Let me tell you a secret: I’m incapable of watching Horror Movies. It is ridiculous really. Most of us realise that the monsters depicted in Scary Movies do not really exist. And yet a little doubt always creeps in. Since Childhood I was deeply invested in any story I read or was told. I believed in Father Christmas far longer than my Younger Sister. Even when Logic and Facts spoke against everything I believed in. I just couldn’t bare to let go of my Childhood Fantasies.
When I watch a Horror Movie, I live and breathe the story. I empathise with the characters. Furthermore I am a very nervous character. Anxious at all times, I jump right out of my skin when something pops it’s head around the corner.
Yet I love Halloween. It lightens up a dark month, that can get a little dreary at times.
For a long time my Family didn’t celebrate Halloween. My parents deemed it to be an American Festivity, alien to our Culture and Traditions. When we were Teenagers, we finally convinced our Dad. We would carve a Pumpkin, cook delicious Pumpkin Soup and get dressed up in makeshift costumes to freak out his neighbours. It didn’t go much beyond that and we never attended a Halloween Party.
My Boyfriend believes I lived a far to sheltered live. He is determined to make me watch every horror Classic under the Sun. I have a lot of catching up to do. London really is the perfect city to celebrate Halloween. My options are unlimited. I have a plethora of are highly unusual Museums, mad and wonderful Celebrations and creepy crawly walks right at my fingertips.
Today I would like to introduce you to my favourite Alternative Halloween Haunts. You could of course go on a Jack the Ripper Walk or head to the London Dungeons. Or you could follow the more unusual alternative Itinerary I compiled to make this a perfect Halloween Weekend in London.
London Hunterian Museum
The Hunterian Museum was one of the most captivating museums I ever visited in Glasgow. And I happily revisit it every time a new family member or friend popped by to see me. I therefore almost jumped for joy, when I found out London has it’s very own.
The London Hunterian Museum is located in the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It holds one of the oldest collections of anatomical and zoological specimens assembled by the surgeon and anatomist John Hunter. The collection includes a 7ft Giant, the Toot of a Giant Sloth, a plethora of jars containing preserved body parts of animals, surgical instruments dating all the way back to the 17th Century and pickled embryos.
As Museums go, it is pretty macabre. Right-out Repulsive at times, yet extremly educative. In case the dissected brains and pickled tumours aren’t quite gory enough, you can take part in a pickling workshop.
The Hunterian Museum cellebrates Halloween with late opening hours and a special exhibition on hanging techniques and the tendency for ancient bodies to rise from the Dead
Address: 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE / Opening Times: 10h00 – 17h00 / http://www.hunterianmuseum.org/
Evan’s and Peel Detective Agency
Speakeasies date all the way back to the Prohibition Era of 1920s America. These hidden bars, quenched the first of sneaky punters, in an era when drinking was highly illegal. Nowadays they are incredibly popular and fashionable.
I suprised my Boyfriend last year for his Birthday and his Eyes almost dropped out of their socket, when the bookshelf in the 1920s Detective Agency Swung open to reveal a secret bar. The entrance to Evans and Peel Detective Agency is hidden on a side street of Earl’s Court Road. Entrance is by appointment only and you might want to come prepared with a story. On entering the small basement office you will be quizzed about your case. You can take the story as far as you like.
Inside you will find a large candlelit bar, gramaphone music and drawers full of liquor. The menu includes fantastical cocktails and a large variety of sliders. Our particular favourite was the maccorini and cheese slider.
Address: 310c Earls Ct Rd, London SW5 9BA / Opening Times: 17h00 – 24h00 / http://www.evansandpeel.com/
Ghosts, Gaslight and Guinness
London is a city with a very long history and ghosts hidden behind each corner. The best way to explore this mysterious city is on foot with a London Walk.
London Walks offer four very special Halloween Walks. The West End Ghost Walk winds it’s way through abondened Georgian Streets, a creepy Churchyard and the old Palace Quarter. Ghost of the Old City introduces it’s participant to the Black Nun and her lonely Vigil and something very evil that lurkes behind a small window. The Haunted London walk goes through the most omnious parts of london, with alleyways that are so narrow, you can’t even open an umbrella. If you listen carefully, you might even hear the voices of the past whisper into your ear. If you fancy a ghostly pint to quench your first, you might consider joining Ghosts, Gaslight and Guiness, for a spooky refreshment.
www.walks.com/halloween-ghost-walks / Ghosts gaslight and Guinness Walk starts at 19h00 from Holborn Station
The Old Operating Theatre and Museum
The Old Operating Theatre and Museum, Britain’s oldest surviving purpose-built operating theatre, is located in the herb garret of St Thomas Church. The operating theatre was built in 1821 and part of St Thomas Hospital. Today it’s an unusual museum that might send chills down your spine. The whole operating theatre was carefully restored with original furniture and equipment, including a 19th century operating table.
While pretty distressing to watch, the Old Operating Theatre holds sanitised reenactments of operations past. The Museum presents a broad array of medical equipment, including bone saws and items used in childbirth, that look disturbingly similar to torture devices.
Address: 9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY / Opening Times: 10h30 to 17h00 / http://www.thegarret.org.uk/
City of London Cemetery
Cemeteries are beautifully serene. I must confess I enjoy exploring these dark corners of the city.
This Grade I listed London cemetery and Crematorium was opened in 1856 and is one of the biggest non-military cemeteries in Europe. Over 150, 000 graves are located within the beautifully kept 200 acre garden. You will find several celebrities buried here, including Claude Duval, Robert Hooke and two of Jack The Ripper’s Victims. You can pay homage to the flower-strewn graves of Mary Ann Nichols (his second victim) and Catherine Eddowes (his fourth victim) on either side of the Gardens Way, to the east of the site.
Since the mid 1970s, neighbours of this London cemetery have complained about an eerie orange light emanating from one of the tombstones. The source of this mysterious light remains unfound.
Access the Cemetery via Aldersbrook Road.
Address: Aldersbrook Road, Manor Park, London, E12 5DQ / Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm in Summer and 9am to 5pm in Winter, Saturdays and Sundays: 9h00 to 17h00 / http:www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
Chills in the Chapel
Fancy spending Halloween in a Gothic-Revival Chapel? Head to Chills in the Chapel!
Following a sold out event last year, London’s Union Chapel is hosting two special Halloween nights in 2015 and will be screening two classic horror in the chapel – “Escape from New York” on Friday the 30th and a medley of the “Halloween” series on Saturday the 31st. The movie screening will even be accomponied by a live performance of the classic scores. Enjoy the movies in your favourite Halloween Outfit (fancy dress is encourage and usually very lavish), with a Cocktail in Hand. And if you’re brave enough, you can stay for the Bates Motel Ball after the Ball. Tickets for the screening are £20 per head and tickets to the ball are an additional £5. All proceeds will go towards the redevelopment of the Chapel, which apparently is in quite a horrific state itself.
Address: Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN / Dates: Friday 30th and Saturday 31st of October 2015, 18h30 / http://www.unionchapel.org.uk/
Vauxhall’s Pleasure Garden Fire Festival
After it’s resounding success in 2013 and 2014, with over 5000 spectators, the Vauxhall Pleasure Garden Fire Festival is back. Once again the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens will be transformed into Asgaard, home of the Norse Gods. You can expect firework displays, a large bonfire, a fire magic show, hundreds of food stalls and a pop-up Pub called Thor’s Hammer.
Gary is a huge fan of anything Viking. He was thrilled to bits when the British Museum open it’s special exhibition last year. So I am pretty sure we won’t be skipping this unique Viking Festival this year.
Entrance is free and everyone is welcome to come. It might get crowded!
Address: Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, SE11 5HY / Date: Saturday 31st October 2015 18h30 / https://vauxhalltrust.wordpress.com/
Perfect Halloween Weekend Itinerary
Friday 30th October 2015
18h30 Chills in the Chapel, London Union Chapel / £20
22h00 After Screening Movie, London Union Chapel / £20
Saturday 31th October 2015
10h30 City of London Cemetery
13h00 Lunch at the Larder / 39 High Street Wanstead, London, E11 2AA
15h30 London Hunterian Museum / 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE / Free
18h30 Vauxhall Pleasure Garden Fire Festival / Free
Sunday 1st October 2015
13h00 Lunch at the Shard / Ting Lounge / 32 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9 SG / £30
15h30 The Old Operating Theatre and Museum / 9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY 9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY / £6.50
19h00 Ghost, Gaslight and Guinness Walk / Starts Outside of Holborn Station / £10
21h30 Evan’s and Peel Detective Agency / 310c Earls Ct Rd, London SW5 9BA