London Month Of The Dead Is Back - With A Spine-Chilling Array Of Events

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 7 months ago

Last Updated 02 October 2023

London Month Of The Dead Is Back - With A Spine-Chilling Array Of Events
A gravestone shaped like a sad dog
Explore Highgate Cemetery as part of London Month of the Dead. Image: iStock/Daniel Lange

Do you feel that chill in the air?

Maybe it's because summer's been a bit of a washout, or MAYBE it's because London Month of the Dead is on the horizon...

The ghoulishly good festival of death and the arts creeps into town for the entirety of October (and in 2023, even edges into September and November), putting a cerebral spin on things that go bump in the night. There are fascinating talks on the macabre, candlelit cemetery concerts, and screenings of classic horror movies with live piano accompaniment.

Etching of a woman in a round, neoclassical chapel
The atmospheric Victorian Brompton Cemetery Chapel hosts a number of events.

No longer a little-known festival, some events for Month of the Dead can sell out fast. But if you're ahead of the game, there's a casket-load of happenings you can still book, including:

  • Butterfly taxidermy in a cemetery, hosted by LMOTD co-founder Suzette Field (1 Oct)
  • Tours of many of London's most atmospheric cemeteries, including the beautifully wooded Tower Hamlets (1 Oct), a chance to 'meet' some of the residents of Brompton (8 Oct), a peek inside some of Highgate's mausoleums (14 Oct), examining the Georgian tombs of Hampstead Churchyard (15 Oct), and a 'Boffins in Coffins' tour of the scientists buried at Kensal Green (15 Oct)
  • From Death to Life, a talk from Cat Irving, Human Remains Conservator for Surgeons' Hall, on the scientific roots of the seminal novel, Frankenstein (12 Oct)
  • A candlelit concert of Rip Van Winkle in Brompton Cemetery, courtesy of Gothic Opera (21 Oct)
  • Pete Smith takes you around Smithfield, in search of revolts, beheadings... and excellent pubs, on his Death and Debauchery tour (two of these on 29 Oct)
  • A screening of the 1926 German silent horror movie Faust - A German Folktale, with live accompaniment from a piano (29 Oct)
  • Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School and cabaret artist Dusty Limits invite you into a 'Death Drawing Room' in Soho's Century Club, to sketch models from the world of burlesque and cabaret (1 Nov)
Various colourful taxidermied butterflies
Butterfly taxidermy in a cemetery? Sounds like Month of the Dead to me.

That's just the tip of the tombstone — there's oodles more going on, but as we say, events will vanish faster than a shy ghost. We've been to a number of these, and they're seriously good fun — plus many come with a free gin punch... just the thing to settle any nerves.

London Month of the Dead takes place across London 30 September-1 November 2023.