Film screenings in an empty swimming pool, an underworld-themed festival and even Bongo’s Bingo
Stuck for inspiration this Halloween? Look no further: we’ve rounded up Manchester’s best bloodcurdling events, from legendary parties to ‘Halloweekend’ and some extra surprises besides.
THE VILLAGE SCREEN | Victoria Baths | 25-27 October
The Village Screen specialises in pop-up events at unlikely occasions - so it’s unsurprising Victoria Baths is a firm favourite. After all, where else can you watch movies in an empty swimming pool - in a Grade II* listed Edwardian building to boot? They’ll be returning to the baths for a three-day fright fest this October; with classics including Jaws, The Lost Boys and The Witches. The Village Screen’s resident DJ will be spinning spooky hits beforehand, and there’ll be street food and bar on-hand too.
Other film events worth checking out include Countess, based on the true story of Hungarian aristocrat ‘Elizabeth Bathory’ (who murdered 650 women for the sake of her vanity, blimey), Grimmfest’s tenth anniversary and HOME's Film Fear season.
ILLUMINAUGHTY | Bowlers | Friday 26 October
When it comes to event production, IllumiNaughty is in a league of its own - last year’s Underworld event saw more than 4000 people, with some even travelling from mainland Europe to experience the notorious ‘alternative universe.’ This year sees the culmination of the four-year series, as the storyline unfolds across four immersive themed rooms: will the Queen of the Damned reign supreme? DJs including Astrix, Bad Company and Benji Webbe will take to the stage alongside fire breathers, contortionists and stilt walkers while (naturally) there’ll be a funfair too.
HALLOWEEN IN THE CITY | Citywide | 27-28 October
Manchester BID has cooked up another calendar of frights and delights for this year’s Halloween in the City: from a ghostly world record attempt to Dracula-themed ballet and a séance at Royal Exchange. Elsewhere, there’ll be an evening of ghost stories at Ordsall Hall, a children’s trick or treat trail throughout the city, doggy dressing up and the annual green illuminations.
BONGO'S BINGO | Albert Hall | Tuesday 30 October
Let’s face it, Bongo’s Bingo is pretty mad anyway. So we’re expecting this Halloween version, promising an ‘extra dose of magic and mayhem’, to be especially bonkers. Fuse ODG - the Afrobeat and hip-hop phenomenon behind collaborations like Light It Up with Major Lazer and Nyla, and Feels Like Home with Sigala - returns as special guest, and there’ll be more fancy dress than you can shake a huge inflatable toy at (one of Bongo’s typical prizes).
It’s not the only alternative event this All Hallows. Naked Productions will be hosting an audio experience at underground venue The Brickworks - two levels below Deansgate - while Quarry Bank Mill be serving up a murder mystery dinner and the Crystal Maze will be transformed into the Blood Baron's 'Dark Maze'.
FESTIVAL OF THE DEAD | Bowlers | Friday 2 November
Inspired by Mexico’s extravagant Day of the Dead, this series of sell-out parties mixes carnival with circus, theatre, clubbing and a cast of otherworldly creatures - this year including The Vulture and 'El Diablo’, a huge mechanical skull backdrop. Journey into the underworld to a killer soundtrack, beautifully macabre décor, piñatas and even professional skull painters to get you looking the part.