Soon the ghosts will come out to play, cackling witches will take to the skies, blood-craving vampires will be seeking to quench their thirst and skeletal figures will be punching their way out of the dirt. When these supernatural beings roam the streets it can only mean one thing: Halloween in Manchester is here.
Whether you’re adding the final flourishes to a year-in-the-making costume or digging out crooked cat ears from the back of your cupboard, the haunting holiday promises plenty of dastardly fun in the form of ghost tours, candlelit concerts and even a ‘scare skate’ ice rink. Once you’ve sorted your own décor, picked up a pumpkin and done your trick-or-treating duties you might have your heart set on keeping the celebrations going. To help you decide, we’ve rounded up the best things to do in Manchester this Halloween…
Dip your toe into the astral realm on a hair-raising hunt for ghosts around Manchester. Your smartphone will play the role of the guide; supplying clues that, when solved, lead you to some of the most haunted places in the city. On the spooky self-guided tour you’ll uncover stories that will send the shivers down the spine of even the most stoic non-believer and visit historic sites such as Manchester Cathedral, Palace Theatre and Albert Square. Grab your jumpsuits and proton packs, you’re in for a bumpy ride with this Manchester Ghost Tour.
2. Go for a ghoulish glide at Skate Manchester
The ice and chilly air won’t be the only thing making you shudder at Skate Manchester this October. The arena has something spooky up their sleeve, namely some curiously creepy décor and a whole scare of monsters that will be let loose on the rink to put the frighteners on unsuspecting skaters. You can turn the tables on the devious creatures however, as fancy dress is more than encouraged. New for this year, the spooktacular Manchester ice rink will see a frightfully realistic giant spider take centre stage this Halloween, wrapped in a bright white LED light web around the sparkling Christmas tree centre piece.
3. Listen to the best of emo at this Candlelight concert
Throwback to our youth as an emo kid and Halloween was our favourite time of year (and still is), so what’s better than a bit of nostalgia? On October 26 the hallowed halls of Hallé St Peters will be bathed in the amber glow of candlelight to create the perfect setting for an evening celebrating the best emo tracks. Featuring a selection of music by artists like Panic at the Disco!, Fall Out Boy, Paramore and My Chemical Romance performed by a string quartet, it’s sure to give you shivers and sentimentality for those emo years.
4. Hunt down the giant monsters that have popped up around Manchester
If you embark on a walk through Manchester city centre anytime during Halloween week you’ll likely spy a giant inflatable monster or two. The menagerie of oddly-endearing creatures have been invading the city for the past five years and are set to do it once more. Hide-and-seek doesn’t seem to be their strong suit though, as these pop-up Halloween monsters are often spotted hunkering down behind Printworks or peering over Piccadilly Place.
5. Dare to enter a terrifying horror experience in an abandoned asylum near Manchester
Newsham Park Hospital in Liverpool could easily be mistaken for an old hotel left to ruin – its windows boarded up, perimeters overgrown. This Halloween, the haunted building less than an hour’s drive from Manchester will host a spooktacular in the form of Newsham Scream Park, a series of blood-curdling spooky attractions to get you in the gruesome spirit. Each experience will wind through the dark bowels of the building, filled with deepening dread and moments of sheer blood-curdling panic, as guests follow each nightmarish path through Newsham Scream Park.
6. Watch a creepy cabaret performance at the King’s Arms
Fans of spooky season (and live entertainment) rejoice – because Selina Helliwell’s lavish show is back to transform the gorgeous cabaret-style theatre at the King’s Arms in Salford into a night of sparkle and female empowerment – this time with a creepy, Halloween-themed twist. Expect mesmerising music, scary and sexy burlesque and spine-tingling spoken word as well as many more ghoulish surprises – including a fancy dress competition for the audience!
7. Sneak drink behind bars at Alcotraz
If the supernatural doesn’t scare you the stone-cold glare of the Alcotraz prison warden just might. A place where breaking the rules is the only way to survive the night, this experience is not for the lily-livered, in fact a concrete liver is exactly what you’ll need when it comes to the cocktail portion of the night. Once you’ve wiggled into your orange jumpsuits and smuggled in liquor, the next step is indulging in some delicious concoctions made by fellow inmates. If a day of booze-fuelled crime sounds like something that to tick off your bucket list then head to Alcotraz Manchester.
8. Get on a board a Halloween ghost train
Are you brave enough to board the “spooky” steam train? Once every ten years at Summerseat tunnel a portal opens to the dark past… but what evil beasties and nasty things await on the other side? Join the East Lancashire Railway in your best fancy dress this Halloween to find out. There will be ghoulish goodies galore, and you’ll meet monstrous new friends including a fang-tastically friendly vampire, a chatty Zombie, mad Dr Frankenburger, a snappy plant creature and more oddballs and curios. Also, don’t miss the all singing, all dancing “Skeletonettes” on the platform!
9. Dance the night away at a spooktacular silent disco at Victoria Baths
One thing that’ll have you shaking in your boots this Halloween is a silent disco known as The Silence of the Baths at one of the most historical buildings in Manchester, Victoria Baths. For the first time ever, Victoria Baths will bring you all the thrills of Halloween with a spooktacular silent disco, ‘The Silence of the Baths’, setting your heart racing and sending tingles running down your spine with a takeover by legendary Girls on Film plus special guests THT GRL (Not Bad For A Girl) and DJ MX WORLD.
10. Stop a ghostly menace on the Haunted Manchester tour
On a fateful (and fictional) day in Manchester a student named Loky met his watery end when he drowned in the icy depths of the canal. The act was not an isolated incident or unfortunate accident but the malicious work of a serial killer who roamed the banks of the canal, his name: The Pusher. On this Haunted Manchester tour you’ll explore the darker side of the city, solving clues and uncovering stories about the trapped spirits who fell victim to this murderer. Keep your wits about you: everything might not be as it seems…
11. Celebrate Halloween with a spine-chilling schedule of events at GRUB
To celebrate the Spooky Season, GRUB will be hosting a full week of Halloween-themed events running from October 25 to 29. In addition to these events, guests can expect a spookily decorated venue, a special Halloween-themed beer and cocktail menu, street food specials, tunes and lots of candy.
Last year at GRUB’s independent cinema, Cultplex, saw the birth of STAB, a weekend long celebration of horror movies, and it was such a wild success that they’re doing it all again. This time, it won’t just be a weekend worth of Halloween treats but a whole month of some of cinema’s best horrific output. Kicking off with a Scream marathon on October 1, things continue to get scarier, climaxing with a double bill of Monster Squad (1987) and An American Werewolf In London (1981) on Halloween night.
12. Prepare to enter a world of horrors at this Zombie experience
The abandoned Camelot Theme Park has opened its doors to the public once more, but it’s not the joy-filled kingdom of fun it once was. A darkness has swept through the land and left a swarm of zombies in its wake, each one burning with an all-consuming hunger for human flesh. This time the screams you’ll hear won’t be from thrill-seekers riding rollercoasters but from pale-faced pedestrians who couldn’t resist a trip back to the nostalgia-inducing amusement park they once visited as a kid. Ever heard of that phrase curiosity killed the cat?…
13. Watch an entertaining performance of 2.22 A Ghost Story at The Lowry
The new stage phenomenon that has taken the West End by storm is coming to Salford in time for Halloween. 2:22 A Ghost Story comes fresh from record-breaking seasons at five West End theatres with a host of acclaimed star performances. It’s a brilliantly funny and adrenaline filled night where secrets emerge and ghosts may or may not appear… What do you believe? And do you dare discover the truth?