Get set for the spooky season

Amy Nugent

Durham (influenced specifically by its student population) is one of those cities where seeing people in costumes never feels abnormal. All through the year, different sports and societies schedule many ridiculously outfitted socials. Having a host of fancy dress was thankfully one of my areas of preparation, and I had my bag full of odd bits and pieces of costume donated to me by my family lurking in my under bed storage, ready for my next occasion. I’m sure with this information, it will come as no shock to anyone that Durham does Halloween very well, and my Durham Halloween in 2021 was definitely my favourite so far!

Halloween 2021

It was approaching a month since I had met all my new friends and flatmates, and Halloween was on all of our minds. In the couple of weeks leading up to the date which puts the ‘spooky’ in spooky season, it was pretty much all we were talking about, from what our plans were for that weekend, to our costumes, and which clubs we were going to.

Due to Halloween falling on Sunday, my friends and I were soon set on a Halloween-themed weekend. My plans stretched from Saturday almost right up to my Monday morning 9 a.m. seminar!

My roommate and I had decided to do things a bit differently, and powered by our excitement to rally up all our new friends, had elected to plan our own Halloween event, a ‘heist’ inspired by the antics from one of our favourite shows, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

The preparations had begun with me planning our ‘heist’, which became a game combining elements of a scavenger hunt crossed with capture-the-flag. Soon, a huge group chat had been formed and spammed with messages, where I began to explain the plan for the night. I ordered my supplies: party hats for everyone and about one-hundred bouncy balls. It was destined to be a night of chaos and fun for all those involved. The night began with my roommate and I announcing the game, plenty of funny rules, and randomly selecting teams. Soon we were off. After a few hours of completing the scavenger hunt element of the night, and with one team (sadly not my own) managing to find all of our hidden objects, the ‘heist’ was drawn to a close. We wound down into chatter before breaking off to watch horror movies. Sunday came upon us whilst we were stuffed inside my friend’s bedroom, crowded around his laptop which was lit with scenes from Ready or Not.

After not very much sleep and a lazy Sunday, we donned our costumes once again in preparation for Halloween celebrations for the night itself. Babylon had been our chosen club, and whilst queueing outside of its impressive façade, my friends and I were entertained by a firebreather before we made it into the packed club. We danced until we were hit by exhaustion, and I was certainly groaning about my early start the following morning. But it proved itself to be an awesome weekend full of fun, one which has certainly given me high expectations for Halloween this year!

Halloween 2022

How am I going to top my experience of Halloween from last year? It’s undoubtedly going to be a challenge, but there’s so much on, I’m opting out of a repeat of our shenanigans in favour of some college-organised fun.

Even though the Halloween displays have been popping up in shops since October began, I only tend to feel in the mood for the spooky season in the last couple of weeks of the month. My own festivities this time around begin with putting together a Halloween-themed art session in college, where the artists of Grey can come together to make decorations to be featured in our Halloween Bop (a big college party for all year groups). After sorting out a costume for this event, I hope to dance the night away with my friends!

Where to go in Durham to get in the mood for the spooky season

Durham might look like a small place, but it’s certainly jam-packed with quirky shops and all the entertainment you could want to have a happy Halloween! For your treats, head over to Tesco’s in the town centre, and for your tricks, my favourite costume shops in town are Making Faces and Cloth. There are also plenty of charity shops in the city if you want to source your outfit from second-hand clothes! If dressing up and going out dancing isn’t your thing, then you should definitely check out the café scene to keep yourself warm. Check out Matthew’s video for some coffee shop inspiration, or stop by the Gala or the Odeon in town to catch a spooky film!

Durham certainly has plenty on offer over Halloween, whether it’s events organised by colleges, or sports and societies, exploring the town itself, or having some downtime with friends in your accommodation! I have made many happy memories by enjoying the festivities with my friends.

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Amy Nugent

Hi, I’m Amy and here at Durham I study Liberal Arts at Grey College. In my spare time I can be found dancing like there’s nobody watching, getting stuck into my latest art project, or writing kooky stories in one of Durham's many beautiful spots.

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