If you’re looking for something a little more interesting than mythical vampires to get your teeth stuck into this Halloween, we’ve got just the thing. Swerve the pumpkin patch with our guide to the finest destinations for discerning chill-chasers…
Half-term Halloween destinations for the family
Desperate to escape the endless trick or treaters banging on your door and demanding hard cash in return for not spray-painting your garden fence with poorly spelt abuse? Pack your passports, pumpkins and kids before heading to one of these top-five last-minute Halloween destinations in Europe.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
A spooktacular Halloween secret – Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen
Halloween sees the city’s Tivoli Gardens transformed into a supernatural wonderland with witches, scarecrows and a liberal sprinkling of lumbering zombies to entertain the mortals. Join the cosmopolitan guestlist at the pop-up amusement park that offers Halloween high-jinks all watched over by 20,000 carved pumpkins. Don’t miss the Zombie Dance show at Plænen, where parkour performers breath life into street-dancing zombies, monsters and vampires. Also, make sure you’re out of your crypt and ready to enjoy the monster parade, with zombies leading the way followed by cretinous decomposing flunkies such as orcs, vampires and assorted ghouls. Kids with a taste for the terrifying will enjoy the thrills and chills at the famous Skærsilden haunted house, where wailing ghouls and rattling chains will do their best to up the fright factor. Adults and children over 12 can also check-in and freak-out at the Scary Hotel. There’s plenty of less hardcore horror, too. Just head to the Pantomime Theatre, where the entire family can enjoy the ‘Vampire Mice House’ show with live, white vampire mice. When: Now until November 2 Prices: Adult and children 8+ – £10.50, children 0-7 – free More informationwww.tivoli.dk Flights for family of four from Gatwick: £523.72* Sample hotel: £176 here
It’s already one of our favourite European theme parks and now you can boost the fun by adding a big fat topping of Halloween tomfoolery. Running from October 27 – November 2, Europa Park opens its gates to a host of special attractions, decorations and shows. Setting the scene will be taken care of by an invasion of 160,000 decorated pumpkins, 15,000 chrysanthemums, 3,000 bales of straw, 6,000 corn plants, spider trees and ghostly illuminations. Young fright-seers can enjoy the Euromouse Halloween show, or cheer on myriad monsters and creepy creatures providing thrills and chills at the Happy Halloween Parade. Other eerie treats include ‘Spook Me! The Europa Park Musical’ where the Ghostly Castle takes centre stage to a story of magic and spookery. Chill-seekers looking for a more hands on approach to getting their terror fix will relish a shot of adrenaline dispensed by the world’s biggest pumpkin rollercoaster and 4D cinema bringing viewers uncomfortably close to the on-screen action. On top of this, hardcore freak fans won’t want to miss the special Horror nights, where five new houses will shock and scare all who enter, with zombies, killer clowns and blood-sucking vampires on hand to bother the guests. See the website for dates and prices. When: October 27 – November 2 Prices:www.europapark.de More information: www.europapark.comFlights for family of four from Stansted: £531.00 Sample hotel: From £136.00 here
If you fancy a swift hop over the Channel then a weekend of Halloween fun awaits your family at Disneyland Paris. The spooky spectacular takes place on October 31 and brings a ghoulish night-time extravaganza with something for your entire brood. The Halloween Party takes place from 8.30pm – 1.00am and tickets cost from £34.00. Attractions include a fun-filled mingle with a huge gathering a of fairytale fiends all played out to the sights and sounds of Disney wrapped up in a collection of spooky grinning pumpkins, giggling ghosts and chuckling surprises at every turn. Mickey and chums also join in the fun, with a seasonal parade for all the family. Guests can also discover a sweet treat with Goofy Bonbons or take a trip to Jack and Sally’s Cemetery from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas’. When: October 31 Prices:Here More information:www.disneylandparis.co.uk Flights for family of four from Gatwick: £555.92 Sample hotel: £291.17 here
Held at the ruins of Frankenstein Castle on a hill overlooking the city of Darmstadt in Germany, the Halloween Parties were started more than 30 years ago by American forces based in Darmstadt, yet remain foolishly unnoticed in the UK. Frankenstein Castle was home to Johann Conrad Dippel and alchemist of the 1600s who allegedly created an ‘elixir of life’ while also spending his spare time digging up corpses and creating DIY monsters, according to local gossips. All this giving it the perfect credentials for the ghoulest of Halloween hops! The party runs from October 24 – November 9, with special VIP deals for families costing from around £20.00. These packages offer reserved tables and free food and a ‘poodle’, according to the German website. Alongside the food and ‘poodle’, the castle has been divided into four zones, with 99 monsters lurking at every turn. Enjoy the inner courtyard with its spectacular stage show, the ‘Monster Battle’, or head to the moat for a little after-dinner conversation with dragons, zombies, a swamp monster in the lily pond, gruesome werewolves and the ‘mysterious’ stranger. If that hasn’t left you in need of counselling, why not head to the Tower of Secrets where an 18+ meet with the Devil and his spit-roasting cohorts is sure to impress fans of the dark side. The ‘Unterburg’ or centre of the castle is rather more sociable, and offers a food, drink and somewhere to soothe your nerves away from the horrors that lie beyond. Join in the fun: Download a build-your-own Frankenstein’s monster mask from the event’s website. Instructions are in German, but it’s self-explanatory for the tiny fraction of us Brits who don’t speak a foreign language. Find it here When: October 24 – November 9 Prices: £20.00 p/p for family VIP ticket here More information:Here Flights for family of four from Heathrow: £604.00 Sample hotel: £120.00 here
If you’re looking for somewhere a little closer to home, then why not book your parking with APH.com and grab a flight to Edinburgh – unanimously agreed to be one of the UK’s spookiest cities. Along with its permanent party atmosphere, the city comes alive at Halloween with secrets and stories of death and supernatural goings-on. Take one of the many ghost walks that traverse the old town, or delve beneath the streets and explore its City of the Dead… Edinburgh’s legendary underground slums where a population once lived in abject poverty and utter misery just for your future Halloween delectation. Trawl the subterranean streets and look out for the evil spectre known locally as the ‘South Bridge Entity’ that prowls the city’s rotten bowels. For those who prefer their shivers delivered above ground, there are plenty of other options for chill-seekers. From the Ghost Bus to spooky concerts and fireworks, there’s something to keep the entire family entertained and terrified in equal measure. Browse and book your Edinburgh Halloween tours here When: October half-term and all-year round Prices: See individual websites More information: www.edinburghtourist.co.uk Flights for family of four from Stansted: £503.00 Sample hotel: £84.00 here
*Flights and hotel prices based on two adults and two children travelling from various UK airports departing October 31 returning November 2. Flight cost is basic price and does not include any charges for baggage that may be payable. Hotel is for two nights.
Alternative Halloween trips
Halloween isn’t just for kids and selling off the world’s surplus of pumpkins; dark tourism is a fast-growing area of travel where cultural aspects of death and supernatural can be explored by those whose interest go beyond the grave. Start the tour here with our alternative hitlist of Halloween destinations.
Creepy movie location: The Others (2001) Palacio de Los Hornillos - Cantabria
Visit the remote house where Nicole Kidman’s character spends the film convinced her family is being hounded by ghastly ghouls, only to discover that it’s actually her and the kids who are dead – and haunting the building’s current inhabitants. Where: Cantabria, Spain. Enter these coordinates in Google maps: 43.190065,-4.059385
Celebrity cemetery: Pere Lachaise, Paris
Pere Lachaise, Paris
Pere Lachaise, Paris:
Celebrity grave spotters should head here – there’s no better necropolis to meet the dead than Pere Lachaise in Paris. Famous residents include tortured luminaries such as Doors front man Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. However, there’s more than celebrity corpses on offer, with the ornate crypts and leafy walkways creating an atmospheric and tranquil oasis in the centre of this most frenetic of French cities. Head here for an afternoon of intense emotions played out to a highly dramatic of background. Find a full list of noteworthy incumbents here: Here’s the celeb RIP list Find where the grave is:Get GPS coordinates here Where: 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris, France Enter these coordinates in Google maps: 48.860°N 2.396°E
Check-in where celebs checked out… Various locations
Want to sleep in the same room where your fave celebrity retired from public life for the final time? If that doesn’t take your fancy, we’ve some other notorious hotel rooms you might want to consider. Here are the rooms to book – or avoid…
Oscar Wilde: Room 16, L’Hotel, Paris Spice up your holiday postcards by drawing a little literary inspiration from the very room where Oscar Wilde drew his final breath. Back then it was known as the Hôtel d’Alsace on Paris’ rue des Beaux Arts How much: £336.00 Book here: http://www.l-hotel.com/
Janis Joplin:Room 105, Highland Gardens Hotel, Hollywood While many hotels will not highlight celebrity check-outs, the Highland Gardens – formerly known as the Landmark Hotel – in Hollywood is said to happily charge extra for the honour of sleeping in the room where the 27-year-old singer died of an accidental drug overdose in October 1970. Joplin’s room, 105, can be specified for around £137.00. How much: £137.00 Book here:Get close to Janet here
James Gandolphini: Room 449, Boscolo Exedra Hotel, Rome, Italy Spend a night in the £420.00 per night, fourth floor suite where Soprano’s star James Gandolphini tragically died from a heart attack. How much: Around £420.00 Book here:Hotel details here
John Lennon: Room 702, Hilton, Amsterdam The famous room where in March 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent their honeymoon and staged their intial week-long ‘In Bed For Peace protest’. Former Beatle John was gunned down in 1980. The John and Yoko suite is available to book and comes with a king-size bed and comes decorated with memorabilia. How much: £212.00 per person Book here: Find some bed peace and love here
Michael Jackson baby dangling: Adlon Kempinski Hotel, Berlin
Stay in the hotel’s Presidential Suite Brandenburg Gate and remember not to dangle your infant from the window like the late Michael Jackson in November 2002. Along with its notorious claim to faim, you’ll also have a spectacular view over the city, a personal butler and 24-hour limousine service. How much: £12,461.00 per night Book here: Get the credit card ready here
Haunted hotels: Time to shake and shiver
The Stanley Hotel – inspiration for The Shining and its own ghosts, too: image credit
Haunted hotel 1: The Chelsea Hotel, New York
Built in 1884, the Chelsea has been a magnet for high-profile, tortured guests from the beginning. From Andy Warhol to Bob Dylan, the creative community has been drawn to the hotel’s bohemian ambiance. It’s not always been a happy home though, with troubled spirits said to wander the corridors and lobbies. The ghost of resident Welsh writer and poet Dylan Thomas is said to have remained after the man himself checked-out and shuffled from this mortal coil due to excessive drinking, while American writer Thomas Wolfe is claimed to haunt the 8th floor. Dead Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious is also said to linger at the east elevator of the hotel, near to the spot where he’s alleged to have murdered his partner in drug-related grime, Nancy Spungen. The Chelsea is currently closed for renovation, but will re-open next year. More information: Find out more here
Haunted Hotel 2: The Stanley Hotel, Colorado The Stanley Hotel has not only an impressive guestlist of ghouls that are said to be long-term residents, but it also hosted horror novelist Stephen King, inspiring him to write The Shining. So, why not book room 217 and have you bags unpacked by the helpful housekeeper Elisabeth Wilson – who died in 1911 – or simply look up a few of mad Jack Torrance’s haunts. Other ghost include giggling children on the fourth floor and the spirits of the hotel’s original owners, Mr and Mr s Stanley keeping a watchful eye on the old place. Top tip: The Stanley Hotel is said to show the uncut R-rated version of The Shining on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on guest room televisions. Book your room: Stanleyhotel.com
Most-haunted road:A75 between Annan and Dumfries, Scotland
Grab a flight to Glasgow, hire a car and take a late night drive along the 15-mile stretch of the A75 between Annan and Dumfries. The road has been the scene of numerous hauntings over the past 50 years, with locals reportedly naming it the ‘Ghost Road’. Hundreds of spooky sightings have been reported, with one of the first from a truck driver in 1957 who reported a couple walking in front of his truck – but when he stopped to wipe their remains from his wheels – he found no evidence of the pair. This has been a typical sighting ever since.
Ghost hunter’s smartphone tool box
If you’re heading off in search of supernatural goings-on, then make sure you don’t let the slippery spectre escape without leaving some proof of its existence. Here’s the essential ghost-hunting kit the modern-day ghostbuster will need to load on their smartphone.