Fear Factor: what to do in London this Halloween

Trick or treat? Are you brave enough for London's spookiest events


From making your own Voodoo doll to attending a ball as corpse bride, lovers of the macabre will be in heaven (or hell) this Halloween. This year, London has outdone itself with colourful if not downright disturbing All Hallows offerings. Here’s our round-up of the best.

A Danse Macabre Ball


This Halloween, The Last Tuesday Society is unleashing a weekend of decadent debauchery in the form of two balls that promise to pay homage to “the eternal dance of death”. Costumes are vital – come dressed in glamour and gore as the beautiful and the damned – and you will be part of the revelry. Expect ten stages, a full symphony orchestra and almost two hundred performers including The Urban Voodoo Machine, Trans-Siberian March Band, Tankus the Henge, London Gay Symphony Orchestra, London Digital Circus and Cigarette Burns Cinema.


25th October and Saturday the 26th October, 9pm-4am; The Coronet, 28 New Kent Road, London SE1 6TJ; 0207 9983617; Tickets £25 Friday, £30 Saturday;

Shrunken Head Social: Voodoo Workshop

Forget knitting or baking, this is a craft class with some bite. Bring your own beads, chicken bones and trinkets to decorate a ‘shrunken head’ which is then yours to take home on a display stand. As you create, you’ll get the facts on the one-time real life process of tribal head hunting. A second workshop offers the chance to make your own Voodoo doll but, by the time you’ve tried a few of the bespoke cocktails, you should be feeling benign about even your worst enemy.

2nd November, 1-4pm & 5-8pm; Barts Pathology Museum, 3rd Floor Robin Brook Centre, St Barts Hospital, EC1A 7BE; 078 57207377; Tickets £45; therobincollective.co.uk

Art Macabre Death Drawing Salons

Take your pick between two Halloween-themed life drawing classes. The first, Draw Blood, held in Cass Art store, features macabre medical-themed models with a penchant for blood, dissection and twisted nurses’ uniforms. The second, at a secret canal-side location in Dalston, is a celebration of Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Expect nude and costumed models, sugar skull painting, fortune telling and pinata. Come in costume to drink, dance and draw.


Draw Blood: Art Macabre's Halloween Hospital Special: 29th October 7.30-10pm, Cass Art Store, 66-67 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AB, Tickets £15;

Mexicarnival, Day of the Dead, 31st OCTOBER 7.30pm -10pm; Address will be revealed on the website; Tickets £10 in advance, £15 on door;

Lovebrunch at Aynhoe Park

Food-focused festivities with a Halloween slant will be laid on in Aynhoe Park, a grand stately home in Oxfordshire. The house holds a lifelong collection of curiosities including limited edition taxidermy, plaster casts and photography and, for All Hallows, the place will be transformed into a house of horrors. Ghoulish treats will be served throughout the night from London's leading food trucks and there will be music by The Cuban Brothers and resident DJs. Come in Halloween finery. Coaches will run from London to Aynhoe Park and back at the end of the night.

October 26th 6pm-4am; Aynho, Banbury, OX17 3BQ; Tickets £55 or £70 including coach;


Anthropomorphic Taxidermy Workshop

Learn the process and techniques behind basic taxidermy as you skin, prep, preserve, mount and position your own animal. You will be introduced to the art of anthropomorphism, whereby animals are attributed human characteristics; think mice in costumes, playing musical instruments or carrying accessories. While all mice have been ethically sourced (they were bred as feeder animals for snakes) this one is still for the strong of stomach.


27th October, 1- 5pm; Hackney City Farm, 1a Goldsmith's Row, London, E2 8QA; 0207 9983617; Tickets £60;

Halloween dog walk, Hampstead Heath

If you own a dog and have an urge to dress it up as a witch, warlock or hound of hell this Halloween, do so in the name of charity and take part in this Hampstead Heath fancy dress dog walk that will raise money for All Dogs Matter. You’ll meet in one of London’s oldest haunted pubs, The Spaniard’s Inn, to register your terrifying pooch at 10.30am. This will be followed by a group dog walk before things get competitive as costume-judging begins.

27th October, 10.30am; The Spaniards inn, Spaniards Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 7JJ; 020 83413196; Entry £5;

Up at the O2: Climb of the Cursed

Climb over the dome of the 02 as you take part in some live theatre. You’ll be part of a re-enactment telling the story of a group of explorers sent on a fatal mission. You can do the climb by night or day but after dark promises to be the spookiest. Along your way, actors will do their best to scare and intrigue you and, even if they don’t, the view from the top will be worth it. On completion of your quest, you’ll be presented with a Gothic-style map highlighting London's horror hotspots.


October 18th – November 3rd, climbs at various times; 02 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX; 020 8463 2000; Tickets £25;

Gothic season at the BFI

Death and horror are never more stylish than when filtered through the lens of Gothic cinema. You can discover or re-watch some of the classics this Halloween as the BFI showcases more than 150 titles under four themes: Monstrous, The Dark Arts, Haunted and Love is a Devil. Gothic is a uniquely British genre, originating in literature and art, then spilling into film and spreading across the Atlantic. Highlights include Nosferatu, The Wicker Man, The Haunting, American Werewolf In London, The Shining, The Woman In Black, The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari and The Masque Of The Red Death.

The main BFI Gothic programme runs from October-November but events take place across the country; See website for locations, times and ticket prices;

White Mischief's Births, Marriages and Deaths Ball

Pay homage to corpse brides, jilted Miss Havishams, spooky Victorian nannies and elegant undertakers with a flamboyant, interactive Halloween ball. On the main stage, Voltini will conduct 17,000 volts of visible electricity through his body, Duo Bogof will dazzle with their Disappearing Video Camera and Legs Akimbo will perform their twisted rock’n’roll take on Pentecostal exorcisms and baptisms. There will be puppetry, storytelling, peep-shows and music from electro-swing to vintage jazz and soul.

October 26th, 9pm-4am; Scala, 275 Pentonville Rd, London, N1 9NL; Tickets £19.99 standard, last 100 tickets £29.99;

Edible Cinema: An American Werewolf in London

Jonathan Ross and Jane Goldman are curating an Edible Cinema event around a screening of An American Werewolf in London. Along with the Soho House team and a Bombay Sapphire mixologist, the pair will create a menu and cocktail inspired by the film. You’ll be given a selection of numbered boxes at the start of the film, which you will be instructed to open at certain points throughout. Edible delights will correspond to the action on screen, offering a multi-sensory cinema experience.

October 26th at 6.30pm and 27th at 8.45pm; Electric Cinema, 191 Portobello Rd, W11 2ED, London; Tickets from £35;

Real Vampires All-Nighter

For those whose cinematic vampire obsession has spanned the decades from Kiefer Sutherland to Robert Pattinson, this is the Halloween event to choose (though don’t expect any Twilight). Throughout the night, vampire classics will show on the giant screen and you can settle down to watch them back-to-back until dawn. The line-up includes Interview with the Vampire, Dusk Till Dawn, The Lost Boys and Fright Night.

October 26th 12pm-October 27th 9am; BFI IAX, 1 Charlie Chaplin Walk, London, SE1 8XR; 0330 333 7878; Tickets £30.70;

Midnight Apothecary Halloween Extravaganza

Events on the beautiful rooftop garden of the Brunel Museum are always atmospheric and this Halloween the magical space will be filled with pumpkins, lights and a roaring firepit over which you can roast marshmallows. Drinks ingenious cocktails created by the resident cocktail-gardener who sources ingredients from the grounds, try hot food from BBC Masterchef winner Julie Friend, bob for apples or just enjoy the view.

October 26th, 5.30-11pm; Brunel Museum Roof Garden, Railway Avenue, Rotherhithe, London, SE16 4LF; 020 7231 3840; Tickets £4.50;

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