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Halloween Hair-Raisers

The labyrinthine passageways of Fort Amherst in the Kentish Medway port of Chatham make a splendidly eerie setting for some rum goings-on at Halloween.

The labyrinthine passageways of Fort Amherst in the Kentish Medway port of Chatham make a splendidly eerie setting for some rum goings-on at Halloween. Each year’s version of Halloween Horrors adopts a different fright theme – 2005, for instance, focused on The Ghosts of Trafalgar, and the naval battle-scenes that raged 200 years ago. This year has a carnival theme. Prospective visitors are warned to wear warm clothing and suitable footwear. Some of the experiences are described as ‘intense’, so may not be suitable for young children or anyone susceptible to ill-effects from strobe lighting. Tickets cost £12, and 30-minute tours take place every half-hour between 7pm and 9.30pm October 26-31.
Colchester Zoo promises some spooky activities from October 21-29. The Haunted Forest will be open from 12-4pm. Children are invited to arrive in fancy dress and meet some creepy creatures, search for hidden bats,   ride the road train from 5pm on late night openings (October 28 and 31), and watch out for the zoo witches.

The Enchanted Forest at Groombridge Place Gardens sounds a good place to spend Halloween. As dusk falls from 6pm on October 27 and 28, beware the Groombridge Gang of smugglers and the ghost train ride.
Northern Ireland’s City of Derry Halloween Festival (October 24-30) promises a five-day extravaganza of ghosts, ghouls, warlocks and witches, culminating in a mammoth parade and firework show.

A number of National Trust properties organize Halloween events, mostly   with children in mind. Ham House in Surrey suggests a more adult ghost-busting experience starting with canapés in the 17th-century Orangery from 6-8pm.

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