Hannah Parker

Halloween in Sunderland 2016

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Ghosts, monsters, skeletons and most importantly, sweets! Yes, it's that time of year again, when kids get sweets for putting on a costume, adults get drunk in a costume, and dads moan about having to wear a costume.

Credit: Thad Zajdowicz https://www.flickr.com/photos/thadz/15051141468/in/photolist-oW22Z7-gYs8Z2-grd7Kp-e73aYa-dquygQ-8PnvAJ-8LcxKu-Er7kPr-aAun6k-5xaR2E-3KKFFL-Fs4eMW-Bra8DE-AyRyaL-zAPc7a-zxFR6G-A7X8ub-Ah8aqr-xXcdst-yxGynS-pTHFMp-oGGKQC-ny4911-hmzNw8-h9cCt6-bcmTJa-awKc1c-8Q3N4V-8P1SHr-7bWjuW-5xpVds-5JyFR-egw3J9-7bXxvJ-878gFN-KMLZ2f-8MNFgW-CwzBDm-At76fQ-z3J1sY-pTFvKK-8PQQxj-5x85tw-3JmYDT-3H8Fmu-8P4HX9-3KUcpU-JRcERG-Ff2QZN-xNghR4

Credit: Thad Zajdowicz https://www.flickr.com/photos/thadz/15051141468/in/photolist-oW22Z7-gYs8Z2-grd7Kp-e73aYa-dquygQ-8PnvAJ-8LcxKu-Er7kPr-aAun6k-5xaR2E-3KKFFL-Fs4eMW-Bra8DE-AyRyaL-zAPc7a-zxFR6G-A7X8ub-Ah8aqr-xXcdst-yxGynS-pTHFMp-oGGKQC-ny4911-hmzNw8-h9cCt6-bcmTJa-awKc1c-8Q3N4V-8P1SHr-7bWjuW-5xpVds-5JyFR-egw3J9-7bXxvJ-878gFN-KMLZ2f-8MNFgW-CwzBDm-At76fQ-z3J1sY-pTFvKK-8PQQxj-5x85tw-3JmYDT-3H8Fmu-8P4HX9-3KUcpU-JRcERG-Ff2QZN-xNghR4

Halloween may have become commercialised in America, but as with most things from the land of the Yanks, it’s caught on worldwide. This holiday is getting bigger by the year, and rather than celebrating on the one day, October is swiftly becoming Halloween month. With plenty of ghoulishly fun day-time activities to entertain your little ones, and spooky evening events for the adults once the kids are in bed, Sunderland is truly embracing Hallow’s Eve.

The National Glass Centre

The National Glass Centre is well-known in Sunderland, sitting at the mouth of the river Wear, it’s hard to miss with its modern exterior and unmistakably bright interior you can’t help but notice when walking in. You’d be forgiven for wondering what on Earth glass making has to do with this creepy holiday, but in fact they’re grabbing the idea of this holiday and running with it for the whole of the week running up to the 31st October,with pumpkins, monsters, lanterns and much more.

They are known to do daily demonstrations of glass blowing for free, so how do they bring Halloween into this I hear you ask? Simple – Halloween themed glass! However, there’s a different theme taking place every day. If you’re tired of having the smell of pumpkins take over your house, The Glass Centre are giving you a great alternative, glass pumpkins! This event is on Saturday 22nd, Sunday 23rd, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th October, with an option of times from 10:00-11:00, 11:00-12:00, 12:00-13:00, 14:00 – 15:00 or 15:00 – 16:00. However, booking is essential for this one so you’ll need to be more organised than picking up a pumpkin from the supermarket. It’s £45.00 pp, and the glass pumpkin you make is yours to keep. If you’re not quite organised enough to arrange making your own, there is a glass pumpkin demonstration running all the way through from the 24th to the 28th October, and also halloween itself; 31st October. It’s free, and it starts at 13:30, however, you can drop in and out as you please.

If pumpkins aren’t your thing, do not fear, there are plenty of other events to take your fancy, such as ghoulish glass painting. This event is another drop-in, so you can go as you please, and it runs from 10:15 – 16:00 on the 24th and 30th October. For £3.00, this activity gets you creating your own horror-filled glass tile or painting a spoooky sun catcher, both of which are yours to take home. However, if you’d prefer a plate to a glass tile, there is a trick or treat plate event which is £4.00 to attend. It runs on the 25th October from 10:15 – 16:00, and is another drop-in activity.

Another event essential to book is the Fiendish Fusing, in which you get the opportunity to create a spookily colourful mosaic to take home and add to your Hallow’s Eve decorations. It costs £10.00 per person and takes place on the 28th October. Or, if you’d prefer to make a jam jar lantern to take out with you while trick or treating, this workshop costs £3.00. It takes place on 29 October from 10:15 – 16:00, and is another drop-in event.

Finally, the best event of the week at the National Glass Centre has been saved until last; Spooky Sleuths. Who dunnit? That’s the question being asked on the 29th October, with a night of mystery and riddles, and even a special glass-making activity added in too. There are two sessions, one at 16:30 and one at 18:30, but don’t wait too long to decide whether you want to unleash the Sherlock Holmes inside of you as booking is essential for this event. It’s £14.00 pp and anyone of the age 6+ can join in, so get your magnifying glass’s out and enjoy a Sunday evening of clueing fun.

However, The National Glass Centre isn’t the only place in Sunderland taking advantage of this ghoulish month, in fact the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is hosting a couple of Halloween-based events themselves.  The Spooky Creatures trail is perfect for a day of exploring, and if you manage to find all of the spooky creatures and answer some questions, you could even win yourself a prize. Entrance fee is £2.50 and this event is running all the way through from the 22nd – 30th October. Although, if you believe that ghosts only come out at night then the Slime and Snakes Halloween Party may be more up your street. Also taking place at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, it runs from 18:00 – 20:30 on the 28th October, and tickets are £5.00 pp.

For the adult Halloween-lovers among you, there is a Halloween Spectacular – Got to be Michael Jackson taking place at Rainton Meadows Arena on the 29th October from 19:00 – 12:00. Although this may attract more adults, the minimum age is 2, so your kids will be welcome to join. Or, if your idea of a perfect Halloween weekend is dressing up in gory costumes with your friends and venturing out to the nearest bars to show off your horrific make-up, Sunderland is the place to be. With the Route 69 Halloween bar crawl for students happening on the 29th October, it’s sure to be a busy night, and plenty of bars are getting in on the action. Independent‘s Halloween special involves Soma hosting a horror DJ set on the 29th October, and Illusions hosting a Halloween special at their Thursday rock night event Venom, on 27th October, are just some of the halloween-based night life events.

Sunderland has well and truly jumped on the Halloween band-wagon, and that’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Hallow’s Eve has not only become an event for the kids to enjoy, but also adults and families as a whole, and with so much to choose from in Sunderland this October, you’ll certainly need those two months to recharge the batteries ready for Christmas.

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