Sunday 22 September 2019

From the Nightmare Realm to Scream Park - 9 things to do this Halloween

Bram Stoker Festival
Bram Stoker Festival

Chris Wasser

Halloween tends to bring out the child in most of us, and this year, Dublin has lots of super-scary – and some frightfullly funny – days and nights out to celebrate the holiday, writes Chris Wasser

Light up those pumpkins, lads: it’s that time of year again. A time to trick; a time to treat. A time to dress up as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, without anyone notifying the police. That’s the joy of Hallowe’en — it’s not just for kids. It might even be more fun for the adults. And, it’s bigger than ever.

Don’t believe us? Well, then, you might want to flick through our Halloween horror guide to the best treats, blow-outs and freaky cultural events happening in, around and up the road from the capital over the next week. Things may get scary — we may even use the word “spooktacular”. Brace yourselves…


A “gloriously gothic” weekend! Four nights of “deadly adventures!” Treats for everyone, from “mini monsters to frightful fear seekers”! We could keep going, you know. Now in its sixth year, the annual Bram Stoker Festival sets up shop in the capital from today, celebrating the vision and legacy of Dublin-born Gothic writer, Mr Bram Stoker, aka, the man behind Dracula.

We’re spoiled for choice, with more than 25 events on the table. When the sun’s up, why not take the family to Stokerland — a pop-up Victorian fun park — in St Patrick’s Park? The little ones might also dig the Supernatural Choir over at The Ark in Temple Bar on Sunday afternoon.

bram stoker festival 2.jpg
Bram Stoker Festival

After the sun goes down, well, that’s when things get super dark — and super awesome. Horror Expo Ireland, at Freemasons’ Hall on Molesworth Street, should please fans of the horror genre, with a host of screenings, Q&As and SFX demonstrations lined up for Sunday and Monday. The Dracula Screening Party at the Light House cinema tonight (tickets €12) is certainly worth a trip, too (it’s the Gary Oldman version).

Of course, it’s the big gig that has everyone excited. Turning Vampire Mixtape at Vicar Street on Sunday night (tickets €31.50), with Lisa Hannigan, Paddy Casey, Wyvern Lingo, Saint Sister and Niamh Farrell of HamsandwicH, to name but a few, joining forces for an evening of scary songs. They might play Thriller; they’ll probably do the Ghostbusters theme. Tenner bets they’ll give us Monster Mash. It’s gonna to be ace.

The Bram Stoker Festival runs citywide until Monday. For a full line-up of events and tickets prices, visit


What a name. Another family-friendly Halloween event, touching down around the Irishtown, Ringsend and the Docklands area this weekend, is the inaugural Dockers & Demons Festival, which promises “strange and spooky things” aplenty. For a start, there’s only a bloody Ghost Ship docking at Charlotte Quay this evening. Watch out for the ‘White Demon’ and ‘Banshee Puppet’, both of whom will be emerging from said ship at 6.30pm (we are not making this up). Workshops, historical tours and a Dockers & Demons Parade are all part of the fun. See you at the Demons Party…

dockers demons.JPG
Dockers & Demons

Runs until Tuesday, October 31. For more information,



Why not take a spin out to Ashbourne for a spot of Halloween madness at everyone’s favourite theme park? You’ve got a couple of options here. There’s the Morbid Manor attraction, which is about as creepy as it sounds. An abandoned manor, a spot of pure evil, night rides on the park’s biggest attractions, a scary carnival and a 5D horror flick await teenagers and their parents (if they’re brave enough — it’s suitable for ages 14+).

Halloween at Tayto Park

And then there’s the Ghost Hunters season, for the little ones (ages 6+). We’re told that the Spectral Forces Investigation Unit (very clever, folks) is hiring. Do your kids have what it takes to solve the spooky mysteries of Ghost Mansion? They’ll also have free Halloween-themed face-painting and arts and crafts. Oh, and they’ve got a carnival, too. Sorted.

Morbid Manor runs daily until Monday, October 30, at 7.30pm–11pm. Tickets: €30. Ghost Hunter runs from Saturday, October 28–Sunday, November 5  from 12pm–4pm. Tickets: €6 per person or included with wristband purchase. Children under 12, wearing full Halloween costumes, go free into Tayto Park on Tuesday, October 31 (terms and conditions apply). For more, visit


A new family event, custom-made for Halloween, the Samhain Tours & Tales season is exactly as it sounds, featuring a stadium treasure hunt (you’ll have to try and find someone called ‘Seamus the Samhain Scarecrow’, and his Harvest treasure) and storytelling performances courtesy of

Seanchai Eddie Lenihan, who might have a few fairy and ghost yarns up his sleeve.

Oh, and the Museum’s Blackthorn Cafe will be serving up a special Harvest Menu for families. Yes, they’ve got delicious pumpkin soup on the menu...

Saturday, October 28–Wednesday, November 1 at 5pm, 6pm & 7pm. Tickets: €16 (adults)/€12 (children)/€50 (family). For more, visit


What is ‘The Nightmare Realm’, you ask? Why, it is “an extreme walk-through horror event preying on your deepest fears and nightmares and twisting them into a deadly reality”. Straight from the horse’s mouth, that one. So, yeah, it’s a scare attraction. It’s a haunted house. It’s not for small children, basically.

nightmare realm.jpg
The Nightmare Realm. PIC: Mark Stedman

Terrifying audiences in both Cork (Kennedy Quay) and Dublin (RDS, Ballsbridge), the aim here is for participants to step into their own horror movie, featuring Hollywood-quality props, prosthetics and effects.

Honestly, it looks and sounds pretty darn freaky. You’ve been warned.

Running at the RDS, Dublin and Kennedy Quay, Cork until November 5. Ticket prices vary, with adult tickets ranging from €19-€28. For more, visit


The clue is in the title: the Farmaphobia Scream Park at Causey Farm, Co Meath, features five different ‘haunt experiences’. One of them involves vampires (the Vamporium). Another, the Field of Screams, is basically a maze in which participants are chased by chainsaw-wielding, hillbilly cannibals (lovely). And then there’s the, er, House of Dolls. Do we really need to tell you what that one entails? Didn’t think so. Best of luck, folks... 

Running until Tuesday, October 31. Tickets: €20/€32. For more, visit


Another winning Halloween title, that. We don’t need an excuse to visit Dublin Zoo, but hey, it’s the mid-term holidays, and the zoo has only gone and organised a series of creepy arts and crafts, “spine-chilling” keeper talks and a spot of face-painting. It has even thrown in a bit of “monster music”. Sold.

Tuesday, October 31. Zoo tickets: €17.50 (adult)/€13 (child). For opening times and more, visit


The Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company returns to Dublinia for their annual Hallowe’en performance. Basically, it’s a show about the Black Death, it features a gang of “medieval Dublin chancers” and it sort of takes place in a graveyard. An absurd and supernatural theatre experience, for sure. Thankfully, it’s suitable for all ages…

Saturday, October 28–Friday, November 3. Performances running every 15 minutes, from 12pm–1pm and 2pm-4pm. Dublinia Tickets: €9.50 (adult)/€6 (child)/€25 (family). For more, visit


Al Porter’s Camp Dracula, a comedy show based on Bram Stoker’s most famous character, takes place on October 29, at 19.30pm and 21.30pm at 22 South Anne St, D2

Read more: 20 of the best events to keep you and the kids busy during the mid-term  


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