Trick-or-treating is a relatively new custom but when Auckland Museum celebrates Halloween next weekend it will explore the traditions of a festival that is hundreds of years old.
On Saturday and Sunday night [October 29 and 30] the museum will open its doors at 6pm and Halloween-goers will be free to roam the unlit galleries among an unusual line-up of ghouls and spooks.
Halloween characters drifting through the galleries will include Ursula the witch, a vampire, the Grey Lady ghost, Miss Melissa and her crazy divination station and Brian and his live creepy crawlies.
Museum visitors are being encouraged to dress up for the occasion – there’s a fancy dress parade with prizes to cap off the evening – and event developer Jo Brookbanks says the night’s activities will also explore where the costume-wearing tradition came from.
“There are a lot of customs connected with Halloween, like treats and the dressing up, and we carry them on because they make it a fun night but it is really interesting to look at the origins.
“In the UK there was ‘souling’ early last century where people would go door to door singing and saying prayers for the dead in return for cakes. In the late 1800s in Scotland people dressed up and went “guising” with lanterns and received cakes, fruit and money from the houses they visited.”
"A lot of the customs that have been absorbed into Halloween are part of rituals from different cultures around remembering their dead or, for some of the more superstitious behaviours, they have been adapted from rituals that were about warding off evil spirits.
"The theme for this Halloween at the Museum is Ancient Origins and Spooky Superstitions so we can all learn a bit more about that on the night."
Apart from the ghoulish characters wandering the museum floors, the event will also feature Jack O’Lantern stories, a special ghostly host and a large chocolate fountain.
On arrival visitors will be given a special Halloween at Auckland Museum map to help them navigate the galleries and discover the activities and characters in their own time.
“We’ve set it up so people can explore to their heart’s content, at their own pace, and then gather back in the main foyer for more activities and treats,” says Brookbanks.
The museum hosted Halloween at the Museum for the first time last year, attracting a capacity crowd both nights, and organisers are looking forward to this weekend’s events which are “different to anything else on the calendar”.
Halloween at the Museum
Pick your night – 6pm to 8.30pm
Saturday Oct 29 or Sunday Oct 30
Bring a torch and don’t forget to dress up!
Tickets are $20 pp
For more information visit our calendar listing.
Bookings are essential.
Group bookings of 10 or more $15 pp – phone 306 7048.
For more information please contact:
021 899 062