boti’s bumper halloween guide
2020 has been a horror-show of a year, so we’re more than up for having some safe scares to distract us from reality. So whether you fancy filling your face with seasonal goodies (we’re all over Boho Gelato‘s vegan pumpkin-spiced ice-cream), getting crafty or getting your boots scared off, there’s something in our guide to suit all tastes and fear factors.
And this year is even more special as the spooky season coincides with a Blue Moon – the second full moon in a calendar month, a pretty unusual occurrence.
Read on for our picks of the best Halloween events, whether you feel like going out or getting your scare on at home…
You can’t have Halloween without at least one pumpkin as far as we’re concerned and we were worried that pumpkin-carving workshops might be off the agenda in these Covid times. Happily, though, The West Hell – love it -Tavern has come up trumps (extra points for fashioning one in the likeness of The Orange One) for the occasion. The ticket price includes everything you need to produce a carved or painted pumpkin-y masterpiece, as well as a glass of wine, bottled beer or soft drink.
Wednesday 28th October, 7pm – 9pm; £18.50
The West Hill Tavern, 67 Buckingham Place, Brighton, BN1 3PQ
(Don’t) spill the tea
You may have noticed from our frequent posts that we just can’t get en-Oeuf of the egg-cellent Oeuf. Or the appalling egg puns. Can you blame us with that oh-so-Instagrammable decor that’s only equalled by bloody good food and drinks? Excitingly, they’ve launched a spooky Halloween afternoon tea for the final week of October. We understand the teas will include ghost meringues – vegan and non-vegan – homemade tombstone brownies, sandwitches (ahem), and mini apple-bobbing. With champagne and (bonfire-flavoured!) tea versions on offer, there’s something for everyone.
26th – 30th October, 1pm – 4pm; from £25pp
8 Third Avenue, Hove BN3 2PX
Gourd to go
While we’re pimping out the pumpkin joys, we couldn’t neglect the fun of picking your own. There’s just something about pumpkin fields that makes us feel all autumnal, although our decorating skills pale in comparison to autumn queen Zoe Sugg. Sadly, the brilliant Slindon Pumpkins is closed this year, but our other top pumpkin-picking patch is the Sompting one – near Lancing. There you can run wheelbarrow wild across 14 acres, gathering up some of their 60,000 pumpkins featuring 32 varieties in every shape and size. Or you can get stuck into some Halloween-y crafts and sink the essential pumpkin-spiced latte with a side of wood-fired pizza. We also highly rate newer kid on the block, the Poynings Pumpkin Patch, which has a great selection of organic pumpkins for decorating and cooking, as well as a food van selling local treats.
Sompting Pumping Picking Patch; 9.30am – 4.00pm daily from 23rd – 31st October; free entry, pumpkins range from £1 to £10
Halewick Lane, Sompting, Lancing BN15 0NE
Poynings Pumpkin Patch; 10am – 4pm daily 24th – 31st October; free entry, pumpkin prices vary
Poynings Road, Poynings, Brighton BN45 7AP
Poynings Pumpkin Patch
Don’t get stranded at the drive-in
We all know them for their seriously scary Shocktober Fest events – which are sadly postponed to next year because of you-know-what – but this summer they also brought out a great drive-in cinema and are now back with the spooky Halloween version. There are some properly frightening films (as well as plenty of family-friendly options) plus pre-film fire and light shows to enjoy before you’re too nervous to look. For added scares, they’ve got a cast of very mischievous ghosts roaming the site – they may even ‘help’ bring any food you order… For more info on what to expect and other autumn film fun, check out our alternative cinema guide here.
Until Thursday 8th November, from £15/car
Tulleys Farm, Turners Hill Road, Turners Hill, Crawley, RH10 4PE
We ain’t afraid of no ghosts
Ghost Walk of the Lanes is the longest-running ghost walk event in Brighton. These fantastic 70-minute walks, led by eccentric ‘Victorian ghost walkers’, uncover the darker history behind the city’s bustling Lanes, the oldest – and most haunted – part of the city. From unsettled spirits at the Black Lion pub to macabre tales of brutal murders and what’s really going on at Hannington’s Lane, you’re guaranteed an entertaining, if chilling evening. The walks take in eight haunted sites and cast the city in a whole new light – you’ll never again look at those streets in quite the same way! They run all year round, but we reckon there are some extra frissons to be had when you go on Halloween itself. You don’t normally need to book, but due to number restrictions and Covid precautions, if you want to go on 31st October, you’ll need to ring or email to reserve your place. There are three tours running – 4.30pm, 6.00pm and 7.30pm. Who ain’t afraid of no ghosts, now?
Every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; on Halloween night; from £8; meet at Druid’s Head on Brighton Place (opposite Donatello’s Restaurant); no need to book if not Halloween, for Halloween night call 01273 328297 or 07522 605524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book
Shake, rattle and roll
Fancy rocking out on Halloween Saturday? Then get yourselves down to cosy city-centre pub The Great Eastern for a bone-swinging time. They’ve limited capacity to 30 people for obvious reasons, but they’re not skimping on the scary vibes. Plus, they’re concocting an extra-special Halloween mega-mix as we type, featuring demented rock & roll, hellbent honky tonk, grizzly goth, heebie jeebie jazz and satanic swing, compiled with loathsome loving by DJs from Stay Sick!, Whiskey Preachin,, Swingin’ Dick’s and Chris Cadaver. Let’s skel-et-on.
Saturday, 31st October 2020 from 4pm; free
The Great Eastern, 103 Trafalgar Court, Brighton
Is there anybody there?
Are you ready to open your mind and peek behind the curtains of reality? Well, that’s just what the immersive – socially distanced – theatrical show Seance promises. Part of Brighton Open Air Theatre’s Blue Moon Halloween season from local arts producers Nikki Shaill and Lauren Sweeney (check out the haunting Tales From Greywing House on the Friday), there’s no better time to celebrate Halloween than outside under the light of that rare blue moon… Wrap up warm – Halloween and vintage costumes are welcomed – and get ready to feel those chills. All of them! There’s an on-site bar that sells hot drinks and booze to warm up those bones, but you can bring your own picnic, too. And we’d definitely recommend waterproofs – if only for something to hide behind if it all gets too freaky.
6pm-7pm (doors from 5pm) or 8.30pm-9.30pm (doors from 7.30pm); from £12
In Dyke Road Park, Dyke Road, Hove, BN3 6EH
Thirteen, unlucky for some
But not us, because our favourite (only?) drag prince Alfie Ordinary is bringing a Halloween edition of his musical bingo night Now That’s What I Call Bingo to Shelter Hall Raw this year. Always fabulous, and always hilarious, Alfie will keep the Halloween spirit alive with two hours of fun-filled musical bingo the day after the night before. Plus there’s the added bonus that you can get stuck into tasty dishes from Fatto a Mano, Curry Leaf Cafe, Carlito Burrito, GB Charcuterie and Lost Boys Chicken. Eyes down…
Sunday 1st November, 11am doors, 11.30am show; £5.50 – food/drinks need to be purchased separately
House of horrors
We love a seasonally decorated house and this is a GREAT one. Every year, and for the last 12 years, the gang at 10 Highcroft Villas decorate their house and garden for Halloween for the local children and to raise money for charity. And when we say decorate, these guys go all out. It’s seriously impressive, from ghoulish night-time lighting to bloodied hands, creepy hanging skeletons, skulls on posts, and so much more. Because of Covid, they’re not allowing people in the garden, but they’ll be opening the gates up on Halloween night so you can peek at the horrors inside. There’s a lot to take in even with the gates closed! There’s a QR code on the gate for easy donation, or hit the link below. The only question is: do you dare to visit at night?
10 Highcroft Villas, Brighton BN1 5PS
Give us a whirl
Who doesn’t love a ceilidh? We’re going to pretend we didn’t hear anyone that hollered ‘me’. Back as part of the Fringe for a fifth year, the brilliant Brighton Ceilidh Collective are hosting a virtual experience this time around – we’re sure we don’t need to explain why. So get your Halloween gladrags on, grab yourself or up to five friends and get a-whirling and a-twirling in the comfort of your own homes. Gill Emerson from the Ceilidh Crew will be calling out the dances and she’s brilliant at talking everyone – including beginners and dance-phobics – through the steps. It may be over Zoom, but the crew have been running these online ceilidhs since April so it definitely won’t be like those painful business meetings where someone can’t work out how to turn the mic on. Post-dancing, there’s a chilled after-party with the promise of some scary stories…
31st October, from 8pm, £6.00
We’re all about the treats and this box of spooky goodies from local family-run bakery and confectioners Slice is full of those. The good stuff includes creepy chocolate orange macaroons, gruesome gingerbread fudge, ghostly ginger, chocolate, mixed peel and hazelnut cookies, terrifying toffee apple truffles, monstrous marshmallows, mini petrifying pumpkin pies and more ghoulishly named good things. We’ve heard a rumour that a Christmas box may be on its way soon, too…
£20 plus £2.50 for delivery to BN1, BN2 & BN3 doors on Halloween itself or pick-up from BN1 6DF
Rock around the cock(tail)
Want to host your own intimate Halloween-themed cocktail party at home? Then we have just the thing. Local cocktail bar pop-up and home-delivery cocktail kit superstars Lucky Pineapple have launched a special Halloween-edition DIY cocktail box in collaboration with Sugar Tits, who are deservedly renowned for their tasty on-trend sweet treats. It’s a match made in Halloween heaven! Pretty much everything you need for a brilliant night in (and some great photos to plaster over Instagram) is in the box. The cocktails – the vodka-based Ghosted and gin-based Resting Witch Face – are easy to make and taste absolutely heavenly. And the attention to detail in these beautifully packaged boxes is superb – each little parcel is a gift in itself. From coasters and custom illustrated recipe cards to edible stirrers and toppers, not to mention the adorable garnishes (who knew how tasty ghosts of exes past could be!*), they’ve thought of everything. Including a playlist! We had an absolute blast living our best Tom-Cruise-in-Cocktail lives as we shimmied and shook our mixes. And the best bit? There’s no curfew!
Available until 29th October; from £50 for a box for two people (four drinks)
Home from home
Our favourite local film guys, White Wall Cinema, brought out the brilliant Home Service over lockdown to bring us the joy of the cinema at home and help tide them through the difficult period. And we reckon they’re the people to select the perfect Halloween movie for you, whether you like the pants scared right off you or you’re more of a gentle-shiver-down-the-spine type of film fan. Just choose your film package level – they start at £22 – then email the White Wall movie buffs to let them know you’re ready to talk all things film and Freddie’s your demented serial killer uncle. You know what we mean. Then just sit back and wait for your perfect movie choice – complete with gourmet popcorn – to arrive. And if you fancy a trip to the cinema, they’re also showing a fab selection of Halloween films this week.
Tickets start at £22 plus booking fee; email White Wall Cinema to confirm your purchase and start the Home Service process
Scream, mon ami
If you’re a fan of whodunnits, then Scream, a light-hearted – gore-free -virtual event from murder-mystery specialists Murdered for Money might be just the thing. Taking place over the week leading up to Halloween, you’ll receive an introduction to the story, daily clues and video evidence to help you unravel the mystery of who’s offed whom as Dracula, Jekyll & Hyde and other Monsters vie for the top spot after leader Granny announces her retirement… The week ends with the chance to interrogate the suspects live before you reveal your verdict for the chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher. Better get those little grey cells working…
27th October – Sunday 1st November; £10.30 per household
The cape escape
Not Halloween per se, but there’s a distinctly gothic vibe to The Vampire’s Wife x HM collaboration that’s very appropriate for this time of year and for party season in general. The capsule collection launches online and in store on 22nd October. Get in quick, though, these collabs are always super-quick to sell out. Top of our witch list? This insanely beautiful silvery lace cape at a snip of the price that the main line pieces sell for. And the dresses? They’re giving us all of the Victorian spirit photography vibes Brighton-based owner Susie Cave had in mind.
Launches in store and online on 22nd October; various prices