They say we don't do Halloween all that well over here. AND YET there's a London Month of the Dead. (Take that, United States.)
For the entirety of October, the cemeteries and streets of the city will writhe with torchlit ghost walks, taxidermy workshops, talks on embalmed heads, and even theremin recitals. Here's our pick of the best and strangest.
Stuffing stuff is firmly back in vogue. Create a two-headed or winged rat at the Rogue Taxidermy Workshop (1 October, £70). Rat(s) and a stiff drink, provided. Or start smaller — and cheaper — by stuffing a butterfly (8 October, £35). No need to catch one beforehand.
Ghoulish guided tours
Walk, don't run, at the series of terrifying tours. Pick your way through the tombstones of Kensal Green Cemetery with a torch while listening to creepy tales like The Unquiet Grave and the less ominous-sounding Mrs Brown's Jigsaw Puzzle (£10 inc. cocktail); learn the Mysteries of the Mausolea at Highgate Cemetery (16 October, £12); or go for walkies in Hyde Park's usually-off-limits pet cemetery (15, 22, 29 October, £15).
Actually, all the music is rather lovely — we just wanted to see the title alliteration through. Brompton Cemetery's chapel is hosting a series of candlelit concerts over October: bathe in the macabre sounds of Modest Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death (22, 23 October, £12); see Lydia Kavina prove that the theremin is good for more than just Good Vibrations (30 October, £15 inc. cocktail); or hear London pop-art-pop troubadours The Real Tuesday Weld perform Songs of Death and Love (29 October, £12).
Again, the talks aren't tortuous — quite the opposite. Hear the story of Oliver Cromwell’s embalmed head at Mortifications of the Flesh (9 October, £12 inc. cocktail); learn about our ancestors' use of death's head spoons and wax effigies, as well as how newspapers decide which dead celebs to write about at Death Rituals, Wax Effigies and the Obituary (30 October, £12 inc. cocktail); and find out how the Haitian the legend of zombies staggered onto the world stage (23 October, £12 inc. cocktail).
London Month of the Dead runs 1-30 October across London. For a full programme, and to book tickets. visit the website. If that's not enough ghoulish goings-on for you, take a look at the best Halloween events in London.