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10 ways to get your goth on for World Goth Day

Bats in flight at night
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's that time of year again, guys and ghouls – it's World Goth Day (opens in new tab)! The annual celebration of all things goth and macabre takes place on May 22, and goths all over the globe are primed and ready for the occasion. But how does one celebrate such a day? Here are 10 ways to pledge your allegiance to the dark side and get your goth on.

Support Your Local Goth Scene

You know the saying: if you don’t use it, you lose it. Find out about your local goth night and go there, support your local goth bands and purchase from your local goth shops. Easy, right? If you’re the only goth in the village, you can still show your support by hunting out independent stores and bands online. Be goth and proud!

Dress To Excess

There’s no denying that image plays a large role in goth, and World Goth Day is a great opportunity to show the world that goth is still alive (or undead) and kicking. Re-dye your faded blacks, polish your New Rocks, crimp or shave your hair, sharpen your black eyeliner and sing This Corrosion at the top of your blackened lungs.

Indulge In New Gothic Sounds

Goth has always been about the music so dig out those dark tunes and compile your very own playlist. Sniff out new bands, bizarre covers and obscure tracks, and mix them up with old classics from goth favourites like Bauhaus, Fields Of The Nephilim and The Sisters Of Mercy. Crank up the volume and enjoy!

Organise Your Own Goth Night

If there isn’t a World Goth Day event near you (opens in new tab), why not hold your own? Ask your local pub if they’d be interested in a goth themed night – Sunday evenings are traditionally quieter anyway; and it's the Sabbath, which makes it cooler. It’s the perfect excuse to share your goth playlist and you could even turn it into a bit of a charity fundraiser.

Support A Good Cause

Charity might not automatically scream goth but there are some great goth-friendly organisations that are desperate for your cash to continue their good work. Use World Goth Day as an opportunity to donate to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation (opens in new tab), which campaigns against image-based prejudice and hatred. Or for the cost of just one pint, you can help an endangered species and adopt your very own bat via the Bat Conservation Trust (opens in new tab)! What could more more goth than owning your very own bat!

Head To The Cemetery Gates

Whether you’re a fan of nature, an avid photographer or just looking for new lyrics, cemeteries can be inspirational, and some even offer guided walks for a small fee. Goth favourites include London’s Highgate Cemetery (opens in new tab) which is rumoured to have its own vampire, and Macclesfield Cemetery (opens in new tab) where Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis is buried.

Get Crafty

The goth subculture is one of the most creative around, so take the day to create something new; whether it’s a piece of gothic jewellery or clothing, a work of art or even some new music! Get inspired and allow your creative juices to flow black, purple and red! If you want to go Full Goth, channel your inner Edgar Allen Poe and start work on those poems.

Hold A Goth Picnic

If you’re only happy when it rains, organise a goth picnic with friends in your local park or garden. Prepare spooky food like bat-shaped cookies or purple popcorn, pack your favourite Halloween tumblers, maybe even a goth card game or two (opens in new tab) and enjoy the company. Don’t forget to take your litter away with you – ruining the environment is not the goth way. 

Organise A Gothic DVD Viewing Day

Whether you’re into gothic horror, steampunk or goth-related music documentaries, celebrate goth’s celluloid diversity by drawing the curtains and settling down to a day of dark viewing materials. From Dracula and Edward Scissorhands to Donnie Darko and Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days On Earth, you’ll be spoiled for choice. And for the perfect goth movie snacks, tuck into purple corn chips or Misfortune Cookies (opens in new tab). Seriously, who doesn't want to just watch creepy movies and eat cookies all day?

Get Spooked

Visit a creepy dungeon attraction (opens in new tab), take in some Gothic architecture or check out a real haunted spot for some goth culture with a difference. Try West Wycombe’s Hellfire Caves, Preston Manor near Brighton or Edinburgh Vaults, which are all said to go bump in the night. Combine it with an aforementioned goth picnic and some top tunes on your stereo for the ultimate World Goth Day experience. 

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Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.