We're going to be in London for Halloween with our 8 & 10 year old - what is there to do with kids to celebrate Halloween? Is there trick-or-treating? Other recommendations for non-scary Halloween things to do?
Halloween is generally not celebrated in other parts of the world, as it is in the US. The following day, All Saints Day, is celebrated as a religious holiday in many places.
There is Halloween here, though not on the grand commerical scale of the US nor is trick or treating quite so pervasive. There's actually a bigger holiday on November 5 - Guy Fawkes Night, which is when everyone shoots off fireworks and has bonfires.
If you are here as a tourist, trick or treating is not really viable since you don't know people or neighbourhoods. Your best bet is to see if there are any events at kid friendly locations like museums or the big bookstore chains (Waterstones, Blackwells etc.)
There are some special events that will be held in London during Halloween. The sites give you and idea of what was happening last year: http://tinyurl.com/2nedxa
There is a special Halloween walking tour, more info can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/3d6o5b
For a complete listing of what to do this year, get a copy of the "Time Out" magazine when you arrive in London; there should be a special section with listings. Halloween is getting more popular through out the world. I was in Hong Kong last year during the holiday and there was a huge street party held near the waterfront, it was lots of fun.
I have been in London on Halloween (in 2003). It was actually the day we arrived and we had early evening reservations at the Victoria & Albert museum to see a special exhibit. It turned out that there was a very large Halloween party going on - a horse drawn coffin parked out front, everyone dressed in the "goth" style (black hair, makeup, etc.), and seriously loud dance music. Ironic since the exhibit was for Gothic period art. All surreal under the influence of jet lag. But nowhere else we went that day were there any signs of Halloween. I'd go with the earlier suggestion to check the Time Out and plan something fun. A Tower of London tour is very entertaining (and a little spooky, but not too much). London Walks (www.walks.com) has special Halloween focused walks and also other kid oriented ones, but you should e-mail them to find out if the Halloween ones are kid friendly.