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Shutterstock - Veda Wildfire
As the days begin to darken, and coffee and candles turn a little more pumpkin-flavoured, this can only mean one thing: the night of Halloween is upon us. Whether you're a mega fright fiend or just love an excuse to dress up, there’s a whole host of ghoulish events going on in London this year. But with so much to cram into just one moonlit night, how do you decide which scary spots to visit? We’ve compiled a list of the best London haunts for you to enjoy this Halloween season.
Roll up to the Twisted Circus at O2 Forum Kentish Town this October for a night of revelry and wonder. Marvel at a whole host of mesmerising acts, from fortune tellers and demented jugglers to death-defying aerialists. Head over to a professional makeup artist for some demonic face painting but try not to bump into a clown lurking in the shadows. With appearances from world-class DJs fuelling an entire night of unadulterated partying, it’s enough to make you run away with the circus.
If you love a bottle of bubbles as much as a bubbling cauldron, then the Hocus Pocus Brunch at Exhibit B in Streatham Hill will be right up your (dark) alley. Gather your coven of friends and enjoy a Halloween-themed prosecco brunch, complete with all your brunch favourites, before an afternoon viewing of Hocus Pocus. What better way to welcome in the Halloween spirit than by cackling along to this cult classic.
For the horror flick fanatics, Rivoli has you covered. Transforming the iconic ballroom into a ghoulish den, the pop-up cinema company is back for a Halloween with four nights of ghosts and gore. Running a film each evening from Tuesday 23rd to Friday 26th of October, they’ll be showing everything from ‘Scary Movie’ and Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’, to crowd favourite ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’. So grab a crowd of mates for an evening of laughs — and a few screams.
If costumes and face paints aren’t really your thing, why not try painting (or drawing) somebody else? This Halloween, Queen of Hoxton gives classic life-drawing a unique twist with their Neon Naked classes, covering their nude models in glow-in-the-dark paint and illuminating them with UV lights for a truly artistic experience. Classes are open to all abilities, so if you’re looking to add some vibrancy to your Hallow’s Eve, this is the perfect activity to do with pals, or even on a blind date.
Discover the haunted history of London’s best and most-loved tourist attractions with The Ghost Bus Tour. Heralded as ‘a comedy show on wheels’, you’ll ride around the city on an original Routemaster bus, visiting spots with a frightening past of poltergeists and daemons. An odd-job mix of giggles, ghouls and a fair few frights, even residents of the big smoke will uncover a darker side to the city.
Completely immerse yourself in the Halloween spirit with a pumpkin carving workshop at the Horniman Museum, learning the best carving tips and tricks from pumpkin pros. With no limit on age or ability, this is a great activity for the family, or a chance to get competitive with your best mates. And once the class is over, take your masterpiece home and place it outside to decorate your doorstep, and ward off the spirits.
This Halloween, authorities have announced the first ever UK Purge - for two nights all crime will become legal. Make your way down to Bunker 51 in Greenwich to escape the chaos and party the night away with your fellow safety-seekers as London explodes into a frenzy. Complete with live theatre performers and renowned DJs playing the best and loudest lockdown tunes, this is the place to give into your delectable desires, knowing you are safe from harm.
Our next stop is Pedley Street Station for an immersive dining experience like no other. Through a cast of incredible actors, you’ll learn the story of Claude, the shackled conductor, on his quest for eternal love that will take you all the way to the Underworld. Brought to you by the creators of The Murdér Express, with a new menu crafted by MasterChef Finalist 2017 Louisa Ellis, this is the perfect Halloween date night, full of frights and fine dining.
The UK’s no.1 speedboat operator Thames Rockets has undergone quite a makeover this spooky season. Creep on down to the London Eye Pier where you’ll meet your ghoulish guide, ready to whisk you off on a 50-minute spine-tingling speedboat ride on the Thames. Blasting out a monster mash-up of classic tunes as you dart around the docklands at 35mph, this hair-raising experience is perfect for any freakish thrill-seeker.
Howl at the full moon as you spend your Halloween dancing under the stars at London’s most vibrant rooftop bar - Skylight. Dress up as your awful alter-ego or devilish doppelganger and compete for the prize for best costume. With special guest DJs playing a night-long playlist of classic 90s classics and Deep House, this is the ideal late-night party for all the nocturnal creatures among us.
With so many options, you’re bound to have a thrilling night whichever you choose. If you’d like to hear more of our stylists’ tips from in and around the capital, feel free to explore our London life blog.