Manchester is clearly marking the way as one of the most innovative and interesting locations to celebrate the spooky season in the UK this year – with Halloween in the City bringing an immersive weekend of events, activities and offers to the city centre on Saturday 27- Sunday 28 October. There’s also events happening across the month, so keep updated on the ‘Events’ page to see the whole host of what is on offer.

This year includes buildings being ‘taken over’ by giant inflatable monsters, a dog show with a difference (it is spooky style!) and even the chance for you to become a world record-breaker – as an attempt to gather the most ‘bedsheet ghosts’ in one place is open to the public in Exchange Square! No wonder Manchester is on the map as go-to Halloween destination.

Most of the events are taking place in and around Exchange Square, the site of The Halloween Main Stage (complete with giant cemetery gates and gatekeeper) where you can enjoy a free feast of live music, entertainment and activities. Plus there will be street food and coffee too.

The fun also continues throughout the main shopping streets, including St Ann’s Square – which is home to a unique Enchanted Forest this year, complete with a Pumpkin Patch Sensory Play Zone, Magic School and Room on the Broom meet and greet. Plus there’s plenty to do on Market Street and in Manchester Arndale: which means this is a super-accessible celebration, open to all and most of it is free.

Halloween in the City is brought to Manchester by Manchester BID (Business Improvement District) which works with partners, retailers and cultural venues to celebrate a great big Halloween festival – so expect great in-store offers and spooky products from some city centre retailers too.

It sounds like there are plenty more treats than tricks this year, and following on from two successful years of Halloween in the City, 2018’s event is set to be the biggest and best yet. Here is just a selection of stand-out features from a massive line-up:

Ghostly World Record Attempt

Get yourself involved in a Ghostly World Record Attempt – to gather together the most bedsheet ghosts in one place, ever! You can make history in Manchester simply by grabbing a bedsheet and heading to Exchange Square on Saturday 27 October, where hundreds and hundreds of ‘ghosts’ are going to assemble 1pm-3pm. All you need to do before then is register in advance - click here to mark your attendance. Hosted by Heart DJs, this is set to be an afternoon of spooky fun and all for a great cause, raising money for Manchester’s homeless charity, Big Change Manchester.

Saturday 27 October, 1pm-3pm, FREE, Exchange Square (Main Stage).

Monster Invasion (and more!)

The monsters are coming! Tremendous tentacles, gutsy ghouls and mischievous monsters will be taking over the outsides of some of the city centre’s most iconic buildings – including the House of Fraser and Manchester Hall. These devilish decorations are on an enormous scale and will be climbing up buildings, peeping from windows and hiding in the trees across the city zone. Miss them at your peril. Even better, they go up ahead of the weekend of activities, so you will be able to find them from Thursday 25 onwards! Halloween in the City also sees a number of buildings ‘Go Green’ across the weekend, with many given a ghoulish green glow, plus there are pumpkin lanterns across the streets and creepy creatures peeping from windows at Afflecks, Debenhams and House of Fraser.

Monster Invasion: Thursday 25-Sunday 28 October, FREE, 35 Dale Street, Mayfield, Manchester Arndale - Exchange Square, Manchester Arndale – Market Street, Piccadilly Place, House of Fraser and Manchester Hall

Trick or Treat Trail

This is like a terrifying treasure hunt snaking around the city – ideal for adults and children alike. Pick up a map (which will be handed out on the day) and discover four trick or treat houses scattered throughout the centre… at each house, a mysterious monster waits to greet you. Even better, check off all four and collect a special sweet treat in St Ann’s Square!

Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 October, 10am-6pm, FREE, Market Street, Manchester Arndale (near Topshop), St Ann’s Square, House of Fraser

The Spooky Pooch Costume Show

A spooky-style dog show, where you can enter your pooch dressed in their Halloween best and be in with the chance of winning. Dogs are welcome with an owner, and registration is required online beforehand - click here to reserve your space and be sure to get yourself and your four-legged friend down! This is the chance not just to enter your dog, but to see the city’s canines at their cute and creepy best, the show taking place at the Main Stage in Exchange Square on Sunday 28 October, 1pm-3pm. Winners will leave with a treat and trophy… but surely everyone is a winner when there are so many cute pets around! Don’t have a dog? Come along and watch.

Sunday 28 October, 1pm-3pm, FREE, Exchange Square (Main Stage)

The Enchanted Forest

A section of St Ann’s Square is being transformed into The Enchanted Forest – with thirty beech trees - thanks to Real Oasis - creating a pop-up woodland which is home to a world of witches and magical creatures. Ideal for all the family, this includes a witches’ house from the Trick or Treat Trail, a witch boot camp, face painting, a sensory zone for the under 5s, and a chance to meet the witch from the popular children’s book Room on the Broom.

Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 October, 10am-7pm, FREE, St. Ann’s Square

Charlie Draper and his Theremin LIVE

Charlie Draper plays the Theremin, one of the eeriest electronic instruments ever invented – with the musician playing it by movement, rather than touch. Can you believe it? See this much-loved musician conjure majestic sounds on the Main Stage in Exchange Square on Saturday 27 October, 12-1pm. Prepare to be intrigued – as this is a very special Halloween set indeed.

Saturday 27 October, 12pm-1pm, FREE, Exchange Square (Main Stage)

The Royal Exchange Theatre presents SÉANCE

Exchange Street, just outside the Royal Exchange Theatre, is coming alive – with an utterly unique sound performance inside a shipping container – running from the 19 October, until the end of the month. Tickets must be booked beforehand for this immersive and inventive event brought to the city by The Royal Exchange Theatre. For twenty terrifying minutes, twenty people will experience a sonic performance like nothing they have heard before… and all in darkness. Expect to have your views on the superstitious and supernatural tested and shaken up, in what is a stand-out exercise in surprise and suspense. Thrill seekers, this is for you.19 –

31 October, Exchange Street. Book now

The Strolling Bones by Walk The Plank

There will be an energetic travelling procession of stilt walkers, skeleton puppets, unicycle performers, dancers and many more, all as part of a roaming performance titled ‘The Strolling Bones’ by creative collective Walk The Plank. This unique arrangement will be led by the intriguing Grimm Rita, and is an ideal piece of entertainment and photo opportunity. Don’t miss it making its way through the city at various times throughout the weekend.

Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 October, 12.30pm, 2pm & 3pm, FREE, Market Street and Manchester Arndale

The Freaky Festival feat. Baked Ala Ska

This is a massive family friendly festival-style party on Saturday afternoon, taking place at the Main Stage in Exchange Square – and it’s all free! There will be bands, DJs and a unique live set from 7-piece ska band Baked Ala Ska, so why not go along and get in the groove this Halloween?

Saturday 27 October, 3pm-5pm, FREE, Exchange Square (Main Stage)

Junkyard Golf Club – Fun of the FEARground

Who is ready for some ghoulish golf? A special Halloween themed golf course is coming to Market Street during the weekend, thanks to Junkyard Golf.  Can you make it a hole in one, especially when the course contains some circus creeps and fairground freakishness?  Free to play, hard to beat, winners will be entered into a competition to win free golf and food at Junkyard Golf.

Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 October, 10am-7pm, FREE, Market Street