Events

UK Halloween Events – 2020 Edition

UK Halloween Events 2020
Written by Kirstie Pelling

Spooky UK Halloween Events
2020 Edition

So this Halloween could prove a little different than most? For the last five years we have been documenting 30 of our top UK Halloween events for families. In 2020 things will obviously change, but we’ll be bringing you regular news of which attractions are planning to go ahead with their scare fests. Keep checking back in to our Halloween Events UK Roundup Post for 2020 for updates….

Halloween Octopus on building

Halloween Octopus invades Manchester. Image by Halloween MCR

UK Halloween Events 2020 

Haunted Castle Tours 

Castles are naturally filled with stairs to the scares. These tend to lead to dungeons, towers and windswept turrets. Be careful who you follow up there and check your guide isn’t a ghoul in disguise before heading off on a tour with him or demanding a group selfie and tagging your mum. If you are in a city for Halloween you might want to make a whole day of it and do some other spooky activities.

UK Halloween events at Edinburgh Dungeon

Upstairs for spooky UK Halloween events at Edinburgh Dungeon

1 Ghosts at Muncaster and Lowther

Each year Muncaster Castle in West Cumbria gives all Halloween England events a run for their money. Halloween fun will happen as normal in 2020 but numbers will be limited so best book early. This year the Seriously Spooky event will be running for a full week. Daily activities include the “Sledgehammer House of Horrors” themed show running each day, every hour, from 4pm. You will need an additional ticket for this.

But included in your ticket you’ll find plague medicine workshops, lantern and drumming workshops and fire shows. There will be Witch Warbler trails around the gardens, a Terrifying Terrace and Maze, and a Juggling Jester. The gardens will be Halloween themed gardens and there will be an Enchanted Trail. The Castle opens from 10.30am with Halloween activities each day from lunchtime where you can get stuck in to Creeping Kate’s Café and the Owl Garden Tea Room. Twilight Owls events will also be running each evening. Here’s a little taste of this ‘most haunted’ castle in its Halloween glory.

2 Carlisle Castle by Torchlight

Want to be spooked by some spirits of the north? No, it’s not necessary to head to the pub, instead visit Carlisle Castle which is offering ghost tours from 28th-31st October 2020.

3 Warwick Castle’s Most Haunted

Warwick Castle’s Halloween Week is a favourite with spook seekers. Although tickets are more limited and live shows might not be repeated this year you can meet the Witches of Warwick, find out the legends of the castle and get lost in the UK’s only Horrible Histories maze. One of the past scary experiences was Outbreak 1349 in which you stood a good chance of catching the plague. It was given a run for its money by Seance, an intense sonic performance that tested susceptibility to a visit from the other side. Here’s a taste of a previous year’s Haunted Castle encounters…

4 Paranormal investigations at Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle is a great place to get into the spooky spirits. Or let the spooky spirits get into you! Last year the castle hosted a Halloween Paranormal Investigation where visitors became the paranormal investigator for the night using the spirit box to try and make communication or a temperature guns to sense a change in temperature,  as well as EMF readers and static sensors. This year maybe just go for a walk and try to get in touch by yourself?

Ghost Walks and Tours

Ghost tours are popular all over the world and you’ll find them all around the UK. They range from the simple, family friendly walks with a guide telling spooky stories to full on live action role play events that aim to scare the living daylights out of you. Do check what you’re in for before you take the little ones! If walking is too much for you, you could always try a Ghost Bus Tour in either London, York or Edinburgh. Just check the driver is alive before setting off as the undead don’t tend to stop at traffic lights.

The Ghost Tour Bus in Edinburgh

The Ghost Tour Bus in Edinburgh…are you ready for a ghostly trip?

5 Tours Under Edinburgh

Halloween Scotland is so much a thing even the undead are signing up for tickets. Here’s our Edinburgh Halloween round up of fun from 2019. If you are in the city for a short time a ghost tour is a priority. City of The Dead Tours were named Britain’s Best Ghost Walk by Scare.com and offer several different tours including a tour of The Underground City of the Dead and a Haunted Graveyard tour. There are usually lots of extra tours scheduled for Halloween week although for the moment tours and numbers remain reduced and the traditional ‘jumper-outer’ has been put on gardening leave.

Edinburgh’s Mercat Tours also have a wide selection of Halloween tours available with something to suit all ages and interests. COVID 19 adjustments for 2020 include smaller groups and bring your own headphones. Here’s a taste of what we experienced when we visited the Blair Street Vaults: you should probably know that this was done in the height of summer:

6 Meet the Ghosts of York

In York the Ghost Hunt of York runs all year round, departing every night from The Shambles at 7.30pm. (Some tours also at 6pm.) Post lockdown the tours continue, but with one major difference; whereas before it was possible to rock up on the night, these days you do need to book. There are Covid 19 measures in place; numbers are reduced, your guide will wear a mask and you are advised to do so too. Reductions are available for boils and ghouls and under 4’s are free. Expect to be scared witless for about 60-75 minutes.

7 Medical Gore in London

If you are closer to London the Old Operating Theatre offers a disturbing look into old medical and surgical practices. They often have a series of graphic gory talks on during October and November including murdering mothers of the 19th century. It wasn’t about murdering your mother -that’  different talk altogether! There are also films. Post Covid-19 you will find limited timed group entries, and credit card payment only. There are alternatives to printed maps in the way of PDFs and QR codes. And be aware the museum is only accessible by a 52 stair spiral staircase. On Halloween itself, there’s often entertainment and fancy dress competitions.

St Pauls Cathedral at Night

Ghosts gather near St Pauls London. For a Halloween walk?

8 Ghostly London Walks

Staying in London, if medical gore isn’t your thing and you want something more cultured, what about a Haunted Walking Tour? Tours are on demand for private groups, and characters from London’s dark side themes range from Sweeney Todd to Jack the Ripper. Tours continued to run post lockdown in July and August. The Haunted tours are led by London ghost expert guide Richard Jones. In this video he introduces himself….

9 Ghost Tours in the Dark in Newcastle

In Newcastle and Durham Alone In The Dark Entertainment run ghost tours and events all year round. There are lots of different walks, guides and haunted locations and there’s a special programme of events for Halloween week in 2020. Only over 16’s are welcome on the tour – even if they are children of the walking dead. In Newcastle their number one ghost walk “Till Death Do Us Part” is very popular and booking is recommended.

I waited by Elisa Artesero for Lightpool, Blackpool

Is it a ghost? No its a boy on a scooter!

10 Farm scares

In the north east, Lintz Hall Farm provides an ‘intense adult event’  – The Psycho Path. It has been described as a horror that is lurking, a nightmare you’ll never forget, and an event that shakes you up so much that stays in your mind forever. This Fear Ground is in action again in 2020 with The Psycho Path, as well as Psycho City, iScream and Anarchy Arcade. Book now by following the link. Who needs a theme park when you can visit a Scream Park over 700 acres?

11 Zombie Apocalypse

A zombie walk or run has traditionally been a bone stretching way to celebrate Halloween. Due to post COVID 19 restrictions it remains to be seen whether any of the runs will go ahead. Here’s a taster of what you are missing. You could always organise your own Halloween family zombie run instead?

Spooky Boat Tours

Many of the boat tours we normally report on here have been cancelled for this year. We’ll let you know if we hear of any that are running. In the meantime if you are in London there’s this…

12 Royal Maritime Greenwich Ghost Tour

Head to Greenwich to discover the darker side of this maritime obsessed part of London. Learn about the drunken sailors sent to “Shanghai”, hear about the Cutty Sark Curse, explore hidden lanes, the creepiest tunnel in the UK and visit Charles Dickens’ favourite haunted pub.  Royal Maritime Greenwich Ghost Tours run on assorted Saturdays from 3rd October 2020 from outside the entrance to the Cutty Sark and last 90 minutes.

Dungeons, Fright Nights & Scarefests

If you want to take the family somewhere more action packed, then a few of the UK’s big attractions are still doing Halloween this year.

13 Scarefest at Alton Towers

Alton Towers Scarefest always spooks in October and November. There’s a range of Halloween themed activities during the day and you can board your favourite rides after dark in the Scare Zones. We recommend the fiery Wicker Man ride. For an additional ticket over 15’s can get lost in terrifying Scare Mazes that have included post-apocalyptic sewer systems where groups were split up and required to appease ‘the creature.’ New for this year is Freakshow Toxic Junkyard Maze and a garden lights ‘whispering souls’ attraction. There’s reduced capacity for 2020 so do book ahead if you want to take the family.

SAW-The-Ride-Fright-Nights Thorpe Park

SAW at Fright Night; one of the great Halloween UK events, Image: Thorpe Park

14 Fright Nights at Thorpe Park

Not to be ‘overshadowed’, Thorpe Park offers awesome Halloween UK events again with its Fright Nights. Last year saw two new live experiences within eight attractions designed to scare, like the reliably terrifying scare mazes. The fright night attractions are described as intense and not recommended for anyone under 13. All that and the usual thrilling rides in the dark including the Swarm, the UK’s first winged roller coaster, SAW – The Ride’s 100ft ‘beyond vertical’ drop and Stealth, one of Europe’s fastest and tallest roller coasters. Read our review of when family travel blogger Laura Hitchcock visited a fright night with her kids or watch the video for a taster of the kind of thing you can do and see.

15 Vampires at the Beach

Vampires regularly take over Blackpool Pleasure Beach and last year was no exception. The park was transformed into a danger zone filled with hordes of zombies and vampires, loosed from their prison in the catacombs of the park and running round attractions like Icon the Ride. The Pleasure Beach is currently advertising its 2021 Freak Night experiences only so we’re guessing Halloween 2020 is postponed. We’ll let you know when we know. Also if you were planning on Visiting Screamland in Margate this year, you’ll be sad to know the theme park is closed apart from some small events.

When the Red Rose in Blackpool by Steve Messam for Lightpool, Blackpool

Blackpool is great at dressing up even when it’s not Halloween!

16 Witches in the Dungeon

Staying in Lancashire, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon cooked up an exciting Pendle Witches story for 2019. We sent mum of five Laura Keeler and two of her kids to experience plague, invisible cabbages and witching mischief and in this post looking at the three best attractions in the UK at Halloween she gave us her verdict on just how scared they were. Blackpool Tower Dungeon has reopened with COVID_19 policies in place. Booking is essential

Boy outside Blackpool dungeon

Assessing the fear factor before a visit. Image by Laura Keeler

17 Happy Halloween for Tiny People

Paultons Park hosts ‘Happy Halloween, described as a ‘friendly, frightful, fun fest.’ This year’s Happy Halloween runs from 15th October to 2nd November 2020. Enjoy the display of 4000 pumpkins, ghosts and spooky meet and greets. This year the little ‘uns can enjoy the Legend of Paultons Manor theatrical show, Pepper and George’s spooky Halloween makeover and fun with Pickles the Pumpkin.

18 Spend your Halloween in Captivity

The London Dungeon, ‘the home of Halloween’ marks it with a whole raft of putrid goings on. While the Dungeon is scary all year round, the scares are ramped up for Halloween month with 19 live shows, actors and rides. The events sell out each year, and this year is particularly likely with COVID 19 restrictions in place. Under 16’s must be accompanied. Scottish families might prefer The Edinburgh Dungeon. It’s not more comfortable but perhaps a little more convenient.

Queuing for the Edinburgh Dungeon

Queue up now for the UK’ best Halloween events for families

19 Scale the Dome

If you’re in London and like being out in the dark then you could go looking for ghosts up high. Down at the Greenwich Peninsular you won’t need a broomstick to fly over the Thames; you can take a twilight cable car on the Emirates Airline Cable Car. While you’re there visit the 02 Arena and you can climb up and scale the dome, climbing over the roof on a special walkway. Book onto a sunset or twilight tour with a few ghoulish sweets in your pocket for that special Halloween feeling. For this year, tours are more intimate, running at 10 rather than 30 people. And you won’t need to wear the climbing suits normally provided- just bring your own suitably warm clothing – and do book in advance.

Up at The O2 The Dome

The O2 Dome- just one Halloween activity we recommend

City tours and fun days 

20 Manchester’s Mad Science

Stuck for a gift idea? Red Letter Days offer a selection of ‘untreats.’ These include a zombie infection experience, and murder mystery overnight breaks for two,.

Wizarding Adventures

22 Potter in the City

There are many ways of immersing yourself in the world of Hogwarts on Halloween. The Warner Bros Studio Tour is a good place to start. Unfortunately the planned Dark Arts exhibition has been cancelled but you’ll still find much spectacle. (No not that kind of spectacle!) Numbers are limited post lockdown as social distancing measures are in place. There are signs to follow, face masks must be worn and all tickets must be pre-booked.  Elsewhere in London, you can take a Harry Potter walking tour with Get Your Guide.

In Edinburgh you can go on a free Harry Potter walking tour or read letters left to JK Rowling by fans in the place where she wrote her books.

Harry Potter glasses and wand by candlelight

Get your spooky glasses on and get out to some UK Halloween events

Ideas for Outdoor Halloween Activities

For more Halloween Ideas check out this post on 13 cheap and free things you can do outdoors for spooky Halloween fun.

Spook Yourself Silly Ideas for Outdoor Activities for Family Halloween Fun

Spook Yourself Silly Ideas for Outdoor Activities for Family Halloween Fun

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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