From ghostly treats to scary make-up and virtual haunted tours, it is frightening just how much fun you can have
Halloween house parties are off the menu and trick or treaters staying off the streets, but there’s no need to howl about it, there are still plenty of ways to embrace the seasonal spirit and have a spook-tacular time this week, without even setting foot outside.
Go ghost hunting
Loftus Hall is said to be the most haunted house in Ireland. Legend has it that on a stormy night in the 1700s a mysterious visitor came to the house and was welcomed in by Lady Anne Tottenham. One evening during a card game, a card dropped to the floor and, as Lady Anne bent to pick it up, she began to scream in terror after seeing the cloven hoofs of the stranger under the table...worse followed... This year, Paranormal Researchers Ireland are running a live stream paranormal investigation inside Loftus Hall with access available online for Friday, Saturday and Sunday for €9.99; see loftushall.ie
Conjure up a healthy Halloween feast
Treats don’t always have to mean sweets. From ghostly severed fingers and quick pizza mummy toasts, Aileen Cox Blundell (aka @BabyLedFeeding) has plenty of gruesomely good grub ideas on her website babyledfeeding.com — and will be sharing ‘how to’ videos this week. Or check out thecoolfoodschool.ie — running a healthy Halloween treats kids cooking class (ages 7+) on zoom Tuesday and Thursday; tickets €10.
Tour haunted Dublin at home
This Friday and Saturday sees Alternative Dublin host ‘Dark Dublin: Halloween Special’ — an interactive walking tour hosted by master tour guide Ciaran Behan. With tales of murder, mystery, grave robbers, witches and much more, you’ll be lead through the back cobbled streets of the city in a spine-chilling virtual tour lasting an hour and 30 minutes. Tickets €12.50 per household; see alternativedublincity.com
Pump up your pumpkin game
Forget just carving a toothy grin, Emma O’Grady (@TheCraftyMum.ie) has plenty of gourd ideas to get the most out of your pumpkin play. “Cut the base off the pumpkin and not the top, then the pumpkin top doesn’t cave in and you get longer out of it,” she reveals, adding that spraying with Milton and a mix of peppermint oil, soap and water also helps longevity. Try painting and using masking tape with little ones (no sharp knives) or pegging (see her Instagram for details) which is not only fun for kids but also great for fine motor skills.
Have Eternal night terrors
Suitable for over-18s only, Eternal is a chilling immersive audio experience running as part of the Bram Stoker Festival. All you need is a charged phone with Wi-Fi and pair of headphones, then get into your bed — but will you ever sleep again? Tickets cost €5 plus €1 booking fee with the event running at various times from Friday. See bramstokerfestival.com
Borrow a trick from the Easter bunny
Door-to-door sweet collecting might be cancelled for 2020 but take a tip from the Easter bunny and have a torch-lit Halloween hunt in the garden for hidden treats (and a few spooky surprises).
Tune into the Halloween spirit with a home-grown podcast
Youngsters will love sinking their teeth into child-friendly scary tales from Uncle Vlad the Vampire on RTÉjr’s newly launched Spooky FM. Older listeners thirsty for more blood-curdling content should check out The Creep Dive’s podcast on A Guest Ghost Story and The Haunted Spots of Dublin where Jen O’Dwyer, Sophie White and Cassie Delaney discuss close encounters with the other side and tips on how to ward off evil spirits.
Create a frighteningly good face
The results are hellishly good, but with no expensive products and using household items like food colour and oil AND free, the Live SFX make-up tutorials being hosted online this Wednesday and Thursday by Angel Hair and Makeup (angelhairandmakeup.ie) will feel heaven sent for parents trying to occupy kids during lockdown and midterm. For those looking to perfect a more bewitching look, check out KeilidhCashell (@KeilidhMua) for some freakishly good make-up inspiration or Laura Broderick (@laurab_mua), who has just launched a three-week course featuring Halloween body painting.
Raise neighbourhood spirits
For millennia we’ve believed that loud noises and bright lights can ward off evil spirits. In a year that’s been more scary than most, why not mix a centuries-old tradition with a new one by using your neighbourhood Whatsapp group to arrange a time to come out on your doorsteps (like clap for carers only this time maybe howl for Halloween?) and check out everyone else’s fancy dress at a safe distance.
Do the Monster Mash
Tune into Halloween FM and for some wickedly good music perfect for an at home Halloween disco. The station is also running competitions every day (with thecostumeshop.ie) for vouchers.
Cross into another dimension
Adventurers will create toxic elixirs in the kitchen, compose demon-wooing poems and dress as dimension-surfing heroes to break the ancient curse threatening civilisation in Curse Hunters. The interactive game (running online from Friday to Monday as part of the Bram Stoker Festival) is aimed at six- to 11-year-olds and can be played on a phone or tablet anywhere. The event is free but tickets are limited, see bramstokerfestival.com for more details.
Grown-up gamers should check out The Kracken’s Revenge for a chance to lead Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon around a treacherous ocean fortress in a terrifying real life game running as part of Screamfest IV. Tickets €10; see eventbrite.com for tickets and @krackenrumirl for more details on the scarily good event.
Bury your head in a ghoulishly good book
Una Woods’ new book, Have You Seen The Dublin Vampire, is a fangtastic read for little ones who will love hopping on-board the ghost bus, or take them on a trip to The Dead Zoo in Peter Donnell latest classic. Kennys.ie have up to 21pc off several Halloween titles including spooky sticker and wipe-clean activity books, plus reductions on adult horror classics. The Gutter Bookshop is also operating a click-and-collect system, while library members can access eBooks at librariesireland.ie
Embrace the craft
You can’t have Halloween without a few homemade decorations, but don’t worry parents, it doesn’t have to be labour intensive or leave the kitchen looking like a crime scene. Leaves gathered in the garden or on a walk, painted white and given faces make scarily cute ghost garlands (see thefamilyedit.ie for full details and more ideas) and check out Sadhbh Devlin’s work at wherewishescomefrom.com for egg box beasties and simple but effective creepy crayons.