Halloween – a title that gave several of the Essential Travel Experts nightmares as a child. This is a golden opportunity to see Michael Myers unleash chaos on the big screen. Tickets are £27 per person and include two cocktails and a selection of delicious canapés.
For more information, check out www.townhousecompany.com.
Holkham’s Halloween, Norfolk
Holkham Hall, one of the select ten Treasure Houses and a member of the Historic House Association in England, will be hosting five days of Halloween festivities for the whole family. From the 27th to the 31st of October, the Bygone Museum, Courtyard and basement of Holkham Hall will become a witch's playground with story-telling, potion-making, face-painting and evening lantern parades. For those wanting an extra special Halloween treat, come down on Saturday 27th, Monday 29th or Wednesday 31st of October from 4 - 8pm when those brave enough to meet the challenge will go on an exciting ghost hunt in the basement. There are two time slots to choose from: a kiddie's ghost hunt from 4pm – 4:30pm, and an adults tour from 5:30pm – 8pm. Tickets are limited, so pre-booking is highly advisable.
For more information, log on to Holkham Hall. To book, please contact the ticket office: 01328 713111 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warwick Castle becomes ‘The Haunted Castle’ for the week of Halloween (27th of October to the 4th of November). The whole family is invited to share the grounds of this historic castle with witches, warlocks, ghosts, restless spirits and a mad professor who needs help with spells. Kids can visit the Witches' Tower, where they dress up and cast spells. Outside, carved pumpkins lead the way down the Haunted Hallows Trail, towards a graveyard, a witch’s hovel and a spooky spider’s lair. One of the big attractions this year is the castle staying open until 9pm – a first in Warwick Castle history. From 6pm onwards, the castle’s dungeon provides an intense setting for the new Witches Of Warwick attraction, where a cast of screeching witches take visitors on a tour of the grounds and gives them a glimpse of the treachery that has taken place over the last 1,000 years.
Book online at www.warwick-castle.com a week in advance for a hair-raising Halloween at The Haunted Castle from only £15.96 (adult) and £10.92 (child), saving 30 per cent if booked up to seven days ahead.
Lythe Hill Charity Black Tie Ball, Surrey
For those looking to get dressed up in something fancier than a witch's hat or a white sheet, Lythe Hill Hotel, Restaurant and Spa are hosting a Halloween Charity Black Tie Ball – proof that Halloween has a heart. The event promises otherworldly food, great live entertainment and an auction hosted by BBC Master Chef culinary expert, Gregg Wallace. All this takes place on a dark and stormy night in an outdoor marquee, come on the 3rd of November at 7pm. Guests will be treated to reception drinks, shortly before the event starts. The evening will be rounded off by a 10pm fireworks show and carriage rides at midnight. Tickets are £45 per person and all proceeds will go towards the Shooting Star Chase and Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.
For bookings log on to, www.lythehill.co.uk.
Exbury Ghost Train, Hampshire
Exbury Gardens Railway are offering visitors a special 'Ghost Train' experience aboard the Phom-mime this month, from the 27th of October to Sunday the 4th of November. Hosted by the mercurial 'Napoleon Bone-Aparte' and his sidekick, 'Batty the Vampire', guests can expect a fun afternoon of ghost stories, visual gags and bad but irresistible puns. All guests arrive dressed up for the occasion will receive a free 'treat-bad'. This year is the 10th Anniversary of the train, and keeping up with the exciting year we've had so far, the organisers have gone all out. “As its 2012 the gallery of Exbury monsters have been in training for their very own 'Horrorlympics' - see who wins the 'Monster Mash Dash' and find out who the Champion Monster boxer is!
Ticket prices are £13.50 (£15*) for adults; £13 (£14.50*) for seniors; £11.50 for groups (when booked in advance, 15 or more) and £4 (£4.50*) children aged 3 - 15. A family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £34 (£38*). This includes entry costs to the Gardens. *Gift Aid prices are also available and these are shown in brackets. A 10% discount is available to the named holders of a Friends of Exbury Pass - please quote your Membership Number when booking. For full details, go to www.exburyghosttrain.
Haunted House Spooktacular, Isle of Wight
The 18th century Appuldurcome House on the Isle of White is a hotspot for ghost hunters and mediums, with rumours of restless spirits inside it making the rounds for some time now. From the 26th to the 30th October, the house will be open to those who feel like a good, old-fashioned case of the heebie-jeebies. Visitors with nerves of steel can brave a ghost walk through the woods, the dungeons and graveyard – and most likely be scared silly by spooky encounters in the rooms and cellars. This special Halloween event is suitable for all ages, but not the easily frightened – so be warned. With a Wightlink Super Saver day return fare, four people can reach the Isle of Wight in their car from £37 and costs £23 for a family – bringing the total cost for a family of four to just £60.
For more information, log on to www.wightlink.co.uk.
Beach Of The Dead Zombie Crawl, Brighton
What do a few thousand people wearing zombie costumes, marching down the street at three in the afternoon look like? No, not a film at the local Odeon, it's the sixth annual Beach Of The Dead Zombie Crawl, rising from the Old Paddling Pool in Brighton. This is two-hour dress-up march, celebrating the macabre occasion will be scarily fun. It's free to participate and everyone is welcome – despite the creepy exterior of the event, it is all in good fun. All participants are instructed to adhere to a strict 'Zombie Code' that involves following all traffic laws, being courteous to pedestrians, not scaring any children or browsing any shops while 'in character'.
For full details, check out http://www.beachofthedead.com/history.htm.
International Must See
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens is a pretty magical place to celebrate a super-natural holiday. It's the second oldest amusement park in the world (first opened in 1843) and one of Europe's most loved music and pantomime venues. From the 12th to the 28th of October, the exquisite gardens are decorated by pumpkins and harvest paraphernalia, and the grounds are patrolled by witches and heroes who interact with visitors. In the evenings, the indoor and outdoor haunted houses will be opened to the brave – a mix of actors and animatronics provide the wickedly wonderful entertainment. Anyone lucky enough to find themselves in Copenhagen during this period is right in line to enjoy Denmark's finest Halloween celebration.
For more information, check out www.tivoli.dk/.