Each year the London Canal Museum celebrates Halloween in partnership with three community boating organisations: Camden Canals and Narrowboat Association, The Pirate Castle and Angel Islington, who offer a trip through the 193 year old Islington Tunnel in a spooky decorated boat. Kids on board receive sweets and a glow-stick and an opportunity to meet a witch!

This year (2016) the trips are on Saturday and Sunday 29th and 30th October from 3.30pm until 9.45pm.

The boat, Tarporley is operated by Camden Canals and Narrowboat Association and is a 1937 working boat which has been run as Camden’s community narrowboat for over thirty years. Book ahead for the Halloween trip on the London Canal Museum website.

At Halloween there will also be special activities for children in the canal museum so make sure you allow time for these either before or after your boat trip. Listen for screams, explore the corridor of fear, listen to horrible noises, and look out for horrible pictures in unexpected places! There will be a ghost story teller in the museum on both days and a face painter will be painting children's faces from 5pm to 9pm. There will also be a spooky-themed treasure hunt!

The London Canal Museum works with various local community narrowboats throughout the year.

Community narrowboats are often used to enable groups of children, disabled people, or retired people, and others, a combined day out involving a visit to the Museum and a trip on the canal. Community Narrowboats are important partners in the museum's education work giving young people the chance to experience their local canals. Here are six community boating projects based in London:

1) The Angel II of Islington is a 70 foot steel narrowboat owned and operated by the Angel Community Canal Boat Trust, and can accommodate 12 people. It has also has facilities for overnight trips including a galley and shower.

2) The Beauchamp in Little Venice is known as “the floating classroom” and is the first of a new generation of electrically powered canal boats. It provides educational trips on London's canals all year round and is also available for hire by community groups. There are electric charging facilities at London Canal Museum.

3) Tarporley is an historic, 1937 Large Northwich Town Class narrowboat which has been converted from a working goods boat and is available to hire with crew provided on day or residential trips for use by community groups, and private and business groups. The boat is based at Battlebridge Basin, Kings Cross.

4) The Pirate Castle was founded in 1966 by Viscount St David's as a canalside youth club. They first became canal boat operators in 1982. Their current boats are a wide beam boat called 'Pirate Prince' specially designed to enable disabled users to get on the water as well as a traditional narrowboat called 'Pirate Viscount'.

5) The Laburnum Boat Club offers half day, full day and residential trips from east London. One of their boats is specially equipped for passengers who use wheelchairs.

6) The London Narrowboat Project operates its boats in the midlands but serves children and young people in the London area in particular. Their low cost boat holidays introduce young people to the canals.

If these boats are not near to where you live find a community boating project near you on the National Community Boats Association website.

Peggy Melmoth

PS. Like canal boats? You'll LOVE working with boats - check out Boatshed Business.com!

Image Credit: Thanks to Pedro Ferreira on Flickr for making this image available with a Creative Commons Licence.

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