Great grisly hotspots and eerie events to enjoy this Halloween
It is thought many Halloween rituals are derived from Celtic harvest festivals but whatever the origins, today most people think Monday 31 October will be a great time to break out the pumpkins, lurch around as a monster and have some ghoulish good times. Each year the occasion gets bigger, with more things to do.
Bedevilled in London
There is more going on in the British capital for Halloween than you could point an exhumed bone at. Among the attractions will be a fire festival with magic and fireworks at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in South London. At Barts Pathology Museum, which is in West Smithfield, attend Delicious Decay, where the gruesomely inclined can find out more about decomposition with skeleton shortbread and sherbet ‘cremains’. This delight of putrefaction is being held just before Halloween; therefore, you could dazzle your friends afterwards with exciting facts about cadavers and funeral rites. London's clubs will be hopping with a variety of themed events on and leading up to the 31st. Dance at Bugged Out: Skream at Shoreditch's Village Underground; be immersed in all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer at Upstairs at the Ritzy in Brixton; or get dressed up for the Guilty Pleasures Halloween Ball, a night of music to get every ghost and glittery serial killer out on the dance floor at Koko in Camden.
American horror journey
In the US, people love to celebrate Halloween with parties, parades and all kinds of activities. Some US towns go all out with celebrations that are loads of fun for locals and tourists; for example, Park City, Utah - a former silver mining town - hosts a street party called Howl-a-Ween, where dogs are costumed as bees, squirrels and even sausages on buns to walk with their owners through ‘Bark’ City. In the charming seaside town of Chatham, Massachusetts, ‘pumpkin people’ decked out as brides, lobsters and a whole array of other creatures take over Kate Gould Park in October. There is a party in the park on the Saturday just before Halloween with musicians, apple bobbing and pumpkin bowling. In Harbor Springs, Michigan, Halloween is a big occasion for children. Events include a community Halloween party, a parade of kids in costumes, and youngsters doing some trick and treating.
Blood sucking adventure
Really crank up the spook factor with a visit to Dracula's former home in Romania. There are plenty of places to stay in the Transylvanian Mountains near the notorious Bran Castle, thought to have been where Vlad the Impaler - the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula - once resided. Vlad was renowned for his cruel treatment of his enemies and is believed to have tortured thousands of his victims by skewering their bodies with stakes and leaving them to rot. The castle is open to visitors and there is even a Halloween tour.
Forget fashion, foie gras and champagne - even Paris has its macabre and haunting side. Skip the Eiffel Tower and the art galleries and get some authentic Halloween shivers at the Parisian Catacombs or the Père Lachaise Cemetery. The catacomb tunnel walls are lined with the bones of dead Paris residents - millions of them. The skeletons of the deceased were dug up and relocated in the 17th century and are spooky enough to have inspired the writer Edgar Allen Poe. The Père Lachaise Cemetery is thought to be haunted and has an eerie atmosphere. There are miles and miles of tombstones, including celebrities such as Jim Morrison of The Doors and Edith Piaf.