Most South Africans still feel that Halloween is just another day. We’re generally hard as nails. The supernatural doesn’t scare us – we’re a lot more concerned about the ‘real’ things in life.
Home Affairs scares us.
Unemployment scares us. When we flush somebody else’s toilet and the water keeps on rising scares us. Uninsured car theft scares us. Though, Jacob Zuma’s ability to stay in power could be seen as absolute witchcraft, and that may sway a few non-believers.
<insert maniacal laughter here>
Though the spooky holiday is mainly celebrated in the US, it’s starting to catch on in other parts of the world. Some South Africans, particularly the younger generation, look forward to the opportunity to dress up and get a little silly.
We’re no strangers to the paranormal and creepy. The sheer amount of people who believe in the tokoloshe, ghosts, UFO sightings and mermaids are testament to this.
We may even go a little over the top sometimes. Advertised specifically toward people who want to ‘cause some controversy’ this Halloween, a truly tasteless costume popped up on Amazon a while ago.
The item has since been rightfully pulled from Amazon’s site, and is no longer available.
Anyway, on to happier things. Let’s have a look at the best Halloween celebrations happening in South Africa this year.
South African Horrorfest (Cape Town)
Not looking forward to a night of Nightmare Before Christmas reruns on every single TV channel? Kicking off the 13th SA Horrorfest tonight, 25 October, is the screening of Darell Roodt’s new film, Siembamba at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town. Cinephiles and lovers of literature alike will be treated to horror, shock and gore over the 10-day festival. Some classic films on show include Metropolis and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Also, for those in the mood for something a little more intimate, there’s the Bloody Parchment literary event. Hosted by Nerine Dorman, Bloody Parchment will feature live readings of spine-chilling tales.
The Haunted Forest (Johannesburg)
Hosted at the Riversands Farm Village, the theme of this year’s Haunted Forest is ‘Theatre Bizarre.’
Participants follow a trail of fire-eaters, performers and other extraordinary acts down a path through the Haunted Forest. Expect fog, spiders, ghouls and beasties to creep up on you from the exclusive sets.
Wear a costume with comfortable walking shoes – tickets cover a 2km forest walk and a movie ticket. You can bring your own picnic basket along, but there are also food vendors and a bar. There is also a kid-friendly equivalent, The Haunted Woods, featuring big screen movies, face painting and thrilling surprises along a 2km walk.
Halloween Night Trail Run (Durban)
For a truly terrifying experience, participants are equipped with a gold watch and made to run through Phoenix and Chatsworth.
That’s a joke.
For those into a bit of light exercise, Holla Trails presents a ghostly 5km night trail run in Balito. Live bands and professional makeup artists will be on hand to set the mood. Round up your friends for teams of 4 and have a good time with the social relay race.
HQ’s Day of the Dead Party (Cape Town)
HQ’s popular Dia de los Muertos party returns on Saturday, 28 October. Theatrical costumes and makeup are used to celebrate the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. Don Julio cocktails on arrival, DJs on the dance floor and makeup artists are there to get the party started.
The best part? The event is entirely free, but you’ll have to book before attending.
Alice in Wonderland Halloween Party (Centurion)
Live bands include the Black Cat Bones, Veranda Panda and Bittereinder. Don your mad hats and cheshire cat smiles for a themed evening of beer, music, food, pumpkin carving competitions and alternative market shopping.
Kids can collect their free candy bags at the gate and go around to the vendors for a bit of Trick-or-Treating until 3pm.
Halloween Comedy Night (Johannesburg)
For those into something a little less spooky and a little more hysterical. Famous Monte Casino comedy club, Parker’s, will be hosting a spooky stand up comedy gig. Prizes go to the best dressed, with raffles, auctions and scares throughout the evening.
It all goes to a good cause, too. All proceeds from tickets bought through Barking Army SA will go to animal charities.
Arcade Empire (Pretoria)
For those throwing a no-alcohol, vegan friendly Halloween party this year, of course I’ll be there. I’ll be dressed as the Invisible Man.
But for those thinking of going as, well, ‘intoxicated’ this Halloween, the folks at Arcade Empire have put together a killer line-up for their 2017 Halloween bash. Fokofpolisiekar, Alien Ant Farm (US), Tweak an many more will be taking to stage. Dress code is ‘come as you aren’t’ – because who wants to dress up in a suit and tie for Halloween?
Tickets are selling out fast. The event will be held at the eerie Voortrekker Monument Amphi Hall on the 28th and will be no under-18’s. Expect things to get wild and creepy in a hurry.
Because it’s P-Town.
Zombie Walk (Cape Town)
The biggest and baddest Halloween event in the country. In its eighth run this year, Zombie Walk returns to the streets of Cape Town.
The walk is a one hour stagger, starting in the Company Gardens in the city centre, in full zombie or zombie-apocalypse survivor get-up. Everybody goes all out for this event. Last year saw 3500 worm-eyed, decaying corpses making their way through the city streets.
There are no age restrictions for the main event, and even pets are allowed. The after party though, at the finish line of Madison Avenue, is for over-18’s only.
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