From Dracula, Haunted Forests and Harry Potter to a Czech Bone Church, Game of Thrones and the current horror show in British Parliament, we put the best of Halloween in your pocket!
Discovering the ‘Real’ Dracula in Brasov
Does it get any more cliché than listing Dracula’s Castle first on our list of spooky Halloween cities? No, no it does not. But at the end of the day you’ve got to give the people what they want, and apparently what they want is myths, legends and other nonsense that’s only loosely based on actual historical facts. The infamous 15th century Wallachian ruler Vlad the Impaler was a bad dude. Did he grow fangs and suck people’s blood? Or turn into a bat so he could watch Brasov FC’s home matches without having to buy a ticket? Maybe, who knows. But what’s indisputable even in the era of fake news is that Bran Castle is one of Romania’s top tourist draws for a reason, even if that reason is kind of bullsh*t, and there’s no better time to visit than during Halloween. Located in the south of Transylvania, Brasov is a 3-hour or so drive north of Bucharest, while the famed castle of Bran is some 30km out of town.
The Bone Church near Prague
With the iconic photos of Charles Bridge covered in fog and mist, it should be no surprise that Prague appears on our list of spooky cities. However, as much as we love the Czech capital, the real star of the Halloween show here is the famed Bone Church of Kutna Hora. Never heard of Kutna Hora? That’s exactly why the title about says “Prague” rather than “Kutna Hora”! For the record the the so-called Bone Church itself is actually officially named the Cemetery Church of All Saints with Ossuary, but this is 2019 and people’s attention spans run about 1.5 seconds, so branding it the Bone Church will make you approximately 666% more likely to click on any of those links and perhaps even visit the place, which is found a scant 75km or so due east of Prague and is easily reached by public transport.
Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland
We’re proud to admit that we’ve never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, but from what we’ve seen on the internet it’s quite a popular hit involving all kinds of medieval orgies, deaths, incest and dragons – all four of which are quite scary, and thus have earned Belfast and Northern Ireland a place on our spooky Halloween list. So if you’re a GoT aficionado, then you’ll certainly want to check out an article about Game of Thrones Tours from our local office up north, and immerse yourself in the world of Westeros on specialty tours covering the award-winning series’ iconic Northern Irish filming locations. From old growth forests to wild sea cliffs, craggy beaches to crumbling medieval ruins, no stone is left unturned in these epic experiences. Four daily tours depart from Belfast, Derry and Dublin, with a fifth joining the Winterfell coach tour for a two mile trek through Tollymore Forest Park.
Joburg’s Haunted Forest
If you love Halloween, but wish it took place in spring rather than autumn, than we’ve got some good news for you: the end of October is springtime in the southern hemisphere, including the vibrant city of Johannesburg in South Africa! The best way to spend Halloween in Joburg? At the city’s biggest Halloween party of course – the Haunted Forest! Now in its fourth year The Haunted Forest® is a two-day, larger-than-life Halloween festival which features a dramatic 3km haunted forest walk (populated by terrifyingly realistic actors who have escaped from the nearby Haunted House, which you can also visit), a large food village and picnic area, a professional make-up lounge where you can be transformed into the most petrifying Halloween character, open-air film screenings led by The Bioscope cinema of classic horror films plus Halloween-themed picnic baskets and the chance to do a photoshoot in your costume to remember the occasion.
Harry Potter in Edinburgh
If there’s one thing that scares the pants off us, it’s the thought of a bespeckled boy wizard running amok and wreaking all manner of havoc with his equally mischievous buddies. That’s right, we don’t know the first thing about Harry Potter, but our local Edinburgh editor and her friend Travel Kat are something of experts, and have put together an incredible guide for any and all Potterheads visiting Scotland! Because let’s be honest, Halloween is really for the children, and from what we’ve heard kids can’t get enough of this Harry Potter fellow. On the other hand if we were to spend this or any Halloween in Edinburgh, we’d almost surely find ourselves on a whisky tour, because, well, when in Scotland, right?
A Real Horrorshow in Parliament (London)
This year there’s nothing scarier in all of Europe than the absolute horrorshow currently transpiring in London’s Houses of Parliament – albeit in a laughably over the top campy John Waters kind of way. What’s more is the fact that the “do or die” deadline proclaimed by the esteemed prime minister, His Excellency Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, is none other than Halloween itself, 31 October. Will the UK actually crash out of the EU with no deal at the end of the month? Will the cartoonish prime minister be forced to beg for yet another extension from Brussels, as a recently passed law clearly requires him to do? Will David Cameron and Ashton Kutcher come flying down a tandem zipline at 30 seconds to midnight and let everyone know that they’ve been punk’d? We’ve obviously got no clue and neither does anyone else. But what’s for sure is that there will be plenty more tricks and treats before this whole Brexit mess is finished.