London: Five Halloween Happenings for 2012

Planning to be in London over Halloween? Don’t leave your celebrations to chance. There’s plenty going on this year, from family-friendly fright fests and grisly exhibitions to zombie makeovers and ghost tours, but places disappear fast so book up soon…

Up at the O2: Climb of the Cursed

Up at the O2 is London’s newest outdoor attraction and will be hosting its first ever Halloween event this year. Running for the whole week, visitors will have the opportunity to clamber across the tensile fabric walkway over this landmark venue in the dark. Led by gruesome guides, Climb of the Cursed will take guests from a spookily-themed base camp across the 52m high walkway to an observation platform at the summit, with all-encompassing London skyline views. There’ll be plenty of hair-raising surprises, tricks and treats along the way, and climbers will be given a gothic-style fright map of London for pin-pointing the capital’s horror hotpots. Sat 27 Oct – Sun 4 Nov, £22 – £28.

Climb of the Cursed © 2012 Up at the O2 Climb of the Cursed © 2012 Up at the O2

Ghost Tours at Syon House

Syon House is the Duke of Northumberland’s stately London home and is open to visitors along with its magnificent Great Conservatory and 40 acres of garden and parkland. Just ten miles from central London, the estate is holding two special ghost tours this year, exploring tales of ghastly goings-on from years past. From the time of Syon Abbey – destroyed by Henry VIII – to the imprisonment of his fifth wife Catherine Howard before her execution, there are plenty of past grim happenings to suggest the house is haunted, so come and find out for yourself. Thurs 25 Oct & Fri 26 Oct, booking essential, £20. 

Spooky Syon House © 2012 Syon Park Spooky Syon House © 2012 Syon Park

Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men

This ongoing exhibition at the Museum of London explores the morbid results of an excavation of a burial ground at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. The dig revealed the grizzly remains of some 262 burials, with evidence of dissection, autopsy, amputation and bones wired for teaching. On the night of Halloween, there’ll be a special late opening at the museum, along with some macabre activities and dark performances inspired by early 19th century body snatchers and the surgeons they supplied. Weds 31 Oct, £10.

Day of the Dead Banquet at Ginglik

If the thought of spending an evening in a converted Edwardian underground public toilet in Shepherd’s Bush doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, think again. Ginglik is one of London’s off-radar secrets; a bar, comedy club and music venue not widely known among tourists, and this Halloween the basement bunker will become a temporary cavern of creepiness with its Day of the Dead Banquet. Featuring a pop-up restaurant inside a candle-lit crypt, you’ll be treated to a dangerously delicious three-course meal while being entertained/terrified by an unearthly line-up of special guests. Wed 31 & Thurs 1 Nov, £30.

Subterranean Ginglik in Shepherd's Bush  © 2012 Ginglik Subterranean Ginglik in Shepherd’s Bush © 2012 Ginglik

Kensington Gore at Victoria and Albert Museum

For one special night at the fabulous Victoria and Albert Museum, the monthly Friday Late opening will be dedicated to a special event for Halloween. The V&A will be transformed into a late night venue with a bar and guest DJs, with visitors given the chance to be made over like a zombie, indulge in some fake blood screen printing, and celebrate the ghoulish B-movie horror genre with some spinechilling flicks. Fri 26 Oct, free.


Header photo © 2012 Up at the O2

About Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.
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