Plan your SPOOKtacular fun
Long a largely unknown holiday throughout most of Europe, Halloween has made great inroads of late. With seemingly everyone seeking thrills and chills these days, it can’t hurt to plan and book your hauntings in advance. Here’s an overview of some options.
Theme parksThrough Nov. 5, visitors to Europa Park in Rust, Germany, can enjoy seasonal decoration, a child-friendly spectacle and a Halloween parade during regular opening hours. The park’s Horror Nights Traumatica (Oct. 13-15, Oct. 20-22, Oct. 25-Nov. 1 and Nov. 3-4) are re-creations of post-apocalypse worlds in the form of haunted houses and mazes (entry 31 euros, access to rides not included). Holiday Park in Hassloch, Germany, offers Halloween Fright Nights on Oct. 14, 21, 28 and 31. Friendly ghosts haunt the park by day, but as evening falls, four scare zones serve up thrills for older visitors; www.europapark.de/enTivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, open for the Halloween season through Nov. 5, is famed for its beautiful autumnal decor. The park offers gentle pursuits for children and moderate thrills for older visitors. Park entry costs 110 Danish krone (about $17.40) for adults and is free for those ages 8 and under; unlimited ride tickets go for an additional 230 DKK; www.tivoligardens.com/en/saesoner/halloween
CastlesThe legendary Burg Frankenstein Halloween party in Pfungstadt, Germany, first started by U.S. soldiers based in nearby Darmstadt, marks its 40th anniversary this year. Zombies, ghosts and ghouls roam the ruins of this ancient castle and interact with visitors. A much tamer version of the event is staged on Sundays for families. Dates are Oct. 20-21, Oct. 27-28, Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 3-4; family days are Oct. 22 and 29 and Nov. 5. Tickets begin at about 27.13 euros for the full-on scare and 15.63 euros on family days. Tickets can only be booked in advance. Visitors are delivered to the castle by shuttles running from the parking area on Mainstrasse in Pfungstadt or the Darmstadt-Eberstadt train station; http://frankenstein-halloween.deBurg Satzvey, located about 35 miles southwest of Bonn, Germany, is the site of Halloween frights Oct. 28 and Oct. 31. From 6 p.m., spooks scare and guests get lost in the labyrinth; from 9 p.m., there’s a party set to DJ music in one of the halls. Tickets go for 17 euros on Oct. 28 and 20 euros on Oct. 31; www.burgsatzvey.de
GardensBluehendes Barock in Ludwigsburg, Germany, is home to what’s billed as the world’s biggest pumpkin exhibition, with some 450,000 gourds on display. Each year’s exhibition is fashioned around a theme; arrangements this year reflect ancient Roman times. Gourmets can enjoy sampling pumpkin-based treats from soups to tarte flambee. From Oct. 28 through Nov. 1, kids can enjoy Grusel-Gewusel, a world of dark passages and magic. Entry to the grounds costs 9 euros for adults and 4.50 euros for ages 4-15; www.blueba.de
Explorations afarDublin’s Bram Stoker Festival, running Oct. 27-30, promises “living stories and deadly adventures.” Program highlights include a Dracula-inspired comedy show, parades and a walking tour of a cemetery; www.bramstokerfestival.com Another city that goes all out for Halloween is Derry, also known as Londonderry, in Northern Ireland. From Oct. 28 through 31, the walled city offers horror shows, illuminations, a monster fun fair, guided tours and a parade;www.derryhalloween.com