How do you like to celebrate Halloween? Do you carve a pumpkin? Decorate the house with creepy fake spiders? Dress as a zombie and terrify the neighbours?
Why not up your game this year and book a night in a real life castle, complete with creaky doors, secret passages and unexplained noises? Castles have long been shrouded in mystery and superstition, bringing to mind prisoners trapped in dank dungeons and eccentric dukes concocting nefarious schemes.
The best thing about castles? They were usually built in strategic locations on high ground for defence purposes, and therefore offer fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Gather your friends and/or family and book a night in one of these six picturesque castles across Western Europe, all of which can be booked through holiday rental agency Holidu.
1Château St. Philippe, Saint-Pierre-d’Albigny, France
Hark back to the medieval period and stay in the mysterious French Château St. Philippe, which dates back to 1032. Originally built by the Benedictine monks as a priory, it was then transformed into a chateau by Barron Charles-Albert Favier du Noyer in 1828. These days, the castle has been completely restored, but still retains its historic exterior.
You can book the whole castle, which contains 10 bedrooms (all King size), 11 bathrooms and can comfortably house 20 people.
The castle has some impressive modern amenities including a private pool, ample kitchen pool table and dining room – this can be extended to seat 18 people.
For your spooky evening entertainment, enjoy drinks on the terrace overlooking the Italian Alps and play a game of hide and seek in the landscaped gardens.
How much: Guests can book out the castle from £1,687 a night.
2Château Martinus, Saint-Caprais-de-Lerm, France
Château Martinus, located in the Aquitaine region of France, is an impressive 1,000 m² castle that has been renovated to include a heated swimming pool and even a heliport. There’s also a sauna and Jacuzzi which can be found upstairs between the battlements of the tower.
Inside, the castle retains its gothic feel with a medieval dining room complete with a long wooden trestle-style table, overlooked by a roaring fireplace which heats the room.
Spooky features include stone walls and exposed beams which can be found throughout the castle. It’s a fantastic location for a party and can accommodate up to 18 people, with eight bedrooms divided between the various floors.
How much: The price for renting starts at just £301 per night.
3Castle Schloss Saarfels, Serrig, Germany
Rent a two-bedroom apartment in the dramatic looking Castle Schloss Saarfels, which looks out onto the Riesling vineyards and the River Saar. The castle has been completely renovated and can comfortably fit four people with one double and one twin room. It has its own park for spooky evening walks along with a terrace, BBQ and outdoor furniture. Inside there is a kitchen, bathroom and laundry machine along with the two bedrooms.
Castle Schloss Saarfels is located at the top of a quiet German village which borders Luxembourg, France and Belgium, so there is plenty of opportunity to explore.
To get your horror fix, drive 30 minutes to the German city of Trier and book tickets to The Devil’s Exorcist, a live horror experience involving an exorcism, demon attacks and audience participation (be warned).
More about Holidu
Holidu is an online holiday rental agency which was founded by brothers Johannes and Michael Siebers in 2014.
The search engine provides travellers with access to over 15 million holiday rentals, cottages, villas and castles from all over the world. Travellers can save up to 55% on the same accommodation, for the same letting period.
4Mazures, Liège, Belgium
For an intimate Halloween experience book a night in the tower of a castle that overlooks the river Vesdre in Liège, Belgium.
The 100m² holiday home sits in the left wing of the tower on the edge of a medieval fantasy-style bridge, and brings to mind The Twins castles from Game of Thrones. Inside there is a modern living room and kitchen, and a spiral staircase that leads up to two bedrooms.
Book your stay on 24 October and the next day drive 45 minutes to Château de Jehay where you can experience some spooky thrills at their night of the witches celebration. Enjoy an evening of street shows, concerts and terrifying animations that will really get you into the Halloween spirit.
How much: Mazures can accommodate up to 4 people and the prices start at £81 per night.
5Number 6 Narrow Water Castle, County Down, Northern Ireland
Spend a night in the spectacular Narrow Water Castle, which dates back to the 1680s. Located in the lush, green countryside of Northern Ireland in County Down, the original castle building is a state care historic monument.
You can rent a newly renovated luxury apartment within the castle building, which can accommodate up to six people. Features include a local granite exterior and interior exposed beams, making this a fun location to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve.
For a fun Halloween experience for all the family, head to the Downpatrick and County Down railway, where you can take part in a spooky train ride. Travel to the wicked witch’s haunted graveyard and then back to Merlin’s cavern, with face painting for the children available before you board.
How much: Renting out this unique apartment costs from £151 per night.
6Castello Leopoldo, Tuscany, Italy
Located in the province of Livorno in Tuscany, Castello Leopoldo is a 16th century castle built in the romantic style and sits high above the commune of Campiglia Marittima. On a clear day you can see as far as the island of Elba.
Inside you are greeted by a spectacular entrance hall complete with antique table and lavish furnishings with plenty of drapery and grand paintings of Tuscan nobles. Outside there is a large swimming pool and Jacuzzi.
Castle Leopoldo covers an impressive 1500m2 and can comfortably accommodate 20 people. The spacious dining room, complete with majolica frescoes and an old fireplace, is the ideal location to host a murder mystery dinner.
Up the spooky factor by taking a day trip to the nearby Torture Museum in San Gimignano, which contains an extensive collection of gruesome medieval torture devices.
How much: Booking the entire castle will cost from £1,528 per night.
Disclaimer: this article was produced in association with Holidu