In Depth

Halloween events 2019: 18 top things to do in London and the UK

From ghost tours to zombie paintballing, there’s something for everybody this year

This year’s Halloween looks set to be a spooky one, with events being held up and down the country.

There’s something for fans of all things horrifying, from an exclusive supper-club to family days out in a haunted castle - just so you can spend your All Hallows’ Eve scared out of your wits.

Here are some of the most eye-catching events:

Dark Arts at Warner Bros Studio: The Making of Harry Potter, London

Harry Potter enthusiasts are in for a serious treat this Halloween, with Warner Bros. Studios launching a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the films, available until 2 November.

TimeOut reports that the Great Hall “will be decorated with more than 100 floating pumpkins and the banqueting tables laden down with apples, candy and bubbling cauldrons”. Visitors “will be able to test their wand technique by battling a Death Eater in a special experience developed by combat choreographer Paul Harris, before taking part in a reenactment of an epic Hogwarts battle.”

Carlisle Castle, Cumbria

From 19 October to 1 November, Carlisle Castle English Heritage is offering spooky half term events where fancy dress and torchlight tours meet for the ultimate family-friendly Halloween experience.

According to The Family Adventure Project, the tour “takes you around the dark corridors and rank dungeons of the most besieged castle in the country”.

The Haunted Castle, Warwick

There is no escaping Halloween at Warwick Castle, which is holding its biggest ever Haunted Castle event, from 19 October to 3 November. Watch “spooktacular shows” at the Dead Centre Stage, listen to tales at the Witches Tower and join a spooky Halloween trail through the enchanted Hollows.

Shocktober Fest, West Sussex

The organisers behind Shocktober Fest have some form when it comes to scaring their customers. They have repeatedly been named the UK’s best Halloween attraction, keeping fans coming back year after year. At Tulleys Farm in West Sussex, nine haunting live performances await, including Twisted Clowns, The Circus Of Horrors and the seriously scary Creepy Cottage, from 19 October to 2 November.

Sea Life Ascarium, London 

Children and their families are invited to London’s famous aquarium this Halloween for its annual “Ascarium” event, where they will have the chance to “follow a spooky trail, hang out with the scaliest and toothiest of creatures and have a go at a new code-cracking experience to win a prize”, according to the organisers. From 19 October to 3 November.

Spooky Salisbury Halloween Walks, Wiltshire

Salisbury City Guides is offering a walking tour with a difference. Guides will be searching for hidden ghosts in the medieval city, while sharing some spine-chilling tales of hauntings from the past. The tour promises stories of witches, wizards, ghosts and notable deaths of local icons such as the Duke of Buckingham, from 25 to 31 October.

Alton Towers Scarefest and Thorpe Park Fright Nights, Staffordshire and Surrey

Every year the UK’s best theme parks pull out all the stops to create terrifying mazes and attractions alongside their already thrilling roller-coasters and rides – “and this year, they've seriously upped the stakes”, says the Daily Mirror.

Thorpe Park's Fright Nights run until 3 November, while day tickets include the chance to enjoy seven scare mazes and attractions, as well as crazed clowns performing at The Big Top circus.

Alton Towers Scarefest runs from 18 October to 3 November. Here, kids can join Franklyn, Skelvin, Patch, Phil and Gretyl in their colourful Halloween playland, while “young families can also take part in the CBeebies Monster Ball, dance along with our dancing flashmob of ancestors plus ride over 20 attractions at dusk”.

Dungeons and Dragons, Edinburgh

This spooky celebration is something of a quirky one: at midnight on 2 November a unique Halloween adventure awaits Dungeons and Dragons game players in the city’s underground Blair Street Vaults. This version of the popular role playing game will be tailored to Edinburgh, the Vaults and their fascinatingly spooky past. The game will be run by one of Mercat Tours expert storytellers, dice will be provided and characters can be created on the day, with novices and veterans welcome.

Monster Mash, Belfast

Belfast definitely knows how to party when it comes to Halloween - a festival with deep Irish roots. Revellers will dust off their broomsticks and join in the city’s annual Halloween Monster Mash event at the Titanic Slipways on 31 October. As well as live music and fireworks, there will be street performances, craft workshops and fairground rides for all the family.

Halloween on Ice - London

Europe’s only rooftop ice rink, Tobacco Dock’s Skylight, will relaunch on Thursday, taking on the thrill of Halloween for its opening day. Get set for a lantern-lit launch complete with themed games and performances on the ice and prizes for best costume - don’t forget to collect candy at trick or treat locations along the way.

Zombie Survival, near Cardiff

What better way to celebrate the night of the living dead than by shooting some zombies (with paintballs). In this game, Cardiff is on the cusp of a zombie apocalypse, and it's your job to stop a total global takeover. The three-hour sessions will be held on 31 October, run by Taskforce Paintball Cowbridge.

Ghost Ship, London

Sail down the Thames on a haunted party boat this Halloween with Max E Groove and NYCity Soundz among the DJ line-up across two dance floors. From 7.45pm on 31 October, clubbers in fancy dress can spend four hours aboard the Ghost Ship, hosted by Amor, before heading to an afterparty on land until 4am the next day.

Hocus Pocus Movie Party, London

Head to The Grand in Clapham on 30 October for a movie night with a twist: a special party screening of Hocus Pocus. There are prizes for the best costumes, unlimited popcorn for £2, themed cocktails and games in the interval.

Rivoli Ballroom Horror Screenings, London

After some Netflix and shrill this Halloween? Rivoli Ballroom has just the ticket. Hailed as one of the only remaining 1950s ballrooms in the country, Rivoli’s blood-red interiors make for the perfect October setting, where slasher-worthy screens will this week host some of the finest horror movies, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to The Shining and more.

The Dark Circus Party, London

Bourne & Hollingsworth is normally a name synonymous with London’s best botanical bars and beautiful rooftops, but this Halloween the creative lifestyle company is putting together one of the city’s most sought-after spooky experiences. Visit an abandoned circus for sideshow oddities, aerial performers and premium cocktails (try their Ringmaster’s Poison), on Saturday 2 November at multi-arts space Earth Hackney. The dress code is Dark Circus troupe: think sideshow freaks and tragic clowns.

The Twisted Circus, Liverpool 

Startling events are afoot in Liverpool on 1 November as The Twisted Circus rolls into town. Having scared party-folk senseless in 2018, XclusiveTouch are back in the maritime city this year with another Halloween festival at Brockbank & Mellor with demonic DJs, make-up stations and death-defying performers, from “body stapling” to the “Bed of Blades”.

Carnivale: The Dark and the Damned, London

As one clown dominates your cinema screens in It Chapter Two, another has been hidden away, putting together the ultimate creepy carnival. Join Mr Pennywinkle’s Travelling Circus in Bunker 51, a former Cold War nuclear bunker in Greenwich, for an immersive experience from Apocalypse Events on Thursday 31 October, Friday 1 November and Saturday 2 November. Put your nerves to the test with scare mazes, immersive performers, carnival games and the deadliest of DJs.

Alcotraz: Cell Block One Three, Brighton

Already one of London’s hottest cocktail experiences, prison-inspired Alcotraz is giving its Wardens a little more work to do this Halloween as the brand launches a new bar on the Brighton Seafront. “Prisoners” are invited to bring their own bottle of spirit to smuggle inside, where inmate mixologists will create personalised cocktails.

For more information on Halloween events in London, visit DesignMyNight or follow on Instagram and Facebook  @DesignMyNight.

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