The best things to do this Halloween in Manchester

The witching hour is upon us and where better to scare ourselves witless than Greater Manchester, with its history of hauntings and the supernatural tracing right back to 1177.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 25 October 2023

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If there’s something strange, in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? Well, Finest obviously… because we’ve created the biggest and most spook-tacular round up of all the upcoming happenings and supernatural occurrences (including some Halloween themed food and cocktails, that might make you go bump in the night) to celebrate what one of our team lovingly refers to as ‘Goth Christmas’, his favourite day of the year.

Halloween Monsters In The City
(Credit: Fabio De Paola/PA Wire)

The MCR Monster all over the city

From now until to Tuesday 31 October

You know Halloween is here when those strange creatures start appearing on top of buildings all over the city, glowering down at the public as they hurry by. Created by artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas, there are creatures like the Chomper, the Toxic Frog, The Goofs, Horrible Harvey and the actually-not-all-that-scary-sounding Scary Gary on buildings from Harvey Nichols and Kampus to the Corn Exchange and the AO Arena (Mon-Star and Sick Jagger). Go see if you can catch them all.

Various locations

Ghoulish Gourds at Dunham Pumpkins

Now until Sunday 29 October

Go grab some portly pumpkins or gaudy gourds in the glorious auspices of Dunham Massey, all ready for carving or cooking with during this most spooky of seasons. Kids can jump on a fun wagon train ride too, or bounce on the inflatable ‘pumpkin pad’.

Woodhouse Lane, Altrincham. WA14 4SJ

The Haunting at Lakeside Light Trail

Now until Tuesday 31 October

This idyllic woodland and lakeside wander should get you in the spooky spirits, with light displays and host of other family-friendly activities to get involved with after dark, like fire pits with marshmallow toasting, warm mulled wine and spiced lattes, and some great food stalls. Meanwhile, for grown ups, there’s ‘The Haunting’, a rather more nerve shredding experience for those with a more steely reserve.

Glaziers Lane, Warrington. WA3 4AQ

Stranger Breeds

Stranger Breeds at Freight Island

Sunday 29 October

What’s funnier than a dog fancy dress show. Nothing, that’s what. Nothing at all. So this Halloween, you can take your spookily gussied up pooch to Freight Island where dog events peeps Dogs Day Out will be presenting Stranger Breeds, a spooky fun-filled evening of dog-based seasonal fun with games, props, photo opportunities and competitions for the best-dressed dogs. So do your dog up like a demogorgan and watch the prizes roll in.

11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ

Scare City 2023: Zombie

Scare City at the abandoned Camelot theme park

Now until Sunday 5 November

Back with 12 terrifying horror zones and more gore than ever before 2023’s incarnation of Scare City is not one for the faint of heart. Cannibal butchers, eerie cults, and 4 new horror mazes at the walk-through scare fest will make your nightmares a reality with terrifying creatures lurking in the shadows and zombies out to give you the fright of your life this Halloween.

Camelot Theme Park, Charnock Richard, Chorley. PR7 5LP

A Nightmare on Nelson Street at The Pankhurst Centre

6 – 8.30pm, Thursday 26 October

Take a ghostly trip down memory lane inspired by the intrigue and mystery of Halloween with a guided walking tour, where you can hear some curious and unnerving stories about the history of Nelson street – home to everything from a medical museum to a perfume factory. Calm your nerves with cocoa at The Pankhurst Centre afterwards, followed by more tales of the spookiest suffragettes.

60-62 Nelson Street, Manchester. M13 9WP

Fused Halloween rave at WHP

Friday 27 October

If pumpkin picking and wholesome autumnal activities aren’t your vibe, just head to The Warehouse Project for a full-tilt rave up instead. Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundorom and Shonky’s Apollonia will be in the house, along with Chris Stussy, Laidlaw and Fuse regulars Enzo Siragusa, Rich NxT.

Mayfield Depot, Manchester. M1 2QF

The Monster Ball at Ducie Street Warehouse

Friday 27 October

The legendary DJ Fat Tony will be landing at the Ducie Street Warehouse this weekend for it’s very-spooky-indeed Halloween-themed Monster Ball. There will be ‘mysterious dancers and monstrous surprises lurking in the shadows’, according to those in the know, so consider yourself sufficiently warned.

Ducie Street, Manchester. M1 2TP

Rocky Horror Pizza Show

Rocky Horror Pizza Show at Nell’s, Common and The Beagle

Friday 27 October

Giving Richard O’Brien’s iconic Rocky Horror Show a tomato-base twist, there will be cabaret vibes at Nell’s, Common and The Beagle. Magenta will be hosting at Common, Frank-N-Furter at Nell’s, and Riff Raff at The Beagle. There will be a special pizza on the menu – the Frank-N-Furter with black tomato sauce, burnt onion, house sausage, chives, crispy onions, house chilli, parm and EVOO – and cocktails-wise, they’re serving up The Time Warp (Havana 3, Blue curacao, edible glitter and lemonade) and The Transylvanian Zombie (three types of rum with lime, and a dash of jaeger).

22 Minshull Street, Kampus, M1 3EF, 9-41 Edge Street, Northern Quarter, M4 1HW and 456-458 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, M21 0BQ

A Nightmare on Oldham Street at Mean-Eyed Cat

Friday 27 to Sunday 29 October

Newly-opened Mean-Eyed Cat and the underground Tiki hideaway will be presenting A Nightmare on Oldham Street, turning out the terror across the whole Halloween weekend, with complimentary shots for those dressed up, a spooky playlist, re-imagined cocktails (an Old Fashioned with pumpkin syrup) and, of course, free pizza with your drinks until 9pm.

60 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

German expressionist horror Nosferatu re-scored at Cultplex and Station South

Friday 27 October and Tuesday 31 October

The silent German expressionist horror Nosferatu is a masterpiece, the blood-curdling vision of Max Schrek’s vampire Count Orlock among the most iconic and arresting in cinema history. It is, however, as a silent movie, without a score. Enter Chris Massey of Sprechen Music and Richie V of Supernature, who will be providing their own brooding soundtrack for the movie, a blend of unsettling ambient electronica, clattering krautrock and other aural oddities – everything from Fuck Buttons to Prins Thomas to Pendle Coven – all played out live. They’ll be doing two screenings – one at Cultplex on Red Bank on October 27 (part of its Stab season), and another at the wonderful Station South in Levenshulme on actual Halloween, October 31. Brown trousers optional. You can grab tickets for Station South here and Cultplex here.

50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, M4 4HF and 975-977 Stockport Road, Levenshulme, M19 3NP

A Halloween Dream and Skullduggery at Tattu

Friday 27 to Tuesday 31 October

While some places might get out the artificial cobweb spray, perhaps a few pumpkins or some biohazard tape, Tattu is doing Halloween proper, with an All Hallows concept to ‘honour the spirits’, inspired by the Tibetan belief that the human and ghost worlds overlap. Its famous cherry blossom trees will be tinted green for the occasion, and the menu will feature a stack of special dishes tailored for the spooky season – including pumpkin dumplings, with shredded duck, hoisin and chilli, and a host of other-worldly cocktails, like the Deadly Dismay (Crystal Head vodka, merlot, hibiscus and orange, which comes in the form of a blood red candle complete with a flame). Other Trick or Treat themed cocktails will arrive overflowing with dry ice.

The Tattu Halloween festivities will run from October 27 to October 31, with a full Skullduggery event on October 28 from 12pm to 5pm, featuring a Halloween set menu where you’ll be served up three waves of small and large plates – including dishes like chicken truffle shumai dumplings, salt and pepper ribs and tom yum sea bass. You’ll also get the option to upgrade to free-flowing champagne or the Trick or Treat alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktails.

3 Hardman Square, Gartside Street, Manchester. M3 3EB

Mason Collective

Mvson Halloween In The City at Love Factory

Saturday 28 October

The Mason Collective’s Halloween special will be happening at the Love Factory, an indoor/outdoor all-dayer, featuring sets from AJ Christou, Beltran, Charlie Red, Fletch Joella Jackson, Max Dean, Prunk, Reme, and obviously the collective themselves. Expect scenes.

202 Dantzic St, Manchester M4 4NL

Zouk’s spooky Bottomless Brunch

Saturday 28 October

You’ll be greeted with a Red Dragon cocktail, before dining amongst the spookiest of settings, from suspended skeletons to giant spiders crawling the walls, and life-sized ghouls to Zouk’s very own spine-chilling graveyard. There are only three sittings for this brunch – at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm – so don’t hang about and bone-appétit! (Okay, sorry… I hold my hands up… that one was bad.)

5 The Quadrangle, Chester Street, Manchester. M1 5QS

Afflecks Halloween

Afflecks Ghoulish Halloween Weekender

Saturday 28 October

The legendary Afflecks will be throwing itself headlong into the seasonal festivities, converting itself into a house of horrors for its Halloween Weekender. There’s a ghoulish food and drink tour (which includes a ghost tour of the 180 year old building), and the arcade’s traders will all be throwing themselves into the spirit, with a spell casting sessions from Occult, Halloween merch and fancy dress, spook jewellery collections from Sour Cherry, and a limited edition hoodie print from Modern Streets. And that’s just a fraction of the general spookiness going on.

52 Church Street, Manchester. M4 1PW

Halloween at The Warehouse Project

Saturday 28 October

There’s more All Hallows raving to be had at the WHP over the festive weekend, with a scorching line-up in place. We’re talking Annie Mac, Denis Sulta, Chaos In the CBD, Dan Shake, the mighty Dusky and (obviously) Skream.

Mayfield Depot, Manchester. M1 2QF

The Bottomless Halloween special at BAB

Saturday 28 October

Kebabs and Halloween go together like… well, kebabs and Halloween. Head to this Stevenson Square (adjacent) fave for two courses and 90 mins of bottomless drinks (from house lager to Prosecco) for just £40. Just book 24 hours ahead for some seriously spooky BAB-ness.

14 Little Lever Street, Manchester M1 1HR

Halloween Ex Machine at Diecast

9pm til late, Saturday 28 October

DIE-cast (geddit) will be hurling itself headlong into the slaughtering season with a Toxic Waste Rave. The only option is to party hard for survival. There will be free drinks for the best dressed, and you can sign up to the late-night guest list for certain entry to this undead dance party.

51 Ducie Street, Manchester. M1 2JQ

Baked A La Ska

Baked A La Ska’s ‘Ska-lloween Special’

Tuesday 31 October

The iconic Baked A La Ska – the ‘heavy, heavy sound of Manchester’ – will be throwing their annual spooky knees-up at Band On The Wall, and it’s frankly amongst the most fun you can have with your (Halloween) clothes on. If you’ve not seen them before, now is the time to remedy that once and for all, as they run through their classics, dressed up fiendishly for the occasion.

25 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ

Hallow’s Eve menu of ‘illegal’ and fiendish cheese at WOOD’s Homage

Only available on Saturday 28 and Tuesday 31 October

If you’re going to pass out this Halloween then make it count and make it sophisticated. Let the stinkiest of cheesy aromas and the finest of wines knock you senseless at WOOD’s spooky season themed Homage to fromage.

Celebrating all things dark and fiendish with a specially crafted Hallow’s Eve menu, Homage are showcasing the best (and ripest) of the season with a few devilish twists. Expect to be regaled with tales of terror accompanied by five courses of cheeses paired with exceptional wines, and witch-crafted cocktails. There’s an arrival cocktail – Wood’s Elixir – then courses of Camembert baked in pumpkin, and Templier goats cheese, before the Époisses de Bourgogne – an extremely potent, extremely fragrant and according to urban legend the most ‘illegal’ French cheese on the market. This is followed by the “monstrously strong & penetrating aroma” of the Munster, before taking it down a notch with Stichelton Blue and house skull “wine gums” made in their own sweetshop to finish.

Jack Rosenthal Street / First Street, Manchester. M15 4RA