The City to Get Spooky In

Lyon before, during and even after Halloween

Jayde Atchison (she/her) // Opinions Editor
Natasha Lee (she/her) // Illustrator

Walking up the hill towards Vieux Lyon, the older section of the city, my friend was getting ready to introduce me to a pink praline pastry I must try. What she didn’t realize while climbing the cobblestone was that I was going to fall in love with the spooky atmosphere that Lyon had to offer. I’ll admit I did end up falling head over heels for the brioches aux pralines, but they were just the cherry on top of a creepy sundae. 


Europe seems to be the reigning champion of maintaining a medieval vibe all year round. Castles, cobblestone, architecture from years I can’t even fathom, and an abundance of ornate churches that are definitely haunted. Most places you pass through in France, and maybe Europe as a whole, have an ominous feel to them. I traveled to seven cities throughout France, The Netherlands and Portugal, and Lyon took the prize of spookiest spot. 


While I inhaled my new favourite dessert, we stumbled through the small streets of the old city. Dust-covered books lined the walls of an antique shop, where an elderly man sat and worked on his typewriter, back to the window. I stopped to admire this quaint scene, he turned to look out at the bustling tourists, and the disdain in his eyes was right out of a horror film. I couldn’t get enough. 


My friend dragged me away from the bookkeeper from hell, and we wandered into a side street covered in marionette dolls. I was immediately obsessed with these little creatures. Handmade wooden dolls all hung from strings in the stores surrounding us. I could not whip out my camera fast enough, I wanted to remember these weirdly menacing puppets forever. I never did get an explanation of the significance of these Pinocchio imposters, but there were magnets, postcards, and other souvenirs with their likeness around the city. These dolls were enough to scare a small child, and simply a joy for the Halloween, creepy-loving girl I am. 


After we spent enough time with the nightmare fuel hanging from the rafters, we found our way to a calmer, more peaceful road. A window display showcased a movie museum tucked away in an old building. I looked at my friend and she said she’d rather grab a beer but encouraged me to go check out the horror props I desperately wanted to see. I entered the Musée Cinéma et Miniature, and I basked in creepy goodness. Costumes, props and gory reactrations of my favourite movies were displayed on five floors. I could have stayed to admire for hours, but wanted to enjoy the rest of what Lyon had to offer. This was just our first day here, I couldn’t wait to see what other haunting features we would come across. 


I still have countless destinations in Europe and the UK to fulfill my witchy, macabre fantasies. Perhaps my mind may be changed after wandering the sites of Edinburgh this month, but as it stands, Lyon has sent more shivers down my spine than any other city I’ve been to — a city that emits spooky energy anytime of the year, not just when Halloween decorations are littered about.

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