Think Twice Before Taking Your Kids To These Places On Halloween in Europe
Halloween is a celebration that needs no introduction! On the 31st of October, people all around the world will remember their dead. The celebrations are done in many different ways, as it all depends on the culture and tradition of each country. The general celebration is called All Saints Day.
But there is one way of celebrating it that all the children love: the traditional Halloween “Trick or Treat”. On the last night of October, children dress up as goblins, super heroes, princesses or witches and walk from door to door to ask for candy. Prepare to suffer the consequences if you don’t have any candy to give away… the little critters will stop at nothing to satisfy their sweet tooth!
Another Halloween activity that the kids enjoy is carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns.
Halloween is also the time when people like to get some thrills. Stories of haunted houses, ghosts and any other paranormal activity will keep everyone awake on Halloween night. If you live next to a haunted attraction, this is surely a good time to get cold sweat and goose bumps!
Although the “trick or treat” tradition is not as big in Europe as it is in the US, people still like to get a bit of a scare. And what better way to do this than by visiting come creepy and eerie areas such as cemeteries or off the beaten path museums!
To make your Halloween in Europe a moment you’ll always remember, here are some of the scariest places in Paris, London and Rome. You’ll probably want to think twice before taking your kids to these places…
HALLOWEEN IN PARIS
Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs of Paris is surely one of the most popular off-the-beaten-path tourist attractions in Paris. The reason why it is so popular is because it the largest ossuary in the world. Beneath the surface, in a maze of quarry tunnels lie the remains of over 6 million people… How scary is that for a Halloween holiday in Paris?
But the Catacombs of Paris is not only about neatly piled up human bones. There are many other curiosities to see, like the quarry tunnels themselves, impressive sculptures from a quarry worker and the 19th century consolidation structures that were built to avoid these tunnels from caving-in.
But the highlight remains the ossuary. In the late 18th century, all the cemeteries of Paris were closed due to health issues and the bodies were brought into the abandoned quarry tunnels. Among these bones are the remains of very famous French historical figures… With this in mind, a visit to the Catacombs of Paris becomes a must-do cultural visit.
If you want to go on a private tour of the Catacombs of Paris, book our Thrills at the Catacombs () tour now.
Special private family-friendly Halloween activities in Paris for you:
Manoir de Paris
The Manoir de Paris is Paris’ most frightening haunted house. This attraction is a must-do if you enjoy a good scare, but also if you enjoy stunning decors and make-up!
You’ll have to buy your tickets online (chose the skip-the-line option, as it is well worth it, unless you aren’t scared of waiting outside for a couple of hours!) and once you penetrate this Parisian mansion, that’s when the “fun” begins.
You will have to walk through different ambiances, from total darkness to a psychiatric hospital, and actors dressed as zombies or psycho serial killers will pop out of nowhere and give you the scare of your life!
Enough said, we would not want to spoil the fun by giving out too much information.
The Manoir de Paris is not recommended for children under the age of 10. It is also strictly forbidden for epileptic people or people with heart failure.
- Address: Le Manoir de Paris, 10 Rue du Paradis, 75010 Paris
- Metro : Château d’Eau (Line 4)
- Tickets: Buy your tickets here: http://www.lemanoirdeparis.com/plan-your-visit/ticket-prices/
The History of Medicine Museum (and more)
Fictional elements such as zombies or ghosts can be scary, but when it becomes real and tangible, that’s when things get a little creepier. And what better way to experience that than going to medical museums.
There are three places where you’ll need to have your stomach in place if you consider visiting them! And unless your children are aiming at becoming doctors, you might want to think twice before coming here… But on Halloween, aren’t those the thrills that people are looking for?
The Museum of the History of Medicine (“Musée de l’Histoire de la Médecine”) is located inside the University of Medicine. It is a small museum, so you might get lost in the halls of the university, but it’s not the worst place to get lost in! The Museum of the History of Medicine houses many ancient medical instruments and amputation kids for surgeons from the dawn of medicine to our modern times. The curiosity you cannot miss: the table made partially from human brain, blood, bile, liver and a foot!
- Address: Musée de l’Histoire de la Médecine, 12 Rue de l’Ecole de Médecine, 75006 Paris
- Metro: Odéon (line 4 & 10)
- Opening Hours: Open every day between 2PM and 5 :30PM except Thursdays and Sundays
- Price: €3.50
2 other off-the-beaten-track medical museums are worth a visit, but can only be visited on certain times and days, and reservations are necessary. The Musée Dupuytren holds a collection of the strangest human deformations and monsters all preserved in formaldehyde. The Syphilis museum displays numerous moldings of faces of people with syphilis. Warning: these 2 museums are really not for the faint hearted!
The Vampire and Imaginary Monsters Museum
The Vampire and Imaginary Monsters museum is not really a museum per se, it’s more of a private collection gathered by a man that has a passion for Dracula and its ilk.
You’ll have to call to make a reservation in order to visit the Vampire and Imaginary Monsters museum, but once you get there, you won’t be disappointed. The owner of this collection has not only gathered many objects and posters, but he really knows a lot about the subject. As a matter of fact, he has even written (or co-written) a few book about legends, symbols and their repercussion on our real world.
All these stories make this visit worthwhile, and if your children are big vampire fans, than this unique museum is surely the place to be on Halloween.
HALLOWEEN IN LONDON
If we tell you that the Hunterian Museum is part of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, than that will surely give you an idea of what you’ll see there.
Just like the previously mentioned museums in Paris, the Hunterian Museum is an off-the-beaten-path museum which displays thousands of human and non-human anatomical and pathological specimens, as well as instruments, paintings, sculptures and models. All these items illustrate the art and science of surgery from the 17th century to the present day.
This interesting collection started with the private collection of anatomist John Hunter (1728-1793), which was bought by the UK government in 1799.
Among the highlights of this museum, you will find the Evelyn tables (the oldest anatomical preparations in Europe) and the skeleton of the “Irish Giant”, Charles Byrne, who was 2.31m (7 ft 7) tall in the 1780s.
- Address: Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons of 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE
- Tube Stations: Holborn (Central & Piccadilly lines)
- Opening Time: From Tuesday to Saturday, 10AM to 5PM
- Price: Free
Special private family-friendly Halloween activities in London for you:
The London Ghost Bus Tour
This London attraction will surely please the whole family on Halloween if you like to have chills going up and down your spine.
The London Ghost Bus Tour is a theatrical sightseeing tour. Once on board a classic 1960 double decker bus, you will have the chance to discover the city’s sites of murder, torture and execution, including Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. You will also learn about the ghosts of London and all the secrets that are kept hidden from the population.
On board, you will also have the privilege to see a piece of comedy horror theater.
A real treat for the whole family.
Should you want to learn more about London’s criminals and dark past on a walking tour, book Family Twist’s Crime & Punishment tour.
The London Dungeon
If you had to choose only one haunting activity for Halloween in London, than it would have to be the London Dungeon. Located right in front of the London Eye, the city’s famous Ferris wheel, the London Dungeon is one of the most famous tourist attractions in London for kids, but also one of the most exciting. With live actors, special effects and 2 thrilling rides, you will re-live some of the most macabre events of London’s history for almost 2 hours…
- Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, City of London
- Nearest Tube station: Waterloo Station (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City lines)
- Price: between £29.50 and £32.00 for children (off season or peak) and £16.50 for adults
- Opening Hours: Weekdays from 10 AM to 5 PM. Weekends from 10 AM to 6 PM
HALLOWEEN IN ROME
Crypt of the Capuchin Monks
Warning: the visual content of this crypt may be disturbing for people that cannot stand the sight of human bones.
The Crypt of the Capuchin Monks is located under the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini near Piazza Barberini. Within this crypt, which is comprised of several tiny chapels, lie the remains of 3,700 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars buried by their order. The walls and ceiling are all covered in human bones. Although the Catholic order insists that this display is a “silent reminder of the swift passage of life on Earth and our own mortality”, the sight of it is still quite macabre.
The monks arrived at the church in 1631 and started covering the walls of the crypt with bones of 300 deceased friars they had taken with them. Each time a monk passed away, he was buried for 30 years, then exhumed to make room for newly deceased. The newly exhumed bones were added to the existing macabre decor.
- Address: The Crypt of the Capuchin Monks, Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, 00187 Roma, Italy
- Metro Station: Barberini
- Opening Hours: 9AM to 7PM (proper attire required)
- Price: €8.50 for adults and €6.00 for children under 16
Special private family-friendly Halloween activities in Rome for you:
The Vatican Necropolis lies, as you might expect, under the Vatican City, right under Saint Peter’s Basilica. This area might not be as macabre as the Capuchin Crypt, nor is it very frightening, but the cultural aspect of the Vatican Necropolis makes it a highly interesting place to visit when in Rome with kids during Halloween.
The necropolis, during ancient Rome, was a regular open air cemetery, but it became the necropolis it is today after Emperor Constantine 1 decided to build Saint Peter’s Basilica (the old one) on top of Apostle Peter’s grave.
Tours of the Vatican Necropolis have to be arranged in advance. All you need to do is contact the office of the Necropolis and specify the date and language of the tour. The visit lasts about 1.5 hours and only small groups are allowed inside for conservation efforts.
- Address: Vatican City
- Metro station: Ottaviano
- Opening Hours: Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 6PM
- Price: €13 per person (no discount for children)
The Catacombs of Rome are ancient underground burial places, which have been used since the 2nd century AD. Not only is this a chilling experience when in Rome with children during Halloween, but it’s also a very interesting cultural visit. The Catacombs of Rome are extremely important for the art history of early Christian art: these 2,200 year old tombs contain frescos, sculptures and objects of great value to historians.
The Roman custom was to cremate their dead, but from the 2nd century AD, being buried became more popular, regardless of the religion, and the dead were placed in graves or elaborately carved sarcophagi. This “trend” resulted in the opening of the Catacombs of Rome.
There are many Catacombs in Rome and unless you are passionate about burial traditions of Ancient Rome, here are the most highly recommended catacombs: St Callixtus, Domitilla, Marcellino, Pietro and Priscila.
Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory
If you are interested by the unexplained, then this is a perfect visit for you and your children.
The tiny Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory (Piccolo Museo Del Purgatorio) houses a collection of items said to have been signed by the hands of souls in purgatory. These items include prayer books, bibles, clothes and tabletops and all fit into one glass case.
It is believed that the scorched hand-prints and burn-marks gathered in this museum are the product of souls begging their loved ones on Earth to pray harder for their ascent to heaven.
Victor Jouet, the collector, created this purgatorial museum after a fire destroyed a part of the church, leaving behind the image of a face that he believed was a trapped soul…
- Address: Piccolo Museo Del Purgatorio, Lungotevere Prati 12, Rome, 00193
- Metro: Spagna
- Opening Hours: Monday through Friday from 7:30AM to 11AM and from 4PM to 7PM