Halloween is on October 31st, which is a Wednesday this year. Lots of places will have Halloween parties at the weekend too, so you’ll probably see ghosts, witches, and vampires wandering around London all week. You’ll also see pumpkin lanterns carved to show a face, visible from many windows.

London is full of history, down every street, with every statue and every grand historic building. We’ve found some of the spookier places for the brave this Halloween:

The Tower of London

From 1100 to 1952, The Tower of London was used as a prison for those particularly disliked by the Royal Family. Many prisoners were beheaded. Visitors to the Tower have reported hearing voices and seeing ghosts. The ghosts of historical figures such as Guy Fawkes, Lady Jane Grey, Henry VI and Anne Boleyn (the beheaded wife of King Henry VIII) are said to still haunt the Tower.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is famous for its historic hauntings. The Victorians in the 20th century produced post cards of the palace showing ghosts and the stories grew from there. There seems to be no final resting place for Henry VIII’s wives, as his third wife Jane Seymour, who died after giving birth in 1537, and his fifth wife Catherine Howard, executed for adultery in 1542, are said to haunt the palace. On one day in 1999, during separate tours, two female visitors fainted in exactly the same spot in the Haunted Gallery.

The Clink Prison Museum

The Clink Prison dates back to 1144 and was open for 600 years before it was closed down. The prison was so notorious for misery and torture that the term ‘the clink’ became British slang for prison. Now a museum, it is said to be haunted by many a tortured soul. There are opportunities to view archaeological artefacts, and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the original prison.

Old Operating Theatre Museum

Europe’s oldest surviving surgical theatre, built when surgery was very primitive. The surgical theatre predates the invention of anaesthetic and antiseptics. Housed in the attic of an early 18th century church hospital, the timber frame gallery bore witness to many a gruesome death. Most patients died in surgery. Access to the surgical theatre in the attic is through a narrow 52-step spiral staircase.

Highgate Cemetery

The cemetery’s tombs and buildings were constructed in an imposing Victorian Gothic style during the mid to late 1800s. By the end of World War II the cemetery was overgrown, unattended, and in serious disrepair. In the 1970s, it became the location for the horror films of movie studio Hammer.

Since then some conservation efforts have been made to restore the graveyard but it’s Gothic style still makes it a very spooky site to behold. Among the tombs are the gravestones of Karl Marx, sci-fi author Douglas Adams, and Adam Worth, a famous criminal and the possible inspiration for Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis, Professor Moriarty.

Less spooky Halloween options

Fear not, if you can’t handle that level of spooky, there are many lighter Halloween activities to try. Halloween is only as scary as you want it to be – even young children are involved in Halloween but only with dressing up and having fun, not with the scary side!

Watch a Halloween film in an iconic museum

Sit under the giant whale skeleton at the Natural History Museum and watch Halloween thrillers including The Shining, The Blair Witch Project or choose the family friendly Ghostbusters if you prefer!

Halloween at Hogwarts

The iconic Great Hall set will be decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, just as seen on screen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Created by Head Propmaker on all the Harry Potter films, the pumpkins are modelled on those found in Hagrid’s pumpkin patch in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The Great Hall tables will also be laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops.

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