News Article

A Guide to Halloween in London

Happy Halloween! 

A brief history of Halloween 

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, a time when the boundary between the living and the dead was believed to be thin. People lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off roaming spirits. Most assume that Halloween comes from North America, but it actually comes from what we now call Ireland, the UK, and Northern France.

In the 8th century, the Catholic Church established All Saints' Day on November 1st and All Souls' Day on November 2nd, as a way to Christianise the pagan Samhain. All Hallows' Eve, the night before All Saints' Day, eventually became Halloween. 

Irish and Scottish immigrants brought Halloween traditions to North America in the 19th century. Over time, it evolved into the holiday we know today, with activities like trick-or-treating, costume parties, and decorations. Halloween has become a blend of ancient Celtic beliefs, European traditions, and American customs, celebrated with enthusiasm around the world.  

So how do Londoners spend Halloween?  

Firstly, there’s no pressure to do anything. After all it is reading week for some, so don’t forget to look after yourself and catch up on anything you missed. But if you are looking for something to do, we have compiled a list of fun suggestions.  


Walking tours 

Walking tours are some of the best ways to celebrate Halloween in London. These tours provide an opportunity to embrace the macabre and unearth the hidden, often unsettling, stories that have left their mark on London's past. Here are some of our favourites: 

Jack The Ripper is one of the most famous serial killers in London or even in the United Kingdom. This tour  takes you through his slashing ground, London’s Victorian East End, where he has left a haunted history of murders and terror. This tour runs daily, so if you already have plans you can always return to this! 

The world famous London Ghost Walk sets off in to the night and takes you on a spine-chilling walk through the alleyways and passageways of the City of London to seek out the many places where ghosts are known to lurk.  


Movie Night  

Throughout October The Garden Cinema in Covent Garden are celebrating cinema of the eldritch and condemned, with a macabre Members’ choice screening, a selection of creepy classics. Click here to view their screenings.  

If you’re into horror films, we recommend TimeOut’s List of Halloween Screenings which can direct you to Everyman Cinema’s and Prince Charles’ lists of scary movies.  


Club nights 

If you’re looking for an excuse to dress up, why don’t you step into the mysterious and enchanting world of "The Halloween Rave 2023" at The Steel Yard in the heart of London, brought to you by King's College London Student’s Union & Lowercase Events. Links to tickets can be found here

Don’t forget to check out  EventBrite’s list of Halloween events for more options.  


A quiet night in? 

As always, your well-being and comfort should always come first, so do what feels right for you this Halloween. It's a time to enjoy and have fun in your own way. Whether that be carving pumpkins with some friends or maybe you  don’t want to celebrate, either way the decision is entirely yours.  







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