Halloween – 5 Alternatives To High Street Hell

Art & Culture

It’s time we all faced up to an inconvenient truth. Going clubbing on Halloween is terrible. When All Hallows falls on a weekend (as it does this year) it exerts a strange and terrible power – cajoling part timers ‘cross the land into believing that the addition of a fright wig and some poundshop make-up has increased their ability to hold booze/narcotics/ fist fights tenfold. Come 3am and the streets of every city are awash with ‘sexy’ witches puking hot WKD remorse whilst hordes of grunting lads headbutt each others Saville wigs off. Someone’s crying, someone’s pissed their pants and everyone’s had their phone nicked. Toilets are coated in chalky pub grub residue, taxi drivers are living a purgatorial nightmare, queues are massive, and Satan has won.    

You don’t have to deal with this! There are alternatives. Here are some.

The Hunterian Museum of Medical Abnormalities

The Hunterian Museum is the lesser known, creepier brother of the Wellcome Trust. Based inside the Royal College of Surgeons, and a trip to the Hunterian is finest Halloween experience you could hope for because: a) it’s exhibits see-saw between the disturbing and the disgusting, b) it’s relatively unknown and rarely busy and c) it’s totally free. Housing the mammoth, meticulous collection of ethically challenged surgeon John Hunter, the Hunterian is the place to go if you want to see medical history at its grimmest. Choice exhibits include the skull of a boy born with a second skull attached to the top of his head; a cabinet stretching the length of a wall packed with pickled, dismembered and STD riddled phalluses; a host of syphilitic skulls deformed out of all shape; pretty much every animal on Earth – some born with extra eyes/heads/legs, stuffed, carved open and pinned to card; a selection of eye watering ‘medical’ equipment; lots and lots (and lots) of jars of foetus’s; and the skeleton of a giant that Hunter bought – against the dying giants wishes – for £130. Plus a whole lot more. Don’t eat before going in. This is all given an extra weird air by the tiny, scratchily printed exhibit cards that you have to squint to read. The effect is somewhat like being trapped inside David Cronenberg’s mind circa 1984; highly entertaining, but, Jesus, a relief to leave.

Hunterian Museum


Eerie film screenings

There’s a good choice of film screenings this year. You can go and watch Psycho  – still one of the scariest films ever made – in the gothic chill of the Union Chapel, complete with a live performance of the score (people going, please resist the urge to freestyle the lyrics from Gimme Some More over the intro. Or is that just me?). Alternatively you could head down South where the guys from retro arcade café Four Quarters are hosting a 4 day horror festival in the charming surroundings of a former butcher’s basement. They’re showing two films a night, from October 30th – November 2nd – the films are as yet unannounced BUT they’ve put Pat Butcher on the flyer which suggests they’ve got a fine, nuanced understanding of scary.

pat fucking butcher


Horror Cake Farm

Horror. Cakes. You may think they’re not the most natural of bedfellows; Cakeageddon is here to prove you wrong. Curated by baking weirdo Ms Cupcake, Cakeageddon claims to be the world’s first edible horror farm and we’re probably not going to argue. The premise, as far as we can tell, is that you go out to this farm set in some woods in a place called Letchworth (which sounds kind of terrifying in itself, right?). There you head through a trail populated by 7 foot spiders, bloody intestines and mad bastards devouring bloody corpses, etc but ummmm you can eat them all too? We’re not really sure how this works, but apparently this guy is involved:

cake farm nutter


It’s an hour outside London and possibly the strangest use of toffee syrup we’ve ever heard of. More details on the Cakeageddon site.

Day of the Dead, with actual Mexicans

This is a great idea – rather than shamelessly (nay, disgracefully!) appropriating Mexican Day of the Dead iconography just to give you an excuse to smash your nut with tequila, why not go to the Mexican Embassy’s party and do it on the real? This year Jose Cuervo tequila have teamed up with the Embassy to take over a section of the OXO Tower and turn it into a mini day of the dead festival – they’ve got various artworks, kids workshops and (not sure how well this fits with the kids workshops bit) loads and loads of margaritas. They’re also screening the 1984 film Under the Volcano, a drama where Albert Finney portrays a British consul descending into tequila fuelled mental meltdown during the Day of the Death. Possibly not one to enjoy whilst necking your fifth cocktail. Info over here

Misfits Monster Ball

Finally, the only solution to crap Halloween clubbing – go out to a Halloween event the Wednesday before.

Misfits is a gay/ open to anyone night that goes on every Wednesday at East Bloc, and this year sees their third annual Halloween ball. The Misfits crowd spend days planning their outfits on a standard Wednesday– for Halloween they’ve been spending weeks. Literally weeks. The walls of facebook have been coated with shade thrown by queens bitching over who’s going to take the costume prize since the start of October. There’s talk of Biggie Smalls/unicorn hybrids and winged ebola zombies. Which is probably a bit more than you're going to see elsewhere tonight.  Crucially, the midweek date weeds out the lightweights, so the chances of you bumping into Gavin from IT support going fucking ballistic on his one big weekend of the year are basically zero. Plus, full disclosure, I’m DJing. But you can go in one of the other two rooms when that happens. Here’s the facebook.