Soon, we expect to see ghostly spirits haunting our streets, zombies chasing after our brains, and an assortment of blood-thirsty vampires, cackling witches and meandering mummies asking for… treats? Yes, Halloween in Bristol returns. And with it comes a spooktacular splattering of harrowing holiday celebrations. From giant poppets to pumpkin patches, discovering the wandering Bristol’s terrifying streets to heading to the cinema for some B-movie horror, Bristol’s Halloween season is jam-packed with lots of terrifyingly exciting activities. Of course, you can’t do everything, but so to help you decide we’ve rounded up the very best things to do in Bristol this Halloween.
1. Pick your very own pumpkin
Before you do anything else on Halloween (even before dressing up!) you have to pick your own pumpkin to carve. Luckily, there are a number of local Bristol pumpkin patches nearby. Many of these are open to the public for the entire month of October, so there’s no excuse not being prepared this year. We suggest maybe picking up a couple, however, just in case your jack-o’-lantern carving skills aren’t quite up to scratch.
2. Enjoy haunting Halloween harmonies at this candlelight concert
On October 30, a talented string quartet will string together a concert of haunting Halloween musical classics in The Mount Without. Expect everything from Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, to twisted versions of classical numbers. Keep your ears out for some eerily familiar theme tunes too, such as Edward Scissorhands and Psycho. The 65-minute show will be held by candlelight too, so don’t be surprised if the music summons some spirits too. Get your tickets by heading here.
3. Witness Wake The Tiger’s Halloween makeover
Wake The Tiger, the kaleidoscopic amazement park, has captured many a Bristolian’s imagination since launching earlier this year. Now on the Friday (October 28) before Halloween, it will transform into the adults-only Halloween party, Danse Macabre. Hosting thrilling performers, exciting games, and high energy live bands and DJs, you are invited to embrace the fragility of life and dance the night away.
4. Watch blood-curdling horror classics at the former Bristol IMAX
Big screams need a big cinema screen. And from October 28 to 30, Forbidden Worlds Film Festival will take over the former Bristol IMAX for the biggest screams ever this Halloween. The three-day horror-themed film festival will feature a mixture of Halloween classics and bizarre curios. The programme celebrates titles such as Sam Raimi’s horror-comedy Evil Dead II; John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween; and cult favourite Fright Night. Other films showing include Bride of Frankenstein, The Tingler, The Boxer’s Omen, Wolf Guy and The Slumber Party Massacre. Weekend and day passes are available now.
5. Go monster hunting on Bedminster’s Halloween trail
One for the children. A total of 20 businesses have formed a Halloween trail in Bedminster this October. Spot a monster in a shop window and you can collect a gruesome sticker. Maps for the trail are available in the participating shops too, to make sure all those terrifying creatures are caught. The local businesses taking part in this year’s Halloween Trail include Farahway Cafe, No Frills Knitting, Trylla, Five Acre Farm Shop, North Street Cheese Company, Southville Deli and Occasion Cakes. To see a full list of participating shops head here.
6. Join the monstrous lantern carnival through the city centre
On October 30, everything from ghost ships to giant spiders will take to Bristol’s city centre. Illuminated giant puppets will lead a parade from Broadmead to King Street for Bump In The Night. Organised by Lamp Lighter Arts and with support from Bristol City Centre BID, there are also family-friendly craft workshops to bring people’s imaginations to life as these spooky puppets. Each puppet will reflect a part of Bristol’s history. The parade will start at 5pm, but you can join a lantern-making workshop beforehand here.
7. Party in a former torpedo testing factory
The former torpedo testing factory, Propyard, is hosting a Halloween party in Bristol on October 29. Club Blanco is returning to its two warehouse rooms, with gruesome and groovy music from DJs Avalon Emerson, Job Jobse and DJ Budino, alongside a brain-eating AV show. Fancy dress isn’t enforced, but it’s Halloween in Bristol! You know you have to.
8. Explore the wicked and witchy depths of Wookey Hole
The nearby Wookey Hole was once well-known for being the home of a witch. Anything that went wrong in the local village was blamed on her. That is until, according to local legend, the people had enough. The villagers asked the help of a monk from Glastonbury who turned her to stone in the caves with Holy Water, where she still remains. This year, from October 22 to 30, visitors are invited to enter the caves if they dare – although we expect more treats than tricks at this special withiching week at Wookey Hole. Tickets are £19.95 per adult, £16.45 per child, and children under three go free, and can be bought here.
9. Step aboard the haunted SS Great Britain
It’s time to take a trip back in time to 19th century Halloween. Throughout half-term, visitors to the SS Great Britain can discover ancient customs of All Hallow’s Eve. Some of which are still enjoyed today, such as telling ghost stories and eating treats – which dates back to pre-Christian traditions. Halloween parties of the past were just as full with fun and games, including bobbing for apples! Back in the 19th century, however, turnips were traditionally used as jack o’ lanterns – and the ship will be illuminated with a Terrifying Turnip Trail. On October 29 and 30, visitors are invited for some extra special ghoulish fun!
10. Face your fears at Avon Valley Scream Park
Saving the scariest for last. FEAR at Avon Valley Scream Park is possibly the most terrifying event happening on Halloween in Bristol. The award winning funfair has taken over Avon Valley near Keynsham for several thrilling nights of terror until October 31. Expect an insane fire show, thrilling funfair rides, and terrifying entertainment. Nowhere is safe as you wander around as demon clowns and ghoulish monsters lurk around every corner. Not for the faint of heart. See here for specific details.