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Top five things to do in London: Spooky special!

23 October 2012 Emma Wright

The ‘terrifying’ masks and neon orange cupcakes have been on sale since June and now Halloween is upon us, you’ve found yourself notably plan-less. If only there were a resource presenting five of London’s best culture and leisure options for you to choose from...

The leaves are crisp on the floor and orange over-head, you can’t get enough tea and have been wondering about work's policy on bed socks. Autumn is here, Londoners and visitors to our lovely city! Which, as far as London Calling is concerned, means a plethora of new culture and leisure delights to get excited and rave about. First up: Halloween, and this London Calling reporter's favourite time of year! Here we go again with our top five…

1.    Not for the squeamish, the Museum of London are hosting an adult-only late event in line with their new exhibition, Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men. The exhibition exposes extreme lengths nineteenth century medical pioneers went to, to increase anatomical understanding- as revealed in a 2006 archaeological dig at the Royal London Hospital. So far, so grisly. But from 7pm on Halloween, exhibition visitors can also get creative with wax sculptor and medical artist, Eleanor Crook, and artist-in-residence at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Pathology Museum and Galleries, Geoff Harrison; listen to talks from the exhibition curator on the most gruesome items in the exhibition; and watch short films (composed of clips from the play recently shown at the Southwark Playhouse and interviews with various experts) on ‘The Irish Giant’, an eight-foot man targeted by surgeons looking to dissect his body. Pathological cakes and sweets are also available, if you think you’re hard enough.

2.    It wouldn’t be Halloween without a pumpkin carving competition. The national institution that is Fortnum and Masons hosts its annual pumpkin carving competition again this year, endeavouring to find the city’s ‘most ghoulishly chiselled’ gourds. This competition is not to be taken lightly; with points awarded for skill, scariness, creativity and luminosity. If you happen to be aged up to 10 (or will be celebrating Halloween with an up to 10 year old), head to the first floor demonstration kitchen for 3pm in your scariest garb, as there will also be a prize for the best fancy dress. For anyone 11+, be at the ground floor Gallery Restaurant at 6pm; there will be a Fortnum's Experience Package up for grabs. All winners will also become famous, with their entries featuring in Fortnum’s Halloween window display. Participants must sign up in advance by ringing 0845 602 5694.

3.    Next, time to face your fears. Halloween thrill-seekers should head to the O2 for a creepy climb across its vast and lonesome roof. Action begins at a spookier-than-usual 'Base Camp' where participants are prepped and kitted out in all the relevant safety gear, before being guided in groups along the walkway. Expect tricks, treats and surprises en-route and, at the summit, you'll be given a gothic-style map of the capital that pinpoints some of London's horror hotspots. After-dark climbs will push your limits, but the experience is available from 10am. The climb is suitable for most people aged 10+ and at least 1.2 metres tall, and is available between Oct 27 and Nov 4.

4.    Does ‘A Journey To Hell’ sound suitably eerie? Well then, Winterwell Festival is presenting a spooky evening entitled just that, on the 27th October at Loft Studios. This old and atmospheric brick warehouse in West London will be appropriately decorated by Winterwell’s unrivalled creative team, and overlooks St Mary’s Cemetery in Kensal Green, which the ghosts of Byron’s wife and sister are said to haunt. Following last year’s sell-out event, this year's party will feature a devilish line-up, pervasive and interactive games and theatre, with a fancy dress theme of ‘What You Might Find in Hell’. Live performances in three different rooms will offer house and electro from (amongst others) The Nextmen and DJ Lorry, swing, ska, rock n roll and soul from Count Sizzle; and hip hop from the Milk Bar Kid. Get there from 9pm onwards, and book now.

5.    Prepare yourself for Zombie invasion with Zombie Science: Worst Case Scenario, by the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies. Between 29th and 31st October at 7:30pm, The Etcetera Theatre in Camden will host this invaluable tutorial on the real science behind a disease outbreak, and how best to avoid infection and/or never-ending death. Zombiologist, Doctor Austin, will place you at the heart of a hypothetical Zombieism outbreak, and teach you what to do should a Zombie outbreak occur. Featuring a multi-media presentation and interactive demonstrations, this event is supported by the Wellcome Trust and University of Glasgow, and certified by the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies. The savvy London resident or visitor will regret missing this essential training programme (and hilarious spoof, which is part of the London Horror Festival).

 

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