Subscriber OnlyCulture

Halloween events: 20 things for culture vultures to do over the midterm

An indoor ‘scream park’, atmospheric musical performances, scary movies and a chilling bus tour

The Nightmare Realm

Wednesday, October 19th, until Sunday, October 23rd, and Wednesday October 26th, until Wednesday November 2nd; the City Market, St Mary’s Lane, Dublin; tickets from €22;

Billed as the “most entertaining horror experience”, Ireland’s largest indoor scream park, the Nightmare Realm is double the size of previous years and includes five terrifying mazes, entertainment zones, live DJs, dancers, and lots of scary movie reels.

The Irish Film Institute’s Horrorthon

Thursday, October 27th, until Monday, October 31st; Irish Film Institute, Temple Bar, Dublin 2; various times and prices;

The spine-tingling programme includes The Final Cut, the opening film at this year’s Cannes Festival, Danish thriller The Last Client and restorations of some of the best films by Dario Argento, including Suspiria and Opera.

St Patrick’s Cathedral After Dark Recital

Monday October 31st; St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin 8; 7.30pm; €15/€10/€5;

This candlelit organ recital takes place in the cathedral, which stands on the oldest Christian site in medieval Dublin. Organist Stuart Nicholson will play chilling tunes including St Saens’ Danse Macabre, Bach’s immortal Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King and music from Harry Potter.

National Concert Hall Halloween concert

Monday, October 31st; National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin; 8pm; tickets from €12;

This Halloween Fantasy concert from the National Concert Orchestra will include music from the Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, The Dark Knight, Psycho and Batman. The guest conductor is Stephen Bell.


The Bram Stoker Festival screenings and symposium

Saturday, October 29th; St Stephen’s Church, Mount St Crescent, Dublin; 6.30pm and 9pm; €21; over-15s only, see

A special screening of the silent German vampire film, Nosferatu on its 100th anniversary, with a new score written by composer, Matthew Nolan. Also, a one-day symposium with academics and artists will explore Nosferatu’s importance within cinematic and cultural history on Friday, October 28th at the Goethe Institut, 37 Merrion Square, Dublin; 10am-2pm; tickets €10.

The Bram Stoker Festival family events

Friday, October 28th, until Monday, October 31st; various times and locations; free admission;

Free screenings of award-winning spooky animations including Granny O’Grimm and Empty Little People. In Ghosts of Dublin, actors, writers and activists read passages from Dublin’s Gothic literary heritage. And there are spooky stories at Marsh’s Library, while Stokerland at St Patrick’s Park will have fun activities for all the family.

Bram Stoker’s Dublin walking tours

Saturday, October 29th at 12pm, and Sunday, October 30th at 3pm; prices from €8; over-12s only, see

Discover the Dublin haunts of the author of Dracula, led by historian Donal Fallon. The Gothic Chapel Royal in the grounds of Dublin Castle is the starting point for this walking tour.

Welcome Back, Warmbloods: National Gallery spooky tours

Friday, October 28th, until Monday, October 31st; 2pm; tickets €5 (booked out but additional dates pending); over-12s only, see

Held as part of the Bram Stoker Festival, these spooky tours of the gallery’s collections will expose its dark secrets. Written by the improv/sketch duo, Debbie Cheevers and Denny Mac Dermott from Underthings, the tours will be led by two members of Dublin’s vampire community, Anne and Winifred.

Dublin’s Gravediggers Ghost Tour

Various dates/times; tours depart from College Green Tourist office, Dublin; tickets €29;

Expect the unexpected on these evening bus tours of the darker side of Dublin. Learn tales of the black plague and horrors of medieval Dublin with professional actors as your guides. The haunted history walking tour of Dublin is included in the tour, as is a final drink in the Gravediggers pub in Glasnevin.

Samhain Halloween festival, Limerick

Thursday, October 27th, until Saturday, October 29th; various locations/times/prices;

There will be no shortage of family fun at Limerick’s Samhain Halloween festival this year. The festival returns to the streets of the Medieval Quarter in the city to celebrate local folklore and traditions. There will be a range of talks, workshops and fun educational events for children that will include spooky storytelling. Presented by Lumen Street Theatre, there are also several other events not to be missed, from the Ungodly Bishop’s Bride and Samhain Death cafe, to Tall Tales with Eddie Lenihan and the Samhain Parade of Light.

Walking ghost tours, Cork and Kilkenny

Various dates/times/prices; see and

Visitors and locals alike can discover the horrible histories and hysterical shenanigans of old Cork on these hour-long ghost tours on foot. Meanwhile in Kilkenny, nightly walks through medieval streets dig up some spooky stories based on genuine historical tragedies.

National Botanic Gardens children’s workshops

Sunday, October 23rd, until Sunday, November 6th; National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin, Dublin 9; various times;

It’s dress-up day at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin on Sunday, October 23rd. Visitors can view the Halloween harvest display and decorated pumpkin exhibition every day until Sunday, November 6th.

Lost Hearts

Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, Grafton Street, Dublin; various dates/times; tickets from €10;

One of the darkest tales from supernatural fiction writer, MR James (1862-1936) is adapted for the stage by Michael James Ford and Stewart Roche. Lost Hearts tells the story of the terrifying suppressed childhood memories revived when a young man who has descended into madness and opium addiction is treated with hypnosis.

The Stranger Things Upside Down Party

Monday, October 31st; Lost Lane, 44 Nassau St, Dublin 2; 10.30pm; tickets from €10;

The rooms of Lost Lane on Dublin’s Nassau Street will be transformed into the provincial town of Hawkins and the sinister supernatural underbelly of the Upside Down from the Stranger Things series. Expect 1980s-style thrills and chills with a meticulously curated playlist of throwback classics inspired by the show’s soundtrack and an immersive multimedia interior alternative dimension. Dress up in your finest 1980s outfit or as one of your favourite characters from the show.

Halloween Burlesque Party

Saturday, October 29th; The Hot Spot Music Club (above The Beach House), Greystones, Co Wicklow; 7pm (for market) and 9pm (show starts); tickets €15/€18;

Serpentine Rooms bring their eclectic mix of song, dance, burlesque and sideshow performances to this intimate venue. Enter the best costume contest and get your Insta moment in the creepy coffin photo booth.

Púca Festival

Friday, October 28th, until Monday, October 31st; various times/venues/ prices;

Trim Castle will be filled with spectacular illuminations for concerts and procession of the spirits of Samhain. Musicians performing include Gavin James, Imelda May, the Academic, Dec Pierce, King Kong Company and Hamsandwich, Lisa Hannigan and Cathy Davey, Blindboy and The Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow Cabaret. Plus comedians, Jason Byrne and Neil Delamare. For younger audiences, there are Broken Theatre’s pyro collective fire show, Cartoon Saloon’s Samhain animation and the creepy céilí.

Galway Aboo Halloween Festival

Saturday, October 29th, until Monday, October 31st; various locations/times/prices;

The medieval streets of Galway City will host plenty of fun things this Halloween weekend alongside Halloween themed events at Brigit’s Garden (treasure hunt and storytelling), Turoe Pet Farm (fancy dress parades) and Loughwell Farm Park (Spooky Fest family friendly horror experience).

Westival – Westport Music and Arts Festival

Wednesday, October 26th, until Monday, October 31st; various locations/times;

There’s nothing spooky about the impressive line up of musicians for this arts festival in Westport, Co Mayo. Highlights include performances by Camille O’Sullivan, Elaine Mai + Friends, Houseplants, Michael Gallen, Max Zanga, Patrick Dexter, Bourgeois Maurice and I Have A Tribe. Also film, theatre, writing workshops, art exhibitions and spoken word performances.

Halloween Spooktacular at the Irish National Stud & Gardens

Saturday, October 29th, until Wednesday, November 2nd; tickets €13 adult/children €7.50;

Arts and crafts workshops, giant-sized games and spooky storytelling, alongside regular attractions such as a fairy trail, Japanese gardens and Irish racehorse experience.

Scarecrow Night Walk at Hillsborough Castle

Friday, October 28th, until Monday, October 31st; Hillsborough Castle, Hillsborough, Co Down; £13 adult/£8.60 child;

Daring explorers are invited to walk on the dark side through Hillsborough Castle’s spooky illuminated gardens. The magnificent grounds will be transformed with scarecrows and extraordinary spirits. Prizes for visitors dressed in the most spectacular costumes.

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment