As summer fades and winter looms, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition.  It’s thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts, and now in the UK it is also influenced by several US traditions.

So, what to do at Halloween?

Pumpkin Carving

From the simple and classic Jack O‘Lantern to a more complex design requiring a stencil and a few hours of patience, nothing beats choosing and carving your own pumpkin. There are farm shops in Hampshire where you can choose and pick the size and colour you want.  If you prefer to shop closer to home, most supermarkets will be stocking pre-picked pumpkins. Cut the top off to make a lid, scoop out the seeds, and get carving!  Remember to buy some battery powered tealights to put inside once you’re done, they’re long lasting, effective and safe!

Haunted House Tours

Discover the ghosts of one of Southampton’s historical landmarks, Tudor House, with their tour on October 27th, or Join the Southampton Tourist Guides Association every weekend to explore Southampton’s medieval vaults, walk the old walls and hear all the stories and legends.

Get into costume

You’re never too old to dress up in your best spooky costume before you head out for the night.   There are several good places in Southampton for costumes – the Marlands Centre is a great area to search out that perfect outfit, and Beatnik Emporium in Above Bar St has some wonderful unique items.    Alternatively, if you need to watch the pennies, head to the charity shops – a few carefully chosen items plus some creative ideas and you have a costume on a budget.  Start with a black dress and become a witch, get a white bedsheet and you’re on your way to becoming a ghost….


Host a Party

Too old for Trick or Treating? Why not invite your friends round, get a scary movie or turn up the tunes and have fun! A few decorations will set the scene; cut up black binbags to make giant cobwebs. Orange and black paper plates and cups will add to the look and avoid the need to wash up after. Get people socialising – for an alternative version of that Halloween classic apple bobbing try marshmallows instead! Or, if you are feeling more adventurous tie marshmallows to the end of lengths of cotton thread, hand them up and challenge people to eat them, no hands.  It can get messy!   Creepy costumes optional!

Party in Town

Southampton is a lively student town and there are parties galore over the Halloween period. Just check online to find the theme and date of your choice – there’s a Vampire Ball on Saturday 28th; Halloween Southampton (billed as the biggest student fancy dress party on the south coast) is on the 29th, and District Southampton are throwing a massive party at the Engine Rooms on the 31st.

Just be glad our Solent University Flats are not haunted! Happy Halloween!