Halloween will soon be here. Here are 5 events that have caught our eye...
'Halloween’ as we know it today is a hubble bubble of beliefs and traditions, from the Celtic festival ‘Samhain’ (pronounced sahwin) - a celebration of the end of harvest season and the time to prepare for the winter ahead - to ‘ All Hallows Eve’ a time to remember the saints (‘hallows’), the dead, and to pray for the souls of the recently departed who haven’t yet reached heaven.
It’s said that on the night before All Saints Day (November 1st) the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead grows thin enough to cross, and the dead walk amongst the living.
Luckily for those who like things that go ‘bump’ in the night, the veil seems to be thin throughout October, meaning a whole load of spooky events to attend, and more value for money from your fancy dress outfits. Here's our guide to 5 Halloween events around Britain that have caught our eye...
Bram Stoker International Film Festival, 23rd October – 27th October
As the inspiration for the Bram Stoker novel ‘Dracula’, Whitby is well known for celebrating gothic horror. If you love horror films, why not attend this celebration of the macabre, or attend the Vampires Ball where elegant evening dress and costumes are compulsory. When you’re not watching films, take a walk round the ruined Benedictine Abbey which overlooks the North Sea.
Whitby Spa Pavillion, West Cliff
Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 3EN
The drive to Whitby across the North York moors is very beautiful. Take the A64 from York and then the A169 to Whitby.
Fort Amherst was featured on the television show "Most Haunted" and this Halloween event, held in the tunnels of a Napoleonic fort, has been described as one of the scariest in the UK, with actors and theatrical effects creating a true "terror" event. Those with heart conditions are warned that it may not be suitable.
The terror tours last for around an hour and are timetabled, so you have to book your slot in advance. Tours for teenagers and children have been included this year too.
Khartoum Road, Chatham ME4 4UB
Leave the M2 at Junction 2 and the fort is on the A231 on the banks of the Meday in the dock area.
"Why not start the day of Halloween with a spooky dog walk across Hampstead Heath..."
All Dogs Matter Devilish Dog Walk, October 31st
Why not start the day of Halloween with a spooky dog walk across Hampstead Heath. Raising money for the charity ‘All Dogs Matter’, it costs £5 to enter and there are raffles and prizes for best outfits for both dogs and owners.
Meet 10.30am for an 11am start outside one of the oldest pubs in London ‘The Spaniards Inn’.
The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead, NW3 7JJ
Tube: 15 mins walk from both Hampstead and East Finchley stations.
Train: Walk across the heath from Hampstead Heath station. Takes approximately half an hour.
Bus: 5 minutes from Golders Green tube station or Archway. Ask for the Spaniards Inn stop.
Old Royal Naval College, Halloween Tour and Supper
Take a lantern lit tour of one of London’s most famous landmarks and learn all about its dark tales and ghostly inhabitants.
Afterwards, enjoy a drink and two course supper in the painted hall, described as ‘the finest dining hall in Europe’.
Tickets are £35 and include the tour and supper.
Docklands Light Railway, Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich. Approx five mins walk.
Change at Canary Wharf for the DLR
Riverboat services every 20 minutes from Westminster, Embankment and Tower Piers to Greenwich Pier, two minutes walk from the Royal Naval College.
Farm of Horror, October 15th to October 2nd
If you’re less into being spooked and more into all out blood and guts horror, then (severed) head down to Lancaster Animal Park for the ‘Farm of Horror’.
From Sunday 15th October to Sunday 2nd November you can experience being scared out of your wits for only £10.
If you can stomach them afterwards, refreshments are served on site.
Farm of Horror, Lancaster Park and Animal Farm, Middleton Road, Chadderton, Oldham, OL1 2TG
3 miles drive from M60, junction 19
Train: Mill Hill Station, the Farm is situated just opposite the station.
Buses 56, 58, 59, 64, 406 and 419 stop right outside.
"This Halloween you can party like it’s 099..."
Butser Ancient Farm,October 31st, 2014
An experiment to test out theories of how ancient people lived and farmed, Butser is one of the most interesting archaeological places in the UK.
This Halloween you can party like it’s 099 (sorry) in the Great Roundhouse, dancing to live music or hearing some ghostly tales in the Roman Villa. There’s also a licensed bar and barbecue.
Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton Lane, Chalton, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO8 0BG
Just off the A3 between London and Portsmouth. 5 miles south of Petersfield
The nearest train station is Petersfield. Take the No 38 bus towards Waterlooville/Havant/Clanfield which leaves from outside the station. Alight at the Hampshire Hog Pub and it’s a half-mile walk over the A3M and down the road towards Chalton.
If you like the supernatural stuff all year round, there are plenty of trips and places to see whatever month it is.
Most towns and cities have one, if not several, ghost walks on a daily/nightly basis. York in particular has several of them all competing against each other.
Try the tourist information centres for details and where to meet:
Stratford upon Avon:
And if you’re more interested in meeting a ghost than just hearing the tales, several companies provide ‘Most Haunted’ style stays all over the country.
Try http://www.hauntedrooms.co.uk for tours, sleepovers and ghost hunting experiences.