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Sunday 15th October 2000

The annual Halloween Spooktacular saw a change in venue this year. Instead of taking the form of street entertainment and a show in the square next to the Towers, it took place in Storybookland in the Big Top, home of the Peter Rabbit and Friends on Ice show.

The area was slightly themed, but not to the extent that is usually seen for the event. Above the entrance to the Big Top was a giant skull, illuminated from all angles by massive coloured lights and plenty of atmospheric smoke effects. As we queued inside the entrance corridor, a light outside gave a strange, eerie glow.

On entering the Big Top, the whole stage area was decorated with a gothic style, with spectacular lighting. We knew the show was about to start when smoke began to billow onto the ice, gently spilling over the edge into the audience.

The show began with several skaters coming out into the audience offering drinks, and polishing the kids. Then we were introduced to Damien D'Evil. Great dance routines and singing of a famous Queen song got the audience into the right frame of mind, and showed that Alton Towers had excelled even at this early stage in the show.

Next were introduced the three witches of Alton. Flame, Ice and Hurricane. The latter, the ugly duckling of the three, and their, how should we describe him, their slightly camp butler. They are invited to Damien's Halloween Ball, but there is only one invitation, and there is also one condition. Whoever attends must be accompanied by a man.

So the show really gets going with songs galore, all well known so you can sing along. Each of the witches get their limelight, performing magical illusions to conjure up a man, again with the help of fantastic dance routines and special effects. Eventually it is left to Hurricane, to win the invitation by turning their butler into a more appealing gentleman, with a small twist.

Everything taken into account, there were small problems with explosions not going off when needed, and stumbles from the skaters, but nothing that isn't acceptable in a live performance only a day old.

It is safe to say that the Halloween Spooktacular 2000 revived my faith in Alton Towers special events, after the big disappointment that was the Summer Spectacular of 2000. Topped off with a ride on Nemesis in the dark, it proved to be an enjoyable day out.

Congratulations to Alton Towers and everyone involved in the event.

Steve Taylor