Whitby Abbey—an Inspiration for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’—Is Calling All Vampires to Break a Guinness World Record
In September 2011, Virginia amusement park Kings Dominion kicked off its annual “Halloween Haunt” by setting a record for the largest gathering of people dressed as vampires. The 1039-strong crowd of campy bloodsuckers jammed out to songs like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Time Warp,” and fun was had by all.
But Kings Dominion’s dominion over the category might soon come to a close. As UPI reports, English Heritage—a nonprofit that oversees hundreds of historic spots across the UK—is calling all vampires to help break the record, and not just by one. This year is the 125th anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897, and the planners are aiming for an assembly of 1897 people to celebrate the milestone.
The location is just as meaningful as the number. The event will be hosted at Whitby Abbey, an 11th-century monastery in northeastern England whose history dates all the way back to the 7th century. In July 1890, Stoker vacationed in Whitby and drew inspiration for his classic horror novel from the abbey’s formidable ruins and the town at large; Dracula’s Mina Murray even mentions Whitby Abbey by name in a diary entry.
While pop culture has seen plenty of creative takes on vampires over the years, participants won’t be able to dress like a character from any vampire movie or show. (Though if you’ve ever cosplayed What We Do in the Shadows, you could probably reuse that ensemble.) To qualify for this particular record, you have to wear a “full, traditional vampire fancy dress costume.” That includes black pants or a dress; black shoes; a waistcoat and shirt; a black cape or “collared overcoat” (whose lining can be another color); and fangs over your top teeth.
The gathering will take place on Thursday, May 26, 2022, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. After the official record attempt—scheduled for 6:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.—visitors will be treated to a performance of Dracula excerpts by Time Will Tell Theatre, followed by live music. Attendance is free for anyone in costume, but you do have to reserve tickets. You can book yours and read more about the event here.