House of Horror

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Horrific indeed. Photo: Sammi McKee
Horrific indeed. Photo: Sammi McKee

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The clocks have turned, it’s cold and dark: winter is approaching. But before we can get to the good bit (Christmas obviously) we need to celebrate Halloween. And celebrate we did.

I’ve been following the work of the House of Horror team for a while now and was not disappointed. Aiming to fill the gap in the market for a proper Halloween event and raise money for Elephant Family, the idea for a themed event at Kinkell was born.

Now, assuming you had heard of it, the pre-event hype was rather high. The 600 tickets available were snapped up, and despite the usual “I’m selling my wristband” posts on Facebook the majority of these seemed to have found a buyer. Yet the event seemed not too well known; perhaps this had something to do with the fact that a lot of people I spoke to before the night seemed to plan on going to the Lizard, Vic or library. The latter is probably because I’m a dull fourth year now, but such is senior honours life.

Anyway, included in the ticket price was transport to Kinkell. This was organised in the form of taxis shuttling party-goers from outside Madras. The wait in the rain for these heavily oversubscribed taxis was not pleasant, but I was bundled into a taxi rather quickly as I was in a smaller group.

When we arrived at Kinkell it certainly did look different from normal. The usual welcoming carpet and doors thrown wide open were replaced with a smaller side entrance to the cloakroom. From there, guests were encouraged to enter the main venue through the haunted house. At around 21:30, the queue for the house seemed too long to bother with, so I headed straight inside.

As promised, there I found the “Snow Queen” sitting on her throne cradling a bottle of vodka. Whilst her surroundings, outfit and makeup were fabulous, she did look rather bored, but then again, who wouldn’t be? It certainly gave the area a creepy quality and promoted the sponsors, so I suppose this worked. If anything, it served to contrast more with Christmas Ball, where there’s normally a jolly Santa.

Next to the Queen was the eagerly anticipated free vodka. It was marketed as unlimited free vodka, but you had to exchange a drink voucher for the shot. From what I saw, many were struggling with the shot form, whilst others were too drunk to care. I’ve since heard that a lot of people were not impressed with the vodka situation, and this annoyance was exacerbated by the taxi issues.

The bar was fast-moving and a huge blackboard with prices seemed to help with the queues. Bottles of champagne were £35, and I saw at least one or two being passed around the dancefloor. There was also an odd tent-like area at the far end of the bar. With fairy lights, cushions and dark curtains, it set the scene for a very drunken night.

Moodroom Collective provided the music, and while not to my particular taste, the revellers were lapping it up. By 22:00 the dancefloor was respectably full, though where drunken staggering started and dancing ended I could not tell you. As the dancefloor became crowded, we spotted a few of those who had perhaps taken pre-drinking a bit too seriously, with at least one person being escorted out. However, the tone of the evening was friendly and relaxed, with everyone chatting to everyone.

I decided now was my chance to try out the haunted house. I’d been told it would be spook-tacular, and I was amused. If I had been drunk, it would have been terrifying – actors jumping out in amazing costume and makeup, with creepy clowns and mad surgeons galore. So hats off to you guys – you made the difference from just any old ball to a proper Halloween night.

And it just wouldn’t be Halloween without the costumes. For the girls, there were the usual slutty devils/angels/cats/anything you can think of that allowed a short, tight dress to be worn, and for the guys, the generic zombie/pirate/military/dead were popular. But from famous people (shout out to Ali G – excellent job) to group costumes (the three blind mice were particularly amusing) to Luigi, pumpkins and the Queen of Hearts, the dressing up was taken very seriously.

My conclusion? If you were a drunk second or third year, this was your night to shine! The organisers had done a fabulous job, the setting was perfect and the costume dedication outstanding. Everyone seemed to know each other – this wasn’t just a night out, this was THE Halloween night out.

Check out our House of Horror photos!

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