Cheap thrills for a haunting Halloween
From costumes and conkers to creepy creatures great and small, there’s plenty for children to sink their fangs into this Halloween without horrifying your wallet, writes AOIFE CARR
Egyptian mummies, old bones and scary stories: admission to our national museums and galleries is free and nearly all have Halloween events of some description
The big night falls on a Wednesday this year and with most kids off school for a full three days beforehand there’s plenty of time to fire their imaginations and unleash their inner Vivienne Westwood. Being creative with face paints, cardboard boxes, tights, old clothes and a basic sewing kit can yield impressive results. Attention will be absorbed and money saved. Teeth or fangs fashioned from orange peel are a cheap and surprisingly effective finishing touch guaranteed to pull even the most thrown-together costume together.
For the time-pressed who can’t tell one end of a sewing needle from the other, costumes are widely available at prices from €3.99. Dunnes Stores have costumes for about €12, with spooky vests for tots at €6 for two. Adult costumes, including the Grim Reaper or a vampire, are €20, and decorations are from €5. Mothercare have 20 per cent off selected costumes until Halloween. Penneys have costumes from €7, scary T-shirts from €4 and decorations from €1.50. An adult tiger costume will set you back €13. Aldi and Lidl have costumes from €3.99 and €4.99 respectively while Marks and Spencer are doing three for the price of two on decorations and treats, with costumes from €14.
Before they rush around the neighbourhood trick-or-treating, try some traditional Halloween games. If you’re stuck for inspiration or need some more to add to your repertoire, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Dublin is holding a workshop on Halloween games and traditions this Thursday from 11.30am-12.30pm ( museum.ie; booking is required). Some old favourites include Blind Man’s Buff, Snap Apple and bobbing for coins or apples in a basin of water.
There are a number of child-friendly Halloween-themed films showing at cinemas over the midterm break. Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie tells the story of a young boy who loses his pet in an accident and tries to bring him back to life. In Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s secret bolthole is invaded by some annoying humans. Paranorman promises a spooky comedy about an ancient zombie curse. All are rated PG. For those Halloweened out, Madagascar 3 is also playing. Most multiplexes offer a 10 per cent discount if tickets are booked online, and there’ll be plenty of swag in the house after trick or treating to avoid extortionate cinema prices for popcorn and jellies.
Dublin Zoo will be hosting their annual Boo at the Zoo this Sunday and on Halloween. For three hours from noon on both days there will be festive face painting, scary arts and crafts, special keeper talks and a monster disco on the lawn in front of Haughton House.
Make sure to see the adorable new red panda cubs. The twins were born in June but ventured out of their den during the day for the first time last month. Endangered in the wild, they are the second red panda litter born at the zoo in the past year.
In Cork, Fota Wildlife Park is hosting scary Halloween nights this Saturday to Wednesday, with a train ride around in the dark to see the animals and a number of festive characters rumoured to be popping by (€15 for an adult, €10 for a child; not suitable for children under six; tel: 021-4812678, ext 219 to book).