Fri 30 Oct 2020
Get out of your comfort zone both indoors and out this Halloween with some spooky suggestions from Derby Parks and Derby Libraries.
Derby has previously made a name for itself as one of the most haunted cities in the UK. With over 315 sightings of ghosts around the city it is no wonder that Derby is fondly known as 'The Dead Centre of England'. If you want to go ghost hunting yourself this Halloween, why not take a trip to Darley and Nutwood Local Nature Reserve and visit the Spooky Temple? Previously an old folly, there are rumours that, at dusk, you can hear the ghosts of Victorian aristocrats slurping their tea and chomping on cake. If you’re lucky, you might even catch sight of one or two!
If ghosts are what you’re looking for this Halloween, see if you can spot the old gate keeper of Derby who frequents under St. Mary’s Bridge, walking towards the chapel and jangling his keys. Or perhaps during your next visit to Chaddesden Park you will see the ghost of the old butler of Chaddesden Hall roaming around above where the rumoured old cellars are buried.
If ghost hunting isn’t your thing, why not visit our parks this Halloween to see all the creepy crawlies? At Allestree Park, there are hundreds of different spiders for you to find, including the Four-spotted Orb Weaver, noticeable by it's banded legs and four white spots on it's abdomen. Or you might see the stripy Zebra Jumping spider in one of our parks, as they frequent areas close to people. These harmless spiders are only little, but might give you a bit of a fright if they jump at you!
Or for a more fuzzy fright this Halloween, look up at the sky while in one of our parks to see bats swooping through the night. Now that the clocks have changed, the bats are coming out earlier giving you a better chance of seeing one. In Alvaston Park we also have bat boxes to offer the bats a place to rest during the day – if you look up at the trees on your next visit, you may be able to see them. Many different bat species can be found at Alvaston Park including Common pipistrelle, Soprano pipistrelle and Daubenton's bat – but don’t worry, none of these species can turn into vampires! You can also often see a cloud of bats flying together along River Derwent, so make sure to look up at night when walking there to catch as sight of these fascinating nocturnal creatures.
If you’d rather stay indoors this Halloween, there is still no place to hide from the spookiness of Derby Parks. Before John Loudon gifted Derby Arboretum to the city in 1840, his wife wrote a book called The Mummy! back in 1827! This novel was the first English-language story that told of a reanimated mummy and describes a future filled with advanced technology.
While this book may not be available through Derby Libraries online eBook and eAudiobook service, we have plenty of suggestions for books that are:
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is a gothic fiction that focuses on a governess caring for two children at a remote estate who becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted.
Dracula by Bram Stoker is a Gothic horror novel telling the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England to find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a small group of people led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
The Complete H.P. Lovecraft Collection by H.P. Lovecraft features many of his well-known stories such as The Call of Cthulhu, At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow Over Innsmouth and many more. His stories are inspired by cosmic horror; that life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien, and Lovecraft is regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is one of the most well-known gothic stories of all time. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a harrowing tale of good and evil and the duality of man set against dark, Victorian London. At the heart, it is a chilling tale of the perils of ambition and hubris, the dangers of a morbidly repressive society, and the post-Darwinian fear of man’s beast nature.
Or for the kids, how about The Addams Family by Calliope Glass, a story based on the 2019 animated film about the strange and kooky family. In this book, the Addams clan are gathering their nearest and weirdest for a major family get-together while also facing off against a crafty reality-TV host.
Goosebumps by R.L. Stine is a series of children's horror fiction novels, which, while they are scary, the books are also described as being funny. Ghost Next Door is Goosebumps #10 and tells the story of Hannah Fairchild who is startled to wake up from a horrific nightmare to find that the empty house next door has suddenly been sold, as if overnight, and the son of the family somehow has the ability to survive a series of near-fatal accidents.
The books listed can be downloaded from Derby Libraries Borrowbox app, or you can visit the online catalogue to place your book on hold and collect a paper copy from your nearest open library through the click and collect service.
All of these ideas offer a fun and Covid-safe way to celebrate Halloween this year, whether you are meeting outdoors to look for bats or go ghost hunting, or staying indoors with a good spooky book. We hope you have a happy Halloween and stay safe this Saturday.