Australia is slowly coming around to that most American of holidays, Halloween. Trick-or-treating is on the rise, costume shops are selling out of novelty Scream masks and some of the country’s coolest venues are getting on board. Here’s where to go for a frightful time this Halloween.
Halloscream 4: Return of the Forgotten Funfair
Luna Park is holding its carnival of horrors over four nights this year. The theme is “abandoned amusement park” and you can expect creepy entertainments such as the scary trick-or-treat trail, the Fortress of Fear and encounters with the walking “undead”. Be a guest of the Dead and Breakfast or get a new look at the Mutant Beauty Salon.
Luna Park Sydney, Milson’s Point; October 28-31.
Dare to be Scared
They say the old Manly Quarantine Station is haunted by the unfortunate souls who died there back in Sydney’s early European settlement. That notion seems ridiculous by day, but would you care to take a tour of the site at night? On Halloween? Test your mettle on the Quarantine Station’s Dare to be Scared Halloween tour – they won’t make it easy for you. Dressing up encouraged.
Manly Quarantine Station; October 28-30.
The bronzed limbs of Sydneysiders have turned pallid and grey for six years running for the Sydney Zombie Walk. The city’s undead gather at Belmore Park near Central Station and drag their decaying limbs across the city to Hyde Park, much to the horror of all who view them. The awful spectacle is in aid of the Brain Foundation and it’s free to join in. Register online to join in. Handy hint from Zombie Walk organisers: red food dye mixed with chocolate sauce makes great blood.
Dinner is served at the Sydney Zombie Walk. Image supplied.
Belmore Park near Central Station, Sydney; October 29 at 3pm.
Lithgow Halloween ’16
To the west of Sydney on the edge of the Blue Mountains is Lithgow, a place traditionally known for coalmining, the Zig Zag Railway and also its proximity to the Jenolan Caves. Come Halloween, though, the city is overtaken by “grizzly ghouls from every tomb… closing in to seal your doom!” Yes, that last sentence was from Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit Thriller. It’s only appropriate, given the festival culminates with an attempt at a national record for the largest number of people in costume doing the Thriller dance.
Attendees at Lithgow's Halloween '15 were dressed to the nines. Image supplied.
Other attractions include Australia’s biggest trick-or-treat lolly grab, rides, a Halloween fashion parade, a skull auction in the library and a Vivid-style light display. Click the link for details – including a Thriller dance tutorial by Michael Jackson impersonator Jason Jackson, who’ll be leading the dance-off on the day.
Jason Jackson doing his Thriller thing. Image supplied.
Main Street, Lithgow; October 29, from 4pm.
Spooktober Halloween Festival
The grounds of St Kilda Town Hall are transformed into a Halloween amusement park for Spooktober. There’s a trick-or-treat trail, costume competitions (with prizes!), a Haunted Manor House, a Haunted Asylum, plus lots of scary-but-not-too-scary games and activities. On-site food trucks provide nourishment and there’s a Spooky Bar for anyone who needs a little Dutch courage. Tickets can be purchased online.
St Kilda is transformed into a Halloween wonderland. Image supplied.
St Kilda Town Hall, 99A Carlisle Street, St Kilda; 28-31 October.
Fang Halloween Ball
Beneath Flinders Station, a series of disused and allegedly very haunted tunnels are transformed into the venue for Melbourne’s spookiest Halloween ball. Featuring DJs, live bands, costume competitions and Halloween-themed drinks.
Vault 8, Banana Alley, Melbourne; October 31.
An hour-and-a-half out of Melbourne is Mitchelton Winery, the cellars of which serve as the setting for Hallowine. This is a Halloween party in which your goblet will never be empty, with Mitchelton wines and Peroni beer in abundance. The theme is “dreamscapes”, which is explored in various fantastically decorated rooms. The dress code is “dazed, crazed and decadent”. Tickets are available online.
Glamorous attendees at last year's Hallowine party. Image supplied.
Mitchelton Winery, 470 Mitchellstown Road, Mitchellstown; 22-23 October 7pm – late.
Adelaide Gaol Halloween Horror Party
“Run and hide.” This is the advice from Adelaide Gaol for anyone who chooses to take part in its extremely scary game of hide and seek. If guests manage to make it through the House of Horrors alive, there is delicious food from Cheesy Street, Fat Ford and Papas Hotdogs and DJ Felicity Aukett on the decks.
The Champagne treatment at Adelaide Gaol. Image supplied.
Thebarton; 29 October, 8pm-2am.
Free Flicks for Kids
Spooky fun can be had at Northbridge Piazza this Halloween with free screenings of creepy classics for kids on Saturdays, including the David Bowie spectacular The Labyrinth, the original 1984 Ghostbusters and animated favourite Hotel Transylvania 2. Check the website for times.
Lake Street and James Street, Northbridge; Saturdays in October, 5:30pm.
Turning Tricks Live on Halloween
Magician Pete Booth and “mentalist” Sean Mergard explore the tricks of the trade of clairvoyants and mediums in this fascinating show. They’ll teach the audience how to convince people they’re psychic – and how to convincingly raise the dead. Magic, comedy and Jack the Ripper? Sounds like a ripper Halloween. Tickets are available here.
Amerex Warehouse, 2 Staple Street, Seventeen Mile Rocks; 18 and 29 October.
SEE ALSO: What’s on in October 2016