The British capital gets into the Halloween spirit with a vengeance. It must be said that London has almost 2,000 years of often bloody and gruesome history that lends itself well to tales of ghosts and the unquiet dead.
The various Royal Palaces have a wealth of gory history to delve into. At Hampton Court Palace, visitors will be plunged back into the 17th century reign of James I and witch hunts. While they are there, they could take in the Haunted Gallery, where the ghost of Catherine Howard, one of Henry VIII’s ill-fated wives, is said to wander. At the Tower of London, instruments of torture and tales of executions will bring out the goosebumps on a Twilight Halloween Tour.
London’s museums regularly offer sleepover events but the organisers’ imaginations work overtime for Halloween. At the National Archives guests can attend the re-enactment of an Egyptian mummy unwrapping party, popular in Victorian times.
At the Natural History Museum, visitors will help to solve a murder mystery.
There are many walking tours on offer visiting graveyards and the haunts of the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.
Ghoulish Ghost Stories
Charles Dickens loved a ghost story so where better to spend Halloween than visiting the Dickens Museum in the company of a magician and a fortune-telling housemaid? No guarantee that the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future will be in attendance, but who knows!
The Museum of London’s Halloween sleepover also includes ghost stories of course, featuring Jekyll and Hyde and Sweeney Todd, the demon barber. Visitors can also help solve a mystery, and another Halloween tradition will be honoured when costumed guests go trick or treating in the galleries, receiving sweets in return for answering questions.
One of the most unlikely museums in the city is Handel and Hendrix in London. Yes, as in George Frideric, composer of The Messiah, and Jimi, 1960s guitar hero. The two musicians were next-door neighbours a couple of hundred years apart in a London Georgian terrace and a single museum pays homage to both men. For Halloween, it is the venue for a truly bizarre musical experience featuring opera and guitar riffs on vintage vinyl.
Duel with Deatheaters
Some lucky visitors to the Harry Potter Studios Tour will have dinner in Hogwart’s Great Hall under floating pumpkin lanterns before going to the Forbidden Forest for dessert with giant spiders, then duel with Deatheaters before heading home!
Ready to be Really Terrified?
Not for the faint-hearted are the Halloween Fright Nights at the Thorpe Park theme park. Themed on The Walking Dead zombie series two mazes will have visitors running for their lives from zombie characters. Of course, the mazes are for paying customers who choose to be there. But the park drummed up publicity for the attractions by creating the world’s first “living billboard”, featuring actors in zombie mode spraying real blood on unsuspecting passers by. Now that IS scary.