If you live for trick or treating, watching the spookiest films and dressing up like the undead, then you’ve probably been wondering what this year’s Halloween will look like and if there’s any chance of celebrating it.
Although, yes, this year’s scary season won’t be the same as last year – for example, they’ll be no hope of throwing a party of more than six people – Halloween isn’t cancelled.
In fact, there are still some fun events and activities going on in London for fans of things that go bump in the night. Plus, we’ve come up with some ways to get your ghoul on at home or at venues around the country, from haunted staycations to Halloween-themed baking.
Check out our guide of the best things to do in London (and further afield) for a truly scare-tastic Halloween.
Pumpkin carving at The Prince
The Prince in Hammersmith is putting on a crafty Halloween-themed night on 28 October, offering guests their own pumpkin and carving kit. If you’re a first-timer, don’t worry, experts will be on hand to help those who need it create a pumpkin masterpiece, and their will be prizes for the best creations.
There will also be a Halloween Cocktail or Mocktail and pumpkin-spiced popcorn. Fancy dress is encouraged, they’ll be spooky songs and some pumpkin-based food specials from on-site restaurants Wildcard, Jack’s Sprat and Utter Waffle.
Tickets are £10, which includes your pumpkin, carving kit and a welcome cocktail.
Gothic Opera's Halloween-themed Covent Garden performances
Gothic Opera is a vibrant, female-led opera company which launched only last year, and this Halloween is back with three carefully curated gala concerts in the gardens of St Paul’s church in Covent Garden.
The audience will sip champagne as they are taken on a journey through a selection of spooky operatic repertoire, some of which will be performed for the first time since the 19th century.
The company specialises in the neglected works whose subjects take their inspiration from dark and gothic fiction, creating atmospheric performances in evocative locations.
The Gothic Festival is hosted outside on 31 October with shows beginning at 3pm, 4.30pm and 6pm, so make sure you wrap up warm.
Reservations for a two-person bench are £25, or book for all three performances for a discounted £60 (£50 concession) per bench for two, including a glass of champagne per person.
Horror screenings at the Forbidden Forest
Pop Up Screens is still going ahead with its terrifying Halloween film schedule this year and will be putting safety measures in place (such as a reduced capacity and one way systems) to ensure everyone who attends screenings are Covid safe.
There’s a huge selection of scary films on throughout October and into November, including Hocus Pocus, Get Out, Hereditary, The Craft and many more.
Tickets are priced from £19.50 which gets you into the immersive Forbidden Forest cinema, located in Peckham Rye. Once you’re in there there’s a small bar with beer and wines, and the opportunity to buy popcorn.
Pimp My Pumpkin
Retro bowling ally All Star Lanes in Brick Lane is inviting those who are handy with a pen knife to come down to their east London branch and try their hands at carving the best possible pumpkin.
Your £5 ticket will get you an hour time slot to carve your pumpkin and a Dead Man’s Fingers ‘Dead and Stormy’ welcome cocktail. Delicious.
The London Cabaret Club: El Dia of the Dead
Sit back and watch as talented dancers and singers wow you with their skills and stunts in show full of drama, glitter and cabaret at this Day of the Dead-themed Halloween show.
There’ll be a three-course menu on offer designed to reflect the textures and tastes of the Mexican celebration. Guests are also encouraged to dress to the theme, with prizes going to the most elaborate and colourful outfits.
There are three ticket options available, starting at £50 for a spot to see the show.
The Murdér Express
Do you dare to take the train straight to hell at this spooky immersive experience?
Head to a secret ‘station’ location in east London and jump onboard a glamorous train with lavish furnishings, where you’ll be transported back in time to the grandeur of the 19th century.
You’ll be joined by characters such as Frank, an east end costermonger, Tilley, a music hall star, Vera, a widow in search of adventure, and Cliff, a local antique dealer as they embark on the trip of a lifetime. Guests will board via the elegant dining car, which features plush booth seating and is lit by atmospheric period table lamps. The menu, designed by BBC One’s MasterChef 2017 finalist, Louisa Ellis, will be served throughout the experience, as the story of the ‘The Murdér Express’ unfolds.
To ensure that The Murdér Express is a Covid secure environment, the team have put a number of changes in place including temperature checks, PPE worn by staff, sanitiser stations throughout the venue, Perspex screens and a reduced capacity with an amended seating plan to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The experience will run until 31 January 2021 and tickets are priced at £65.
Walking Ghost Tour
Riverside development Goodluck Hope is putting on a walking ghost tour in collaboration with Bullshit London, full of ‘tongue-in-cheek’ horror and uncovering hidden gems of London’s truly spooky history.
The experience will be led by immersive theatre actors and each tour will run for approximately 20 minutes, with a maximum of five participants each. The tours will take place on Saturday 31 October, between 6pm and 10pm. Tours from 6pm to 8pm will be family-friendly, while the 8pm to 10pm tours will be more adult appropriate. Tickets cost £7, which includes attendance and face mask.
Bake floral skull cookies
If you are staying inside this Halloween, why not practise your baking skills and make your own treats to enjoy on 31 October?
Hobbycraft has brought out a whole range of Halloween-themed baking accessories, along with an online hub of recipes to make trying them super easy.
We like the look of these floral skull cookies which you can decorate however you like using Hobbycraft’s extensive selection of icing colours. Check out the ingredients list, method and accessories needed online.
Stay in a haunted house
The UK is full of historic spots which are said to be haunted, and many of them can be visited or rented out so that you can have a go at being a real-life Ghostbuster.
If you fancy taking a spooky staycation this October there are plenty of places to choose from, whether it be travelling to Edinburgh and taking a stroll through Greyfriars Kirkyard at midnight or visiting Croft Castle in Herefordshire to see the ghosts that still wander the halls (apparently).
We’ve written a guide to some of the most haunted areas in the UK to give you some inspiration.
Images: Gothic Opera by Robert Workman /courtesy of brands