From Gothic catwalks to Day of the Dead carnivals and a Vevo party, don’t miss this fiendish five
Manchester’s never been shy or retiring when it comes to Halloween, with the last couple of years easily the most bloodcurdling yet.
Last year saw the city’s first ten-day Halloween festival, but 2017 goes one more with an additional ‘Halloweekend’ and even a pop-up shop on King Street.
This year witnesses both the return of popular classics like Vevo Halloween and Illuminaughty, and some sinister new additions: from dining in the dark at Rosso to a wizards’ bar and a jaw-dropping Mexican-inspired fiesta.
Get your claws into this lot…
HALLOWEEN IN THE CITY & HALLOWEEKEND | Citywide | 21 – 31 October
Following its successful 2016 debut, Manchester BID has cooked up another calendar of frights and delights for Halloween in the City 2017: from a Bongo’s Bingo special with Fatman Scoop to a Stranger Things eighties party and a family-friendly Halloweekend. There’ll be frightful films aplenty - from an immersive Night of the Living Dead screening to a Victoria Baths pop-up and a drive-in cinema at A J Bell Stadium - while, come nightfall, pumpkins line the streets and Manchester’s most iconic buildings turn a ghastly green…
GOTHIC MANCHESTER FESTIVAL | Citywide | 24-29 October
From the quirkily dark animations of Tim Burton to the penny dreadfuls of Victorian Britain and some of Manchester’s most iconic architecture, nothing has permeated centuries of culture quite like the Gothic. MMU’s popular festival again returns to celebrate its diversity with everything from a free fashion show in Exchange Square - ‘devoted to extraordinary Goths and steampunks’ - to a Gravedance club night in Sacred Trinity Church and a Frankenstein double bill at The Dancehouse.
FESTIVAL OF THE DEAD | Bowlers Exhibition Centre| 27 October
Inspired by Mexico’s extravagant Day of the Dead, this series of sellout parties boasts giant skull processions, non-stop, jaw-dropping Cirque de Soleil-style performances - acrobats, circus performers, contortionists, fire breathers and more - plus an unrivalled carnival atmosphere and quality house, bass and garage soundtrack. Halloween’s episode, Chapter 2: ‘Limbo’, follows a triumphant event in January; taking the production values up even further. Day of the Dead costume recommended.
VEVO HALLOWEEN | Victoria Warehouse | 28 October
With a reputation as some of the biggest Halloween hosts of the year, Vevo have high standards to maintain - hence why this year’s lineup spans Rag ’n’ Bone man to Jonas Blue and JP Cooper. With a theme of ‘Other World,’ enter a place where reality and nightmares collide, and where creatures lurk in the shadows watching your every step… Tickets are very reasonably priced at £5, and are available via the DICE app. One massive party not enough? Other bangers include Monster Mash, Illuminaughty’s Underworld and The Warehouse Project.
ROSSO AFTER DARK | King Street | 31 October
Forget paying a premium to dine in the dark, Rosso have their own version this Halloween - low lighting and a horror film screening while you dine on their fine Italian fare. As for what they’ll be showing, that’s still shrouded in mystery - and won’t be revealed ‘til the night - but we’re expecting a true nightmare on King Street. More info here.
It’s not the only restaurant to host a film screaming: WOOD Manchester has teamed up with local producer Didsbury Gin for a very special cinematic banquet featuring the Hitchcock thriller Psycho on Tuesday 31. Tickets are available for £39 per person by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.