The spooky season is finally here, and Halloween in the City is returning to Manchester this weekend to celebrate.
With so much happening over the two-day festival as part of the annual Halloween in the City celebrations – which are organised by CityCo and Manchester Business Improvement Distict (BID) – visitors to the city centre this weekend are being encouraged to “dress up, join in, and get gruesome” to look the part.
It won’t be something you see every day, but everything from ghastly ghouls, to wicked witches, curious cats, and more will all be welcome in Manchester city centre this Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 October.
The more people in spooky fancy dress, the better.
While the Halloween in the City celebrations will be largely taking place over this weekend, if you’ve got a keen eye, then you may have already noticed that giant inflatable monsters with hanging tentacles, fanged teeth, and bloodshot eyes have been starting to take over the rooftops of Manchester this week.
Dotted at eleven different locations across the city centre, you’ll be able to go on adventure to discover them at places like KAMPUS, Selfridges, the Manchester Arndale, Great Northern Warehouse, Printworks and The Royal Exchange Manchester, Spinningfields, and at the ‘spooktacular’ Cathedral Gardens outdoor ice rink.
And then on Halloween weekend itself, there’ll be even more monsters set to pop up on the ground, so keep your eyes peeled around Exchange Square.
The monsters are just the tip of the iceberg of events happening at Halloween in the City this weekend though – think a welcome procession of roaming monsters, a monster carnival, top monster bands, monster DJs, a monstrous photo trail across the city
Here’s a round-up of everything you can get involved with.
A ‘monsters welcome’ procession
Walk The Plank, who also create the annual Manchester Day parade, are putting on a crazy procession of monster puppets, stilt walkers and a five-piece band across the Halloween weekend – and everyone is invited.
Visit the home of Manchester’s mad-for-it scientist, Dr. Mancenstein, encountering dragons, giant marauding crows, Mr Arsenic the castle butler and eerie groundskeepers along the way whilst dodging the man-eating plants.
Free to attend, her garden and cemetery is also home to a menagerie of creepy characters.
Get up close and personal with giant monster Scary Gary at this year’s Monster Lab, located in Exchange Square. You can also make your own slime at the Monster Slime School and create your own mini monsters to take home.
Dr Mancenstein’s radioactive lab assistant will be on hand to help with all your weird and wonderful experiments.
A trail of spooky photo opportunities across the city
Discover eight different spooky backdrops scattered across the city, ranging from a ‘monster invasion’ Manchester skyline, to depictions of the Grimm Reaper, aliens, zombies, the marshmallow man, dragons and creepy castle gates.
There will also be backdrops featuring Cbeebies and CBBC characters – perfect for the little ones.
Known as ‘The Keeper’s Nests’ these giant magpie puppets draw inspiration from the rhyme “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told…”.
The pair will stalk the streets at a height, looking down from their rickety nests in search of secrets.
DJ Ghostman isn’t the first selector to hide his identity, but he might be the first to do so with a bed sheet. Find him playing a host of Halloween hits and monster bops from the Monster DJ Truck on Market Street across Halloween weekend.
A Horrible Histories Christmas-themed stage show is happening in Manchester this month
You can discover the story of how Christmas came to be what it is today in a new Horrible Histories stage show in Manchester later this month.
With the festive season officially upon us, temperatures dropping by the day, and Christmas soon to be here before we know it, parents and guardians who are keen to keep the kids entertained but still educated while schools are out can grab tickets to a special Christmas-themed Horrible Histories stage show.
Heading out on a UK tour and stopping off at The Bridgewater Hall here in Manchester in a couple of weeks time, the impressive stage show is described as a festive celebration in the most “wonderful, funny, and moving way you’ll ever see”.
For many of us, when we think of Christmas, the magic of family, joy, goodwill, presents, and more usually come to mind, but how about Oliver Cromwell? Or even Henry VIII?
When Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red, it’s up to one young courageous boy to save the day – but can he rescue Christmas? From Victorian villains, to medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor treats, you can join the Horrible Histories presents cast on a hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas.
You’ll be in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII ,and St Nicholas as they all join forces to save the festive season.
Horrible Histories Christmas is coming to The Bridgewater Hall on Tuesday 20 December at 11:30am.
You can go on a festive tour of the Coronation Street set this Christmas
One of TV’s most famous streets has had itself a festive makeover, and fans can hear the stories of Christmas past on a behind-the-scenes tours.
In case you missed it, the ever-popular Coronation Street: The Tourreturned back in March after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s been giving fans of the iconic Manchester-based soap – which has recently celebrated 60 years on air – the chance to discover the hidden world that lies behind the camera at the external sets at MediaCityUK in Salford once again.
The 90-minute tours let you follow in the footsteps of all your favourite characters, and give you the chance to walk around the famous sets of the Rovers Return, Roys Rolls, Underworld, The Kabin, and so much more.
Tour guides are also known for sharing secrets of the show as they take you round the set too.
But now, with the festive season officially upon us, and Christmas soon to be here before we know it, Coronation Street has been turned into “the ultimate festive experience” for the all new behind-the-scenes tour – Christmas on the Cobbles.
This is your chance to experience the nation’s most famous street like never before.
Organisers are encouraging fans of the iconic soap to wrap up warm as they head out on an expert tour Coronation Street “dressed in its finest festive grandeur” to hear stories of Christmas past and spread yuletide cheer.
There’ll be carol singers dotted around the street’s famous sites, and festive treats like mince pies and gingerbread lattes to feast on.
The whole street will be festooned with lights and Christmas decorations
Christmas on the Cobbles Tours are running on selected dates this month up until 31 December, with tickets setting you back £28 for adults, £25.50 for under 16s, and £80 for families.