Manchester is throwing one hell of a party this Halloween with a monster line-up of family-friendly events. 

With dozens of monsters and beasts popping up around every corner of the city, this year’s Halloween in the City event (30 & 31 October), organised by Manchester Business Improvement District, is set to be the biggest and baddest celebrations the city has hosted to date.

A massive monster party will hit the city’s streets including a giant rooftop monster invasion, a monster parade to welcome monsters descending on the city centre, a mad scientist’s exploded castle and pop-up lab, fairground fun at the Carnival of Monsters, spooky specials from CBeebies and CBBC, a monstrous photo trail across the city centre plus lots, lots more. Manchester’s citizens (both big and small) are encouraged to dress up, join in and be a part of the UK’s most monstrous celebrations this Halloween.

Highlights guaranteed to lift your spirits this year include:

Monsters Welcome Procession

New for 2021, this unmissable roaming performance from Walk the Plank – the creative minds behind the city’s Manchester Day parade – will welcome this year’s visiting monsters in spooktacular style! Expect a crazy procession of monster puppets and stilt walkers, alongside a five-piece band. Visitors are encouraged to dress up and bring homemade banners to welcome the monsters or drop by the Monster Lab where they can make one for free.

Market Street and Manchester Arndale

Saturday 30 October – 1pm, 3pm & 4pm

Sunday 31 October – 12pm, 1pm & 3pm


Manchester’s popular collection of giant inflatable monsters are back for 2021’s celebrations, with a couple of new beasts making their presence known! Invading rooftops and hanging from buildings, visitors won’t be able to miss Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas’ monster creations spread across nine locations in the city. Find them from 25 – 31 October at Manchester Arndale, Selfridges Exchange Square, Printworks, Cathedral Gardens Ice Rink, The Royal Exchange Manchester, Spinningfields, Great Northern, 111 Piccadilly and Kampus. 

Plus, on Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October they’ll be special monster appearances on New Cathedral Street and Exchange Square.   

Share your pics at @HalloweenMCR #MCRMonsters

Dr Mancenstein’s Castle & Gardens

At the home of Manchester’s mad-for-it scientist, Dr. Mancenstein, visitors can encounter dragons, giant marauding crows, Mr Arsenic the castle butler and eerie groundskeepers to name a few (oh, and watch out for the man-eating plants) in the ruins of her exploded castle, cemetery and gardens. Plus there’s a haunting number of photo opportunities among the spooky ruins. 

St Ann’s Square

Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October, 10am – 6pm

The Monster Lab

No ordinary laboratory, The Monster Lab is THE place to learn all about monsters and conduct some monstrous experiments! Dr. Mancenstein’s radioactive lab assistants will be on hand to help little ones create their own mini monsters and welcome banners for the procession and don’t miss the Monster Slime School.

Exchange Square

Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October

Monster Slime School: 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm

Build a Monster: Drop In

Carnival of Monsters

This family-friendly freakshow complete with a giant tentacled monster, roaming circus acts, sideshow stalls, a kids’ carousel and a traditional helter-skelter is not for the faint-hearted! 

New Cathedral Street

Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October, 10am – 6pm

Rides cost £1

Halloween in the City Photo Trail

With eight photo backdrops scattered across the city centre, visitors can strike their scariest pose and capture the perfect picture this Halloween. Backdrops are located at the following locations:

  1. Manchester Monster Skyline – Manchester Arndale
  2. Zombie Face – Exchange Square, Opposite Selfridges
  3. Aliens Have Landed – Exchange Square, Opposite Selfridges
  4. Spooky MCR Letters – Exchange Street, Near & Other Stories
  5. Creepy Castle Gates – St Ann’s Square, Near McDonalds
  6. Grimm Reaper – St Ann’s Square, Near McDonalds
  7. Dragon Sculpture – St Ann’s Square, Near McDonalds
  8. Marshmallow Man – inside Printworks

Don’t forget to tag @HalloweenMCR #HalloweenMCR

Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October, 10am – 6pm

The Keepers Nests

Encounter two giant magpie puppets as they stalk the streets in their rickety, ramshackle nests, in search of Manchester’s darkest secrets. Inspired by the ancient magpie rhyme “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told…..” these spellbinding puppets will be inviting visitors to share their own secrets on aged paper, then post them into the boxes faithfully carried in their silvered beaks. Will you entrust your secrets to them?

St Ann’s Square

Saturday 30 October – 1pm, 3pm & 4pm

Sunday 31 October 11am, 1pm & 2pm

CBeebies & CBBC Spooky Screenings
Get into the Halloween spirit with a series of spooky specials, including Scream Street, Shaun the Sheep, Go Jetters, and Pokémon.
Saturday 30 – Sunday 31 October, 10am – 6pm 
Royal Exchange Theatre
The Front Room, First Floor, M2 7DH

Monster DJ Truck

DJ Ghostman (who hides his identity with a bed sheet) will be playing all the Halloween hits and monster bops from his Monster DJ Truck parked up on Market Street. Expect a mix of chart toppers and spooky favourites and get ready to do the monster mash!

Market Street

Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October, 10am – 6pm

Scare Skate

Manchester’s outdoor ice rink at Cathedral Gardens will be getting into the spirit of Halloween with spooky music and lighting, with a band of ghoulish skating monsters joining skaters on the ice every hour! Fancy dress is encouraged. Skate by starlight under the cover of the rink’s roof and enjoy the atmosphere whatever the weather.

Cathedral Gardens

22 – 31 October

Prices start at £13 for adults and £11 for children, with discounted family and season tickets also available.


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