ACT News

Where to celebrate Halloween 2014 in Canberra

Come face to face with your biggest fears at the National Museum of Australia on Friday night – being buried alive, eating a dead bug, meeting a goggle-eyed skeleton with a tarantula on its head. 

All with a cocktail in your hand.

The museum is hosting a "fear" themed party on Halloween as part of its Night at the Museum series of events.

The institution is not the only one getting into the spirit – Canberra's bars and pubs are also hosting a number of Halloween parties in the capital.

But while there may be a parade of post-work zombies, witches and fake Amy Winehouses in Civic on Friday night, the museum wants to make you think a little bit about your deepest fears.

Community outreach coordinator Luke Cummins said the Night at the Museum would explore all the different ways that we feel fear and horror.

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"We try to give people an experience, so when the theme is fear, we try to let people experience that emotion as well as just coming along," he said.

The inspiration for the adults-only Night at the Museum series comes from the Eternity gallery at the museum, which has exhibits drawing on 10 different emotions such as joy, love, devotion, thrills, and loneliness. 

"We've decided that we're going to start exploring all those different emotions in different Nights at the Museum. Because it always relates back to a collection item or idea or an event in Australia's social history," Mr Cummins said.

So there's the "try before you die" coffin which gets people to think about death while they're still alive. You can get buried alive in the coffin. There will be a live colony of huntsman spiders under the watchful eye of a genetic biologist from the Australian National University. 

"The Australian Federal Police have kindly donated some forensic specialists. They're doing a murder scene for us complete with blood splatters and the idea behind that is you get to solve the murder with them," he said.

And you can also confront a totally different type of fear – there will be an open mic session for would-be comedians.

"The whole idea behind that is the fear of public speaking. A lot of people are terrified about getting up in front of other people," Mr Cummins said.

"We've been working with Comedy ACT to get some local talent but we've also got some fresh blood who are getting their very first go."

Mr Cummins said the idea was to push the boundaries for people and give them a fun night out. "It's nice to do the unexpected. The more we ask people [about their fears] the more things pop up. It's a very rich seam."

A Night at the Museum: Fear is at the National Museum of Australia on Friday, October 31, at 6pm. $10. Bookings from  nma.gov.au/nightmuseum

Other ways to celebrate Halloween in Canberra

Charity Zombie Walk: Dress as a zombie and shuffle through Canberra to raise money for the Brain Foundation. All ages. Meet at Regatta Point on Saturday, November 1, at 3pm. Free. See canberrazombiewalk.com 

Day of the Dead Fiesta: Los Chavos and the Canberra Musicians Club host three events in two days. Garema Place, after the Zombie Walk, Saturday, November 1. Australian-Croatian Club, 68 McCaughey Street, O'Connor on Saturday, November 1, from 6.30pm. Iron Bar, Sunday November 2, at 1pm. See facebook.com

Blue Light Disco: Just for kids. A Halloween-themed party for primary-school aged children run by the PCYC. $5. Saturday, November 8, from 5pm-7pm. 17 Grattan Court, Wanniassa. See pcyc.net.au

Canberra International Film Festival: The festival features two horror films on Halloween: an Iranian feminist vampire romance, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, and French zombie soccer film Goal of the Dead. Dendy, Canberra Centre. Friday, October 31. See canberrafilmfestival.com.au 

King O'Malleys: Carved pumpkins, prize for best dressed. City Walk, Civic. Friday, October 31. 6.30pm.

Hopscotch Bar: Magicians, apple bobbing, trick or treating, cocktail specials.  Friday, October 31. 5 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Seefacebook.com/hopscotchbraddon

Knightsbridge Penthouse: Costumes, themed drinks and trick or treat. Friday, October 31. See facebook.com

Mooseheads Pub: Parties on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1. 105 London Circuit, Civic. 

Beach Burrito Company: Dia de Los Muertos theme all weekend. 181 City Walk, Civic.

Halloween Burlesque: The Sass and Tease Collective are putting on a Halloween burlesque show. Teatro Vivaldi, Australian National University. Friday, October 31, at 7pm. Tickets $25-$30. See sassandteasecollective.com ✓

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