Halloween is almost upon us – and although the day itself isn’t until next Wednesday, the weekend is the perfect opportunity to party day and night. See our bumper guide for details of everything that’s going on. Leading the way with city-wide celebrations is Halloween in the City, with a main stage in Exchange Square and a range of events across the weekend.
FilmFear also kicks off at HOME, screening a range of horror films in association with Film4. Other events include a Vampire Ball in the 17th century Sacred Trinity Church, a Ghostbusters 80s Halloween party at The Ruby Lounge, Queer Indie Alternative meets Anointed at Tribeca and an enormous Saved By The ‘90s Halloween Party (complete with a ‘Zombierobics’ session!) at The Deaf Institute.
There are family-friendly special celebrations in The Printworks Pump Yard Friday daytime, and on Saturday evening there’s a family Halloween party at the historic Manchester Central Library. And Dougieween brings a night of spooky comedy to The Kings Arms on Saturday.
But perhaps you want a refreshing break away from the spooky season? Featuring spirits of a different kind, Manchester Whisky Festival takes place inside the atmospheric Manchester Cathedral. Didsbury Beer Festival also takes place this weekend, now in its 11th year and serving up an array of drinks, street food and entertainment at St Catherine’s Social Club on School Lane.
Here are some more frightfully good events to sink your teeth into…
Halloween in the City
Halloween in the City brings an immersive weekend of events, activities, offers and enormous decorations across the city centre on Saturday and Sunday, with a main stage in Exchange Square. St Ann’s Square is also home to a unique Enchanted Forest, complete with pumpkin patch sensory play zone and plenty for families, whilst Market Street and Manchester Arndale will be packed with Halloween fun, too. Highlights from the largely free events on offer include a ‘ghostly world record attempt’ in Exchange Square on Saturday 1pm-3pm – just pre-register and dress up as a bedsheet ghost. Both days also see Junkyard Golf Club bring their Fun of the FEARground course to Market Street and The Strolling Bones will be popping up in unexpected places. And don’t miss Sunday’s spooky pooch costume show, a dog show with a difference on the main stage in Exchange Square on Sunday 1pm-3pm. Halloween in the City is brought to Manchester by Manchester BID (Business Improvement District) which works with partners, retailers and cultural venues to celebrate a great big Halloween festival.
Draigcon – Harry Potter Fan Convention
An independent Harry Potter Fan convention, DraigCon is coming to Victoria Warehouse on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm – ideal for all you muggles out there! Meet actors from the films, enjoy photo opportunities, stalls and talks – with dressing up encouraged, of course. Special guests include Sally Mortemore (aka the Hogwarts librarian), Stan Yanevski (aka Viktor Krum), and Harry Potter’s very own dad, James – played in the films by Adrian Rawlins. Guests can enjoy Q&A panels from the cast and crew of the films (and get autographs signed), prop displays, mini exhibitions, and special food and drinks offers. The event follows on from a successful DraigCon earlier this year at The Printworks, where the convention launched their Manchester ‘Socks for Dobby’ appeal, collecting socks for the city’s homeless – with over 1,000 pairs gathered. ‘Socks for Dobby’ will carry on at the Victoria Warehouse event, just leave donations under the Dobby statue. Some tickets for Draigcon are still available online – but hurry, as it is set to be popular. Join Potter fans from across the world – just be sure to remember your wand!
The Witches at Victoria Baths
Watch a family-friendly creepy classic inside the historic location of Manchester’s Grade II listed Victoria Baths this Saturday. Events company The Village Screen are bringing an immersive showing of The Witches (PG) to this beautiful building, with doors at 4.30pm, film beginning at 6.30pm. There will also be Halloween tunes, delightfully dark decorations, delicious street food opportunities and a bar for the adults, too. Tickets must be be booked in advance.