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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

HALLOWEEN | A guide to Halloween in London

One of my favourite things about London is the fact there is always something going on - something quirky or different or something seasonal.

Although Christmas is my favourite season in London, I believe the capital always offers a lot for Halloween too. With less than a month to go, here's some ways you can plan to spend Halloween in London this October.

And don't worry, I'll also be putting together a post about Halloween events taking place OUTSIDE of London and around the rest of the country.

Please note, this post will likely be updated regularly with the more things I discover so do check back often!
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Halloween | London | Halloween in London

THE CLASSICS
These attractions and suggestions may be on your 'must-do' list every year for Halloween in London, but I bet you some of these you might have forgotten about. Plus, classic attractions have years of scaring up their sleeves...

THE LONDON DUNGEON
The London Dungeon is a classic and one that can be both scary and family friendly at the same time. The part attraction/part show/part walk though mixes live actors, special effects and rides to educate audiences about London's gruesome past, such as the Black Death and Sweeney Todd. Although the shows are often humorous as well as jumpy, this attraction is unique because you do end up learning a lot about London, too. I have been to the London Dungeon plenty of times over the years now, and have yet to grow bored of it - each visit is different, and they're always adding something new to the tour. This October, the dungeon will offer The Witch Hunt, which sees a witch hunter's den being added to the attraction and encourages you to help with a witch hunt investigation.

THE LONDON BRIDGE EXPERIENCE & TOMBS
I always thought The London Bridge Experience & Tombs was like the London Dungeons - just kind of the more darker and adult version (although kids can attend). Whereas the London Dungeons is out to scare you with a humorous approach, in my mind I've always believed that The London Bridge Experience is out to scare you - full stop. Which is perhaps why I've been too scared to actually visit this attraction! Scare attractions consisting off staff trying to scare audiences is so popular these days, but this is the only one I know of in London and, from what I've seen, it has genuinely really impressive sets too, so it's more than an attraction then just a scary walk through. This Halloween sees the attractions annual Phobophobia month return, this time with the theme called The Ventriloquist Nightmare. The Halloween events are generally presumed to be a lot more scarier (if that's even possible) and for adults only. It runs in the evening, although those a bit more cautious can still attend the daytime shows which are a tad more family friendly.

THE TOWER OF LONDON
It may not be a scare attraction as such - but it sure is a classic. The Tower of London is steeped in history, and there's numerous ghostly stories that surround the old walls, meaning it's likely to be one of the most haunted buildings in London. It's said that Arbella Stuart - cousin of James I - haunts The Queen's House, and there's also rumours of a phantom bear. Plus, it's one of those historic buildings everyone should visit at least once during a visit to London.

WALKS, TALKS & TOURS
Travel round London in style on one of these tours. If you like your scares in multiples, than a tour may be your best bet - explore the city of London whilst getting into the Halloween spirit at the same time with one of these walks, talks or tours.

JACK THE RIPPER WALK
I've blogged about this previously and can 100% recommend this for Halloween. Rather then a walking tour based on scares, this is based on facts - and the gruesome story of Jack The Ripper. During the tour, you can visit many of the locations associated with the murders, learn more facts that you probably didn't already know (making the walk educational, too) and you'll also leave feeling a tad disturbed also. Trust me, I always knew Jack The Ripper was messed up, but I learned many more disturbing facts after this two-hour-tour. It's the perfect start to a spooky evening in London too, as tours start at 7pm in the central location of Whitechapel. It's great for heading on afterwards for a late dinner, a Halloween party or more scares - or even just to head home. You stop plenty of times too, so it's not exhausting, and the guides are friendly and charismatic.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Halloween | London | Halloween in London

THE GHOST BUS TOUR
I love this quirky bus tour and even though the last time I took a ride was years ago, I still hands down think it's one of the most oddball things to do in London. You pile onto an all black bus which looks just like a classic funeral hearse, and inside is decked all classic with red seating and little lamps. The tour takes you around London where you hear classic ghost stories and facts about London's more darker history, but the characters on board are there to keep you entertained...and keep you on the edge of your seat, too. They really put so much effort into the little details on the tour which is around and hour and 15 minutes long. The tour runs pretty much every evening and leaves from Trafalgar Square.

GOTHIC MIDTOWN
On selected dates throughout October, Gothic Midtown will be running scare walks throughout Bloomsbury, Holborn and St. Giles, and a Victorian gothic pop-up bar in the old Central St Martins building. The spooky walks will be led by medium Derek Acorah (!) with frights along the way, whereas the pop-up bar, which recommends a Victorian Gothic Chic dress code, will offer tarot readers and ghostly fun. You can buy tickets to one or the other or both, and if you book both, it includes a complementary cocktail in the bar and some warm booze on your walk. It sounds like a boozy scary ghost walk, with an awesome party at the end to celebrate surviving! 

THE QUIRKY
Almost anything can be quirky and different at Halloween - the holiday itself has it's own darker side - but here's my pick of things that I haven't quite seen before in London.

HALLOWEEN AFTERNOON TEA @ THE MILESTONE HOTEL
Afternoon tea is getting the real quirk factor lately, so I'm surprised it's taken this long for a hotel to start offering Halloween afternoon tea! The Milestone Hotel has added a dark twist to its classic afternoon tea with a mixture of Halloween inspired treats, including wickedly witchy cupcakes, spider's web vanilla cheesecake and orange and chocolate macaroons. You can book this between the 25th and the 31st.

LADY CHASTITY'S RESERVE
An escape room is always fun and is great for groups of friends. I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I have tried previews of escape rooms before and always found them a laugh. But why not try one with a Halloween twist? Handmade histories run escape rooms over London and, for Halloween, they've introduced Lady Chastity's Reserve. The hour-long game is said to be similar to The Crystal Maze and requires wit and puzzle solving to win a bottle of Chastity's fabled bottle of aphrodisiac wine. It takes place inside the secret rooms of premium London pubs such as The People's Park Tavern and The Four Thieves Pub.

SPARKLING PUMPKIN CARVING @ DRINK SHOP DO
For something a bit more laid back, why not try pumpkin carving with the offbeat Drink Shop Do? Located in Kings Cross, Drink Shop Do is a kind of club/craft/events venue which regularly holds crafty fun events and club nights. It's kind of like crafts but for grown ups! Sparkling pumpkin carving takes place throughout the month, and tickets include a glass of champagne and background noise of Halloween tunes. Sticking with the Halloween spirit, they'll also be hosting one of their regular dance classes throughout the month, this time to Michael Jackson's Thriller, and a Stranger Things Halloween bash on the 19th.

FREAKSHOW'S HALLOWEEN CLUBARET @ THE VAULTS
I've deliberately left Halloween parties of this list otherwise we'll be here forever - and most aren't that original - but you know anything held at my fave, The Vaults, is going to be anything BUT just a party. First of all, The Vaults is found underground and entry is via a graffitied tunnel. If you're going to go to any Halloween party or club night this October, Halloween Clubaret is the only one worth choosing. You can expect theatre as well as dancing, and, guided by The Plaque Doctor, you can survive The Emergency Room, dine at Baphomet's Banquet of Blasphemy or witness more unusual performances such as, er, Lady Gaga giving birth to a monster. Tickets are pricey with the cheapest early bird tickets going for £45, but if you're going to go all out and want to attend a party like no other, I'd say the price is worth it. Halloween Clubaret takes place on the 28th and the 29th.

HALLOWEEN FILM SCREENINGS @ THE RIVOLI BALLROOM 
I had to include at least one or two film screenings! On the 27th and the 28th, the Rivoli Ballroom will be playing host to two classic Halloween film screenings - Halloween and The Shining with a pop-up cinema night. Popcorn, hot dogs and ice cream will be served, and the ballroom itself is beyond beautiful. If you choose The Shining showing, guaranteed you'll almost feel like you're in the film yourself with the surroundings.

THE GLAM CLAM'S ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW HALLOWEEN DINING EXPERIENCE
I also have to throw in a dining experience here. You can dance 'n' dine with this experience hosted by pop-up favourites, The Glam Clam. You'll be invited into Hackney's Old Tram Depot (a venue that rivals the castle from the film by all means) for a three course menu inspired by the film, a screening of the film, performances, a free cocktail for those in costume and, of course, an after party with additional entertainment. You'll feel just like you're in the movie and it takes place on the 27th. 

What are you doing for Halloween this year?  Is there anything I've missed off this list? Let me know!

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21 comments:

  1. London Dungeons would be absolutely amazing on Halloween! I would be so scared no doubt! I do fancy the Jack the Ripper tour though.

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    1. I've never been on Halloween but have visited at Christmas - it's always a lot of spooky fun though x

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  2. All of these are right up my street but something I have always wanted to do is The London Bridge Experience & Tombs. Sounds fantastic and SO much history! The Ghost bus tour sounds great, too! The inside of the bus actually look quite spooky, haha. I LOVE it! :) Great post, thank you for sharing xx

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    1. Aw thank you :) Yeah The Ghost Bus Tour is one of my favourite things I've ever tried! xx

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  3. All these options sound like a great way to have fun during halloween!

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  4. Amazing suggestions! I've just recently been to Phobophobia at the London Tombs and it was super scary but in a fun way! I like the escape room idea - I've never tried on if those.

    Gemma x | www.flutterandsparkle.com

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    1. It sounds amazing I'm just too scared haha I think I'll have to make sure I go next year as I'm clearly missing out! x

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  5. I love the London Tombs at Halloween, it's always somewhere we visit and they never fail to bring the scares! You've got some really great things on your list here too xx

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    1. Oh really? I really want to go I'm just too scared! And thank you :) xx

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  6. So many amazing things to do and I havent planned to do any, despite living in London!

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    1. Why haven't you planned anything? x

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  7. I'm so pleased I live in London, so many great things to do that are Halloween related ;-)

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    1. I agree! Are you doing anything in London for Halloween this year? x

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  8. Great selection - I would love to do the Ripper Walk (yes weird I know) the identity of the killer fascinates me. Love your spooky header too! Kaz x

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    1. Aw thanks! The Ripper Walk was fascinating, I think anyone with an interest in that type of thing should go on one! x

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  9. Sounds like some great events, I love anything historical and creepy so the Dungeon & Tower of London would be right up my street! :)

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

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    1. Thanks! Yes I think the Tower of London is next on my list x

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  10. There are just so many things to do at Halloween now, we went to Warwick Castle and it was amazing.

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    1. I love Warwick Castle! I used to go a lot when I was younger and all my friends and I went last year for my birthday during winter - it was lovely x

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