The table is set for a seasonal banquet, while smoke billows around gravestones and frozen corpses. Inside a rustic box, the face and torso of Freddy Krueger reach out to visitors, surrounded by rats with vicious expressions and bared teeth. But this is not a scare attraction or theme park display, it’s Europe’s largest horror and Halloween store – 1,000 square metres of spooky props, costumes, collectables and more.
Halloween has it’s roots in European history, with a wide variety of cultures and customs marking the month of October as having links to darkness and frights. While it wasn’t widely celebrated in North America until the early 20th century, the holiday can be traced back as far as the 7th century CE in Europe. Most of the customs of the celebrations – including Jack O Lanterns, costumes, and masks, originate from European traditions.
It is therefore fitting that Horror Shop, with two German locations and an every-expanding online store, is the hub for all things Halloween and horror related in Europe. The Horror-Shop Superstore can be found in the centre of Munich, with the 1000 square metre showroom only 15 minutes outside of the city. But this is no pop-up Halloween store that appears every October 1st – both locations are open 365 days a year to showcase a massive selection of horrific goodies!
It is also not simply a warehouse of items – with the team behind Horror Shop creating elaborate sets to demonstrate some of the products. The items are brought to life, and any aspiring home-haunter will instantly experience a flood of inspiration when walking inside. This guide to Bavarian travel describes the store as having a ‘ghost train feel’.
Venture further, and you’ll find a haunt to please cinema’s scariest cannibals. Leatherface would be perfectly at home in an area where meat is on the menu. In this gruesome zone of the Horror Shop; jars of eyeballs are piled high on shelves, a serving of human fingers is presented in a popcorn box, and bread baskets are stuffed with feet and hands. If his supply ever ran low, Leatherface can find a veritable buffet of human body parts in a large setup in front of the kitchen. Zombie hands, severed arms, bloody hearts and dark, rotted legs emerge from boxes of various sizes.
Even for those not quite ready to turn their homes into haunted houses, the shop provides horror fans with some fantastic, unique photo opportunities. On the instagram, fans tag the store with images of their visits, and of their costume and makeup looks created with Horror Shop products. Some even participate in contests to create the most impressive gruesome makeup looks, tagging the store in their creations. It’s evident the owners are passionate horror fans, with the store’s own instagram page featuring horror movie themed puzzles and trivia.
Horror collectables can be found throughout the giant store, with one of our personal favourite series’ included. The quirky designs of the Pinheadz line can be found, with classic horror film characters redesigned as traditional voodoo dolls. Pop Vinyls, home accessories and other officially licenced merch from horror franchises can be found in the Horror Shop. Among the franchises represented, fans will find goodies featuring A Nightmare on Elm Street and it’s many sequels, The Addams Family, Saw, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. For younger spooks, franchises including Nightmare Before Christmas and Gremlins are also represented.
While there are many pop up store in every city when October rolls around, they often appear very similar, are crowded with partygoers, and hastily put together. The Horror Shop offers an all year round destination for horror fans and Halloween enthusiasts to visit, and we could easily spend hours exploring the stores. But if you’re far from this Halloween HQ, the store website also lists a extensive range of items and offers delivery to the rest of Europe, the US and Canada.