Sydney is home to the oldest pub in the country - The Hero of Waterloo in the historical area of The Rocks. Built by convicts in 1842, it’s rumoured that drunkards would be slipped a “mickey”, and then dropped through a secret trapdoor in the cellar where they would be taken to ships and forced into years of slavery. It gets creepier: in 1849, the Hero was the site of the gruesome murder of former landlady Anne Kirkman. Since then, staff have received multiple reports of encounters with Anne’s restless spirit…many of whom looked in the mirror in the ladies’ toilets and saw a woman behind them, watching. A function room is also said to be chock-a-block fall of brazen spectres, who move chairs around and touch and blow on the necks of unsuspecting guests and staff. Regardless of the shenanigans of the Hero’s resident entities – it’s a great place to pop in for a drink, some pub grub and live music. The Hero has totally owned its spooky past – offering guided tours of the infamous cellar, complete with stories and history beyond your imagination!
This one is not – we repeat, not – for the faint of heart. For five nights over the Halloween period, wholesome and fun-loving Luna Park transforms into an unadulterated horror movie. Think haunted festival ground, creepy clowns and zombie carnies. Back for its seventh year, Halloscream’s theme this year is “Hell on the Harbour” – so expect to be scared, thrilled and don’t expect to get much sleep that night. Demons will rove around the park, the mazes receive a terrifying upgrade and the Mystery Manor feels all the more bone-chilling. However, the highlight is set to be the Hell Parade, which is rumoured to mirror a Satanic ritual. More details are yet to be released, but one thing’s for sure: Halloscream is the must-do Halloween event in Sydney this year. Be sure to book your tickets quick smart – they are strictly limited, and you don’t want to miss walking through the signature mouth to your doom. Don’t forget to sample the special spooky snacks!
Just an hour and a bit on an ominous train ride from Sydney, you’ll hit Hawkesbury Showgrounds. Every Halloween, it transforms into Australia’s first dedicated “scream park,” otherwise known as Fearaphobia. Now in its fourth year, the 2019 iteration is going to be bigger, better and more hellish than ever. Fearaphobia is staffed by over 100 actors who take on the personas of not-so-friendly ghosts and ghouls, who will be wandering around the park to ensure you never feel at ease! There are seven main attractions: a facility of rampant zombies, a crypt which is exactly as creepy as you think, a corn field of monsters, a nightmareish doll factory, a freak show, medieval monk quarters and a “buried alive” simulation! If you feel like getting right into it, come in your Halloween getup – there is a prize for the "Best Worst Dressed" person every night. If you’re being confused for an actor, you know you’re doing something right. Halloween lovers and sceptics alike have raved about this experience – don’t miss it!
What’s spookier than one Halloween festival? Two…merged into one! This year, Melbourne’s infamous Spooktober event, formerly held at St Kilda Town Hall, is merging with Luna Dark, Melbourne’s own Luna Park Halloween festival. The result is Spooktober at Luna Dark – a harrowing experience you can enjoy for eight nights only. Melbourne’s Luna Park will be transformed into a Halloween haven of ghosts, ghouls, monsters and all those fun things! Those who fancy the hair-raising horrors of haunted houses will be pleased to learn they will be back in full force in 2019 – Halloween experts from the US have been recruited to design them! Those who think a black cat costume is terrifying should stick to the Haunted Fairytales House, where the tales you loved as a child take on a chilling – yet epic – twist. If you’re looking to be absolutely scared out of your wits, brave the Extreme Phobia House. Whatever your biggest fear is…you’ll find it there. There’s plenty of other weird and wonderful events happening around Spooktober at Luna Dark – so get in before tickets sell out!
Adelaide’s premier Halloween event is back in spooky force this year! Set in a quiet street in suburban Adelaide, this run-of-the-mill family home is transformed into Horbland Graveyard for three nights every Halloween. It’s a terrifying maze for which thousands of people line up around the block every year, desperate for the privilege of being scared sh*tless by some of the best zombies, ghosts, ghouls and monsters in the business. The maze is dark…super dark. It certainly doesn’t help that you feel someone breathing down your neck as you feel your way along the twisting and winding paths into every room, filled with fresh horrors beyond your wildest dreams (or nightmares!) Expect the unexpected – but there will be a healthy serving of optical illusions, chillingly convincing props and screams. Lots of screams. Don’t worry – there’s plenty of “chicken exits” for those who can’t hack it…and with décor like this, we can hardly blame you. Head to the Facebook page to buy tickets and plan a Halloween outing for the ages.
Love music festivals? Love Halloween? Love temperate tropical destinations?! Boy, have we got the ultimate treat for you! Electric Storm Festival is Australia’s biggest dedicated Halloween music festival, and it’s back again for its seventh year on October 26. A boutique selection of Aussie DJs will be kitted out in their best Halloween getup and equipped with some spooky good tunes when they take the stage on Mindil Beach, with the help of various undead backup dancers and performers. Whet your appetite with endless themed food and bev options…you’ll need your energy! We’re not entirely sure what to expect this year, but 2018 saw the advent of a Halloween Horror Maze to accompany the already scary talent on stage. We can only imagine 2019 will be the biggest year yet, so round up your crew, coordinate costumes and book your flights toot sweet! The lineup is yet to be announced, but keep an eye out on Facebook for the latest…and when tickets go on sale, run to that checkout like you’re running from an army of zombies.
You know a music festival is going to be a good’un when a rock magazine teams up with a beer company to produce it. Hysteria Magazine is Australia’s most treasured source for alternative music news, and in 2018, they teamed up with Young Henrys to bring Brisbane Halloween Hysteria – a Halloween-themed music festival for the ages. It was such a success that this year it’s literally doubled in size, taking place at The Valley Drive in Fortitude Valley in over two huge days in October. Headlined by Dead Letter Circus and Cosmic Psychos, this one is not to miss for anyone who likes loud rock tunes, Halloween, a great bloody time or all of the above. Being music lovers to their very cores, the Hysteria Team have expertly curated a lineup that has something for everyone: be it punk rock, metal or acoustic. Crash at Brisbane City YHA for the weekend – with a rooftop bool and bar, we promise we’ll help you keep those good vibes flowing.
Think dress-up parties are daggy? Well you won’t, when you find out there’s a bar tab up for grabs! In the heart of Perth CBD, Badlands Bar is one of the most loved live music venues in the entire city, with “respect” and “rock and roll” at the core of their philosophy. On November 1, they’re inviting you to come party dressed in your spookiest Halloween outfit. The freakier the better – because the winner will score a $200 bar tab! The Halloween festivities will be happening in the main room, but the side room will be reserved for “Emoween.” We don’t know exactly what this entails, but we’re guessing it will be reserved for everyone to break out the black nail polish and side fringes and listen to the emo tunes we were raised on (we all went through a phrase, don’t lie)! Whether you’re getting in the dress-up spirit or not, Badlands has endured because of its amazing beer garden (complete with food trucks) paired with its perfect range of basic drinks - in a world where we’re inundated with $20 schooners and cocktails that are sometimes a little too inventive.
The Apple Isle is home to some seriously chilling ghost tours – the perfect way to spend Halloween if you’re after something a little more than jump scares, cheap thrills and tizzy costumes. The kingpin of all of them, however, has to be Launceston Ghost Tours – 90-minute walking tours into the eerie past of Australia’s third oldest city. Once an early nineteenth century convict settlement, you will hear all the dark stories with absolutely no embellishment or candy coating – stories of violent and torturous deaths, the conditions the convicts lived in and more. You’ll experience loud noises, screaming and possibly unexplained paranormal experiences. You can expect all that and then some at the Port Arthur Ghost Tour, hearing vivid stories of mysterious events and happenings that affected convicts, settlers, soldiers and more. More than 10000 people died at Port Arthur in its brief 47-year history, and some say that the souls of the deceased never left. Follow the light of the lantern, and look alive…
We’ve saved the best for last! YHA’s history dates back to 1939, so we’ve been around a while…and so have the previous inhabitants of the buildings we’ve taken over in the last 80 years. Newcastle Beach YHA once provided accommodation for nurses during World War I. YHA took over the property in 1998, but the nurses haven’t disappeared entirely. Staff have received report of a female ghost wearing a nurse’s uniform in Room 10, the old matron’s quarters. Apparently, she appears at 2am to make sure the pesky backpackers have gone to bed on time – sometimes accompanied by a pet cat! So if you’re lucky enough to be assigned Room 10, better be on your best behaviour or you may get a telling off from the matron!
The spooks don’t stop there - Fremantle Prison YHA staff are often told by guests about an eerie presence in one of their shower blocks. Some months after the hostel opened in 2015, two former prison guards who used to work at the women’s prison came to visit to pay their respects to the only woman ever hanged in Western Australia, Martha Rendell. Her case was controversial and many did not believe she was guilty. They explored the hostel and then visited the cell block – turns out her former cell has been converted into a shower. The guards even asked if sometimes there is a strange feeling in the room, something which was not disclosed to them during their visit. Fact or fiction? Only one way to find out!