Halloween in Sydney: A Guide to the Best Parties, Ghost Tours, Costumes, and More

One of my very favorite holidays is just around the corner once again. Halloween hits town this Saturday, and my preparations are well under way. While Australia isn’t nearly as festive as the U.S. when it comes to this holiday, it’s grown in popularity even in just the two years I’ve lived here, and there’s plenty to do this Halloween weekend. Here is my guide to some of the best events and ideas for a spooky Sydney celebration.

Pumpkins carved by my Sydney friends this weekend

Pumpkins carved by my Sydney friends this weekend

What am I gonna be for Halloween?

Ahh, the question we all ask ourselves every October. (Don’t mind the esoteric reference to this song from a McDonald’s cassette I owned as a kid and still get stuck in my head every year.) With most of my belongings still back in the U.S., my options for a DIY costume are more limited, although I’d say I did pretty well last year as Agent Scully and the year before as a devil.

X-Files Agent Scully costume, Sydney, Australia

The X-Files episode 10×01: Scully gets an awful dye job and visits the Sydney Opera House

This year, my costume comes from Smiffy’s, an online costume shop and party supply store with an impressive selection of Halloween goodies. I’ve chosen a costume called “Baroque Fantasy” and turned it into something a bit more sinister with their Make Up FX Halloween Kit. I have to say, I’m kind of in love with it. I hate to ruin the surprise before Halloween rolls around, but I did a dress rehearsal of the costume and makeup today, and it’s looking pretty darn cool.

Loving my new look. Knife not included.

Loving my new look. Knife not included.

I’d forgotten how much fun dressing up can be! Smiffy’s also orders free same day delivery on orders over $50, so that’s pretty handy for anyone who is still struggling to find something that suits them this Halloween. Check out their full selection here.

Jack-o-lantern credit goes to my talented friend Tesni

Jack-o-lantern credit goes to my talented friend Tesni

Spook yourself out on a ghost tour

If you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit (ha), Sydney offers some fantastic ghost tours. I’ve checked out two myself. For a spooky tour full of fascinating Sydney history, check out The Rocks Ghost Tour. I took the tour last night and had a frighteningly fun time. Our spirited (ha, there I go again) tour guide regaled us with creepy, gory tales of the historical neighborhood that shine a whole new light on the city’s history. I’ll be sharing a full review of this tour later in the week. The Rocks Ghost Tour is also offering a special Halloween tour this Saturday. I’d definitely recommend giving one of them a try!

The Rocks Ghost Tours, Sydney, Australia

Our ghost host for the evening, Gary

The Quarantine Station near Manly has a truly terrifying tour of the quarters that once housed infected immigrants in the 19th century. As I wrote when I took the tour, it’s quite possibly the best tourist experience I’ve had in my two years in Australia and a perfect Halloween activity. They’re also hosting a hair-raising Halloween party this Saturday. Warning: not for the faint of heart!

TimeOut has a useful guide to some of the other ghost tours around Sydney.

Haunt a ghoulish gala

If you want to dance with the devil and boogie with the bogeyman, Sydney offers quite a few Halloween parties. Network Canada/Sydney Americans hosts “the biggest Halloween party in Australian history,” Halloween International, at Ivy, with giveaways, alcohol tastings, games, DJs and more. I had a great time at this party last year and will be sure to stop by this Friday.

As a long-time Rocky Horror fan, I forced these guys at last year's party to take a photo with me

As a long time Rocky Horror fan, I forced these guys at last year’s party to take a photo with me

The Australian Museum is the setting for the Jurassic Lounge Halloween Party this Friday, where you can party among the museum’s dinosaur skeletons like it’s 65,000,000 BC, take a Monster Mash dance lesson, join a silent disco, watch a live brain dissection (!!) and more.

TimeOut also has a guide to the best Halloween parties in Sydney that you can find here.

Make Halloween your own

If the above activities aren’t enough, host your own Halloween celebration! I decorated my apartment to the nines (I went a little crazy buying decorations when I was home in the U.S. last month) and had friends over this weekend for pumpkin carving, introducing the Australians and Brits of the group to the magic of jack-o-lanterns. It was a resounding success, if I do say so myself!

Pumpkin carving party, Sydney

What a talented bunch!

So there you have it, my suggestions for an eerily entertaining Halloween in Sydney. How will you be celebrating this Saturday? How have you celebrated around the world?

Disclaimer: I received free samples from Smiffy’s and was a guest of The Rocks Ghost Tours and Quarantine Station Ghost Tours, but all opinions are entirely my own.

18 Responses

  1. Kathy Jeffries says:

    What a fun post! You definitely got me in the SPIRIT for Halloween!

  2. Aw last year we introduced the Aussies to pumpkin carving too! This year I actually have a hen’s party and everyone is dressing up.

  3. Laura Lynch says:

    I love carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds! We are usually out of town on Halloween traveling, so we don’t go to many parties. Such a fun holiday though!

  4. I have to confess I’m not big on Halloween, being from the UK it’s only just becoming a big deal here. Last year I was in New York and they really know how to go all out, it was kind of catching! Looks like Sydney knows how to celebrate too. Fun fact: I’m from Isle of Man and there it’s called ‘Hop Tu Nae’.

  5. Elvira says:

    Ah so fun to see everyone dress up. And then with a horror spooky vibe. I think one of those ghost tours would be a perfect start of a Halloween weekend! It is not a big thing here in the Netherlands but more and more there are parties held to get dressed up and go nuts!

  6. Do they go trick-or-treating in Australia?

    • I’m not around many families, and I haven’t yet lived in a place where kids would go trick-or-treating, but, from what I hear, it is growing in popularity. It still hasn’t caught on completely, but some certainly do!

  7. Karla says:

    Love your costume! 🙂 Definitely interested in trying out some ghost tours too but i’m not quite sure if i can even survive one. Hahahaha Happy Halloween!

  8. Anne Cohen says:

    I love this post! I just stumbled across your blog! Very happy I did! Happy Halloween 🙂

  9. christine says:

    looks like a lot of fun. love your costumes!!!

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