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Your ghoulish guide to Halloween in Sydney and NSW

October 31, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Sydney and NSW have plenty to offer in the way of tricks, treats, costumes and fun haunted happenings for tonight, Halloween. The City of Sydney has produced a handy Halloween guide and Destination NSW has come up with a spooky roundup of activities farther afield, including disclosing the identity of Australia’s most haunted house, a colonial mansion bearing a dark history of murder, torture and insanity.  

First, here’s the City of Sydney’s official selection.


Hey Presto Magic Studio, 6/233 Harris Street, Pyrmont
If you prefer tricks to treats, Hey Presto is a magician’s must-visit. For everyone from beginner tricksters to professional illusionists, this one-of-a-kind magic shop has the card tricks, coin tricks, accessories, magic sets, and more to make sure you make some mischief this Halloween.

Looking for some pointers? Hey Presto also offers private magic lessons for both kids and adults. Learn the basic principles of magic and some close-up sleights of hand – you’ll be a big hit at your Halloween party.

Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle Ghost Tours


If Halloween is just another excuse to satisfy your sweet tooth (as if you need one!), Sydney’s cupcake bakeries have you covered, too.

Sparkle cupcakery, 132 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills

This Surry Hills sweetery is baking up Halloween-themed cupcakes 27 to 29 October and 31 October only. Choose between a half-dozen for $39 and a dozen for $69; each box features Sparkle’s classic cupcakes topped with ghosts as well as salted-caramel cupcakes sporting an orange-for-Halloween decorative dot. These festive mini desserts make for a great gift for your Halloween party hosts, a perfect afternoon-tea treat for your workmates, or a delicious indulgence for yourself!

Black Velvet Sydney, 3a/110 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst

For more kooky, spooky cupcakes, darken this Darlinghurst doorstep. In honour of 31 October, Black Velvet Sydney has three options on offer. For a smaller sugar hit, pick the dozen Halloween mini-cupcakes ($43). Available in vanilla and red velvet, these little treasures feature ghosts, pumpkins, bats, witches’ hats, and tombstones.

Halloween Lithgow, Street Parade

For full-size cupcake decadence, opt for the half-dozen Halloween cupcakes deluxe ($43). Black Velvet decorates these six with edible gold paint and black-and-white Halloween trimmings. Or, to really up the gore factor a bit, select the half-dozen grossly named pus pimple cupcakes ($47). These gruesome but toothsome full-sized cupcakes boast a squeezable pus decoration.

Ghoulish get-ups

Halloween is synonymous with fancy dress, and Sydney’s many costume shops and party-supply stores are ready to outfit you with a masquerade to remember.

Snog the Frog, 10 Hart Street, Surry Hills

This Surry Hills establishment carries the latest costumes – more than 9000 pieces for hire – for men, women, children, and even your pets! You’ll find adult costumes; beards, moustaches, and wigs; jewellery; crazy contact lenses; hats; make-up, shoes, weapons; fake teeth; and more.

To accommodate your eleventh-hour Halloween needs, Snog the Frog is extending its hours this week. Plus, you can dial your costume up a notch by getting your make-up done professionally; the shop will have in-store artists on-site Saturday 28 October. Be sure to book: Email or call (02) 9690 2001.

Sydney Party Decorations, 78 Liverpool Street or 147A King Street

Open 365 days a year, this one-stop party shop has all of your last-minute Halloween party provisions, from costumes, props, and accessories to decorations and dinnerware.

The Costume Shop, 19/198-222 Young Street, Waterloo

The Costume Shop prides itself on its ‘high-quality character, contemporary, and period costumes for performance, fun, and entertainment’. From the scary to the celebrity, this Waterloo emporium features a wide range of Halloween costumes for sale and more than 10,000 costumes for hire. What’s more, the experienced and friendly staff are on hand to give you tips and tricks on hair, make-up, and accessories.

Ghostly get-togethers

All dressed up now, and no place to go? Let us help you with that with these haunted happenings around town. With cruises, themed activities, and other social events, your Halloween is sure to be a scream!

Jurassic Lounge: Halloween
Head to the Australian Museum and blend in as a creepy creature at this Halloween-themed version of the museum’s famed Jurassic Lounge. Costumes are encouraged! Jurassic Lounge: Halloween takes place Saturday 28 October from 7pm to 10.30pm. This adults-only soiree promises to take fright night to the next level, with a Halloween silent disco, death by yoga, vampire meditation, a ‘Thriller’ dance lesson, date roulette, live snakes and bats, gashes and wounds make-up artists, and more. Plus, you’ll have access to all the museum’s galleries, bars, and food.

Halloween Sydney Harbour Cruise
On Friday 27 October, hop aboard this three-hour, all-inclusive cruise at Darling Harbour for an eerie and entertaining evening on the water. From 7.30pm to 10.30pm and for just $59 (strictly 18+), show off your costume; enjoy beer, wine, soft drinks, and pizza; and dance to wake the dead.

Pumpkin-carving workshop
The jack-o-lantern – it’s the ultimate Halloween icon and decoration. And this adults-only workshop is your chance to hone some killer carving skills. Bring your imagination – and your own pumpkin – to the Maiden Theatre in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden on 31 October from 9.30am to 12.30pm to learn some creative carving techniques, from the basic to the ornate. All skill levels are welcome, and tickets cost $65.

Sydney Zombie Walk
Keep that Halloween spirit alive (or, at least, undead) even after 31 October by participating in the Sydney Zombie Walk on 4 November from 3pm to about 5pm. Part of Zombie Fest, the Sydney Zombie Walk aims to raise awareness for Australia’s Brain Foundation – and have a bit of fun while you’re doing it. Plus, you can walk off some of those trick-or-treat lollies you’ve been eating. The walk starts in Prince Alfred Park near Central Station. Make-up artists and vendors will be on hand before the walk to help ‘zombify’ your face.

Jenolan Caves, lantern-lit ghost tour

Now, Destination NSW’s input:

Ten nightmarish places to get your Halloween fix in NSW

Regional New South Wales is home to some of Australia’s most ghostly destinations that will have thrill-seekers reaching for the light switch. Among the spooky spots are the nation’s most haunted house, Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee, Maitland Gaol, and the ghostly town of Milparinka.

Destination NSW chief executive Sandra Chipchase said, “NSW is filled with unnerving stories of bygone days and has plenty of spooky places to explore as well as spine-tingling tours to join that will have your heart pounding this Halloween.”

Here are nine terrifying tours and ghostly encounters in regional NSW guaranteed to make your hair stand on end:

Terrifying Halloween Trumpkin

  1. Monte Cristo Homesteadin the town of Junee is reputed to be Australia’s most haunted house. This beautifully renovated and decorated colonial mansion bears a dark history of murder, torture and insanity. It is said to be haunted by at least 10 ghostly entities who all met untimely ends on the site. The current owner runs ghost tours through the mansion and shares the stories of homestead’s fascinating and frightening past with anyone brave enough to listen.
  1. Maitland Gaol has an intriguing history as a maximum security prison that has housed some of Australia’s most hardened and notorious criminals. Operating for 150 years, the gaol was closed in 1998 and has since become one of the State’s premier heritage-listed sites. Maitland Gaol which remains untouched since the day the gates were shut, and visitors can explore the prison day or night on a self-guided audio tour or the guided Ghost Hunting 101 tour.
  1. The Jenolan Cavesare Australia’s most impressive limestone caves and one of the largest cave systems in the world. Situated in the Blue Mountains, 11 caves are open to the public to explore the dark chambers, underground rivers and awe-inspiring cave formations. The local Gundungurra people know Jenolan as Binoomea which means ‘the dark place’, and a number of ghostly tales have emerged over the years mostly connected to James Wiburd, Jenolan’s third caretaker from 1903. It is believed that Wiburd loved the place so much that he never left, lingering to keep an eye on things. Those staying the night can check into Caves House for warm country hospitality, cosy log fires and a thrilling lantern-lit ghost tour of the caves.
  1. In Newcastle, NSW’s second oldest city, the dark still haunts every corner, alley way and historic building. On a night walking tour learn about the dark past and intriguing events going all the way back to the convict times when prisoners worked in leg irons in Newcastle’s underground mine shafts and built many of the city’s buildings.
  1. Milparinka in Outback NSW is a living heritage site in a dramatic desert setting; to others it is a ghost town. The town’s colonial buildings, including a police barracks, lockup and courthouse, have been lovingly restored as part of the Milparinka Heritage Precinct and provide insight into life in Milparinka in its mining heyday. Nearby you’ll find the ruins of Mount Browne, the site of former goldfields, and Depot Glen, where you can visit the grave of James Poole, one of Charles Sturt’s men who explored this region in the 1840s. For a true glimpse into what living in a remote Outback settlement was like you can volunteer at the Milparinka Heritage Precinct.
  1. The Berrima Courthouse in the Southern Highlands has a sinister history including hangings, while the nearby goal, built by convicts in the 1800s, had a reputation as an incredibly cruel place to spend time. A tour of the courthouse includes simulations with realistic mannequins and audio commentary, while the night ghost-hunting tours try to search and make contact with the spirits that reside there.
  1. Tim the Yowie Man, Australia’s only cryptonaturalist (someone who aims to prove the existence of folklore characters such as Yowies and Bigfoot) runs tours of Lake George and Collector, one of Australia’s most historic and haunted villages. Tim takes you back to the era of bushrangers where you’ll visit a hidden convict canal, one of Australia’s oldest pubs and explore the hidden underbelly of the historic village.
  1. Take a walk on the dark side at Trial Bay Gaol in Arakoon National Park on the NSW North Coast, and hear the stories of the prisoners who endured hard labour. The stories of crime, punishment and German internees during World War I, the ship wrecks and the region’s dark maritime history will have you wondering if spirits still call this gaol home.
  1. Now in its fifth year, Halloween Lithgow sees this town in Country NSW over-run with ghosts, ghouls and zombies for a day and night of Halloween festivities. From spooky lighting displays to a ghost train, a street parade and trick or treating for the young and old, Lithgow truly embraces all things Halloween on Saturday 28 October.
  1. Step inside an original 1870s mine at Bald Hill Tourist Mine. Explore the mine shaft, and the dangerous subterranean world of a colonial miner, on a guided tour that includes demonstrations of tap mining techniques. As you look into the 80 metre-long tunnel or climb the 30 metre-high ladder to exit via the ventilation shaft, keep an eye out for the ghosts of the former miners who lost their lives underground. Chilling.

Destination NSW invites you to share your favourite haunted house and spooky encounters in NSW with us on social media by using the hashtag #ILoveSydney or #NewSouthWales.

Edited by Peter Needham

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