Creep out the Kids: London Halloween 2019
Halloween is all about dressing up, having fun and crazy sugar rushes - but lucky Londoners have an excuse for spooky city excursions. Here's what's happening this Halloween...
Sites around the UK
Photo: Dover Castle, English Heritage
There's nothing spookier than a castle with actual ghost stories, so make this Halloween one to remember and head to a glorious English Heritage site for a ghost tour or spooky castle experience. Make the most of your half-term and visit one of these inspired locations, from Deal and Dover Castles in Kent, to Portchester Castle in Hampshire to the illuminations at Whitby Abbey (the ruin which inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula), or stay closer to home and head to Eltham for the local spooky experience in London. Eltham Palace and Gardens is hosting wicked craft sessions, Halloween hunts and live creepy-crawlies like snakes, spiders and more.
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Get involved in some monster correspondence at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
159 Hoxton Street, London N1 6PJ
Thurs-Fri, 1pm-5pm, Sat - 11am-5pm
Yes, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is the place to head when you're in need of spooky treats (Werewolf Biscuits or Fang Floss, anyone?), or if you want to get involved with brilliant literacy charity, Ministry of Stories (based behind the shop). Their monster-letter writing service lets kids embrace their creative sides to pen a letter to a monster of their choice (£5, or £6 if you'd like the letter posted to you) and get a response back - anyone can participate. Not only is it an ideal way to embrace the magic of Halloween, it sounds like a far more interesting tactic to get them writing than a Bond book...
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Get a Halloween costume the kids can also wear out in real life
As parents try to think more sustainably, the idea of a throwaway Halloween costume just doesn't sit well. Which is why everyone's obsessing over the Harry Potter x Boden collection, full of easy everyday staples like Hogwarts sweatshirts, charm-emblazoned dresses,, printed tees, striped scarves, Hippogriff, Hedwig and Quidditch motifs, PJs with Harry's spectacles and more. While you've probably already gotten a few items from the first drop in August, look out for new products hitting shelves in October, just in time for Halloween.
Big Fish Little Fish: Vauxhall Halloween Spooktacular
Fire & Lightbox, Vauxhall
2 October | 2pm – 4:30pm
Spooky raving in a multi-room club with three rooms of DJs? Sounds like Halloween can be fun for parents, too. With glow sticks, bubbles, face painters, crafts and glitter cannons, Big Fish Little Fish has everything kids and grown-ups alike need for a fun, family-friendly rave. Sounds BOO-rific.
Recommended for families with children under the age of 8, but all ages are welcome
Click here to book tickets
Go for a Halloween plog
Image via Plogolution
Not everyone wants to spend Halloween tossing sweets wrappers; some kids want to do their part for Mother Earth by cleaning up. Check out Plogolution to find out where the nearest spooky plog near you is happening.
Not sure what plogging is? Click here to find out all about why it's awesome
Warner Bros. Studios
27 September – 10 November
Explore the dark side of the Harry Potter 'verse at Warner Bros. Studios, which transforms into its spookiest incarnation for Halloween season. The Great Hall is decorated with over 100 hand-carved floating pumpkins and laden with a colourful feast of sweets and treats, and children will get to test their magical might in a wand-based duel against the spookiest of JK Rowling's characters. Interactive displays of dribbling drool, silvery unicorn blood and troll snot are on display so visitors can discover how they were made, and this year, there is a special emphasis on how the Death Eaters were created, with members of the Art Department talking through the process of creating the individualised Death Eater masks and elaborate costumes from the film series.
Recommended for ages 5+. Children between the ages of 5 – 15 must be accompanied by an adult
Click here for more information
The Bloody Tower
Tower of London
As spooky as Halloween make-believe is, it doesn't quite compare to the terrifying events that happened all those years ago at the Tower of London: The Bloody Tower held some famous prisoners, and was the site where 12-year-old Edward V and his younger brother Richard disappeared - thought to have been killed. Visit throughout October, and from November, on certain Sundays, horrible history buffs will be able to book onto Twilight Tours, where Yeoman Warders will show you Traitors' Gate, the scaffold site and the Bloody Tower. It's only natural that the site of Tudor Queen executions and tortured prisoners would become a hotbed of ghostly apparitions.
Chaos, contagions and cures for catastrophe
The Royal Institution
26 October | 11am-4pm
Photo: Cullan Smith
The Royal Institute's Family Fun Days team science and learning through activities and talks. This October's focus is all about exploring science - at the end of the world. Happy armageddon.
Recommended for ages 7+
Grim Keepers at the ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo is known for its spook-a-rific Halloween themed activities, and this year, the name of the game is Grim Keepers, a spooky tour with fun challenges and facts for kids to discover throughout October half term, like how one small bite from a Komodo dragon is enough to take down a water buffalo. Halloween-themed arts and crafts sessions are ideal for those keen to make a bat mask or carve a pumpkin, and face painters will be on hand for any dramatic beastly transformations the kids may want. Of course, kids can also enjoy checking out the Zoo's spookiest animals: fruit bats, spiders, giant jumping rats...
Let us entertain you
While there's plenty to do around town on Halloween, for kids, it's also very much a holiday to celebrate in the home: even the little ones can get involved by assisting with bringing candy to trick-or-treaters who come a-knocking. A Halloween party is always a hit - just think of the creepy food (witches' finger biccies! eyeball brownie bites!) and fantastic spooky decor you'll get to use. Meri Meri has everything you need when it comes to Halloween tableware. These adorable pieces are also begging to be reused time and time again.
Photo: Meri Meri