Also known as the eve of All Saints’ Day, the night of 31 October strikes terror into the hearts of young and old! Halloween can be traced back to the pagan festival of Samhain, marking the end of summer and the harvest season. It was believed that on that night the door between this world and the next was open, allowing spirits to pass through and the distinction between the living and dead became blurred. Eek! Sounds terrifying? Well, imagine all the neighbourhood children filled up to their ears with sugary sweeties!
If you’re scared of the idea of your crazed children careering round the streets demanding treats, why not plump for some more organised fun. We’ve found some great Halloween activities in and around Portsmouth.
1. Portsmouth Spook-tastic Dockyard, 20–28 October
There are plenty of terrifying activities at the Historic Dockyards this Halloween. Acquire a prosthetic wound, make a mask and go on a trick or treat trail. For those older and braver, an evening discovering the legend of Jack the Painter could leave you a gibbering wreck…
2. Haunted Halloween Ghost Tours – Groundlings Theatre, 31 October
With ten friendly ghosts resident at this old Portsmouth building, you’ll sure to be looking over your shoulder during one of their ghost tours. Available for either families or grown-ups, actors will take you on a journey through the Georgian building, via classrooms, secret passages and hidden doors. If you dare!
3. Fright Night at Funlands Hayling Island, 27 October
Take to the rides at Hayling’s amusement park for a special evening of fright and terror! Hayling’s haunted hospital maze will certainly stop you sleeping for a week. The evening will end with a firework display. Dress up, stick together and be afraid.
4. Rogate Pumpkin Patch, 20–28 October
Halloween wouldn’t be the same without a massive orange vegetable illuminating your house. If you’re able to go a bit further afield, take a trip to Rogate Pumpkin Patch to grab your prize pumpkin! While you are there you can enjoy pumpkin fun – pumpkin smashing, pumpkin skittles and pumpkin slinging.
5. Monsters Week, Blue Reef Aquarium, 20–28 October
There’s a whole range of spooky fun to be had at the popular Blue Reef Aquarium on Southsea’s seafront. How scary are sharks? What makes the cute little rockpool dwellers actually quite deadly? Find out about the Aquarium’s residents as well as having a go at making your own monster slime.
Are you scared yet?
WORDS: Liz Bourne