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21 Cultured As Fuck Ways To Celebrate Halloween In London

Upgrade your Halloween experience.

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1. Turn it up at Night Call's Stranger Things Halloween party.

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At £5 on the door, this is probably one of the cheapest Halloween parties you'll get into this weekend without a pre-booked ticket or free guestlist slot. (At this point pretty much everything is sold out and fully booked. I've checked.) Held at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, the whole night is dedicated to the Stranger Things '80s aesthetic, with trippy synth beats and retro sci-fi aesthetics.

When: 28 October

How much: £5 on the door. NB: Get there EARLY if you want to get in – this thing is looking pretty fully booked.

2. Attend a Twisted Circus at Mondrian London.

Mondrian London

If you are a hardcore Halloween-er who wants to be ~scared~ on Halloween, then this is for you because honestly I don't know what is scarier than clowns.

The Rumpus Room at the Mondrian Hotel is a gorgeous rooftop bar that will be transformed into a "twisted circus" for one night this Halloween weekend. There's going to be acts that range from "gruesome" to "scandalous" as well as Halloween cocktails and a FX stage makeup artist on hand to transform people. All in all, I reckon this is be one of the best Halloween parties going this year, but I am 100% too chickenshit to go.

When: 29 October

How much: £65 for a ticket (includes a glass of champagne)

Book here

3. Have a Halloween burger at Mac & Wild.

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Mac & Wild specialise in wild game and drink from the Scottish Highlands, and this Halloween they've but together a spooky twist on what they do best. Above is the "Evil-Moo" burger, two Scottish beef burgers doused in harissa hollandaise. Order it with a Bloody Scotsman: a Bloody Mary done with red wine and port...among other things.

When: available until at least 31 October

How much: £12 for the burger, £8 for the cocktail.

Book here

4. Watch Hocus Pocus at Backyard Cinema.

backyardcinema.designmynight.com

Backyard Cinema is an awesome immersive cinema experience – instead of watching your film in a boring, run-of-the-mill cinema, you watch it in a world of their making. This year's theme is "Lost World', and you'll be stepping into a jungle to watch their Halloween screening of Hocus Pocus. If you want something more frightening, though, book into their Friday showing of 10 Cloverfield Lane.

When: 29 October

How much: £9.50 for a child's ticket, £16.50 for an adult ticket (includes a drink)

Book here.

5. Drink a Sleepy Hollow cocktail at Skylon Bar.

Skylon Bar

Sometimes you don't need to go all out for Halloween. Subtlety can also be lovely too. If you want to pay a gentle homage to All Hallow's Eve, drop by Skylon Bar for a "Sleepy Hollow" cocktail. It's a fruity floral blend of rum, apple, blackberry, and elderflower, and is a perfectly elegant Halloween statement.

When: available until 31 October

How much: £12

Book here

6. Disguise yourself at Vox Vanguard's underground masquerade concert.

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I'm not gonna lie to you, there are FEW things I consider worthy of paying £50 or more for. Two of those things are food (or a very fancy cocktail spree) and culture. By culture I mean prime tickets to the Royal Opera House, truly brilliant immersive theatre, and things of that calibre. This event falls into the latter category.

For £50 a head, you descend into "the circles of Hell" (translation: Merchant Taylor's Hall), where a 70-piece orchestra plays you a series of classical "menacing masterpieces". There are also performances from Royal Ballet dancers, as well as acclaimed singers and actors, and a masquerade ball to finish.

When: Friday 28 October

How much: £50 (includes welcome canapés and a glass of prosecco)

Book here

7. Enjoy a round of ghoulish cocktails at Seymour's Parlour.

Zetter Townhouse

If rather than a single Halloween cocktail, you're looking for a full menu of ghoulish drinks to get sloshed on, Seymour's Parlour is here for you. They're doing three limited-edition cocktails (including the blood-curdling Nosferatini, above), and the bar will be decked out in withering flowers – the place itself is designed to look like a sumptuous townhouse, and is a perfect spot for a little Edgar Allen Poe posturing or murder mystery.

When: 28-31 October

How much: £30 for a flight of all three cocktails

Book here

8. Take a Halloween ride down the Thames with Jewel of London.

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The clubs in London are always, always crammed with people on Halloween – better to escape to the water IMO. The Jewel of London (a boat, in case you didn't know) is hosting a Halloween "Boat of Horrors" party, which looks ~amazing~.

The tickets are about £10 to £20 more expensive than what you'll pay for club entry in London, but that includes a free glass of Ghoulish Punch, and ALSO YOU'RE ON A BOAT.

When: 29 October

How much: tickets from £30

Book here

9. Watch The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre.

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I saw this show when I was 16, and I am still frequently scared of it. It is hands-down the scariest thing I have ever seen, ever. Even scarier than a scary film IMO because you're actually THERE in the room and it's much more immersive.

I might not be the best judge of scariness because, as mentioned, I'm not very brave, but when I went it was a class trip and ~everyone~ was scared shitless. One of the boys cried. Another boy pulled his hoodie up and drew the string tight like Kenny from South Park for the whole second half. Honestly, man, this play will change you.

When: on every Tuesday to Saturday

How much: tickets from £19.50 to £49.50

Book here

10. Have a Halloween sundae at Social Eating House.

Social Eating House

This will probably be the fanciest ice cream sundae you've ever had. Pumpkin ice cream is topped with spiced rum and pumpkin latte, then they add white coffee ice cream and rum jelly. Finally it's finished with milk foam and spiced granola. It's a cocktail, dessert, and drink all rolled into one!

There's also a glass skull served on the side filled with a "mystery blood syrup" you can add to taste.

When: 28 and 29 October

How much: £9.50

Book here

11. Attend the Dirty Bones basement party.

Dirty Bones

The thing to remember if you're spending Halloween in London is that nothing is going to be ~cheap~, unless you're buying a Tesco Value costume and spending the evening with your mates at home playing drinking games and watching scary films (which sounds like a great night tbh). If you don't want to club, or go to a proper ticketed event, getting into a themed party at a bar is a good shout.

Dirty Bones is throwing a Halloween basement party at their Kensington branch, with FREE ENTRY – but you absolutely must book if you want to get in. There's food (including a mac 'n' cheese burger) and Halloween cocktails, and a DJ to dance to until late.

When: 29 October

How much: free entry // cocktails £9 each

Book by emailing kensington@dirty-bones.com

12. Play Halloween-themed mini golf at Junkyard Golf.

Junkyard Golf

Mini golf is so much fun, but you know what makes it even more fun? Tequila and creatures lurking in the shadows. I mean, the latter one is questionable, but I'm, like, 99% sure they're not gonna actually do you any bodily harm...

Anyway, Junkyard Golf is throwing their first ever Halloween party this year, running from 7pm until late. They've got a tarot card reader, a DJ, and tequila-based spooky cocktails, which, let's be honest, are the real winner here.

When: 29 October

How much: £9.50 per person

Book here

13. "Toast the Widow" with a glass of Veuve Clicquot.

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The woman behind Veuve Clicquot was Madame Clicquot, a 19th-century badass who ran the company in spite of *the patriarchy* – she was also a widow, hence the "Veuve" (widow in French). This Halloween, Veuve Clicquot is collaborating on a series of events all over the city in honour of the anniversary of Madame Clicquot's death. Who knows, maybe she'll even make an appearance at one?

There's pumpkin carving (and champagne drinking) at Drink, Shop &Do, toasts being held at Mr Fogg's Residence and Pennethorne's, and a "Meet the Widow" party at Barts. Take your pick.

When: various dates from 28 to 31 October

How much: from £12 for a pumpkin carving class at Drink, Shop & Do to £50 for two glasses of Veuve Clicquot champagne, two Zombified cocktails, and a cold meat or cheese platter at Pennethorne's

Check websites for booking

14. Experience "Freakshow Clubaret" at The Vaults.

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Yes, I am also confused by this name. Seriously though, this does look genuinely quite cool. It's immersive theatre paired with cabaret and a party – you get dressed up in costume and guided around by the "Plague Doctor" through a series of performances, before ending up in the Plague Pit to dance and drink. Also apparently at some point Lady Gaga gives birth to a monster. That's got to be worth £45 alone.

FYI, for £15 extra you can get a ticket that includes unlimited beer and wine all night. That seems worth it to me, as in my experience, events that have a captive audience tend to overcharge you on drinks (NOT THAT I'M SAYING THESE GUYS WILL, JUST SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT IS ALL).

When: 28 October

How much: £45 entry / £60 entry plus unlimited beer and wine

Book here

15. Attend a Nightmare on Elm Street party at Maggies.

Maggies

'80s club Maggie's is hosting a party dedicated to Nightmare on Elm Street this year. There's a horror cocktail menu done with Monkey Shoulder whisky (solid choice) among other spirits, and guests *have* to wear fancy dress.

When: 29 October

How much: £20 per person entry

16. Catch a show at London Horror Festival.

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This is the UK's original and largest festival of horror. This year it's being hosted at the Old Red Lion Theatre and, as always, is dedicated to all things live performance. There are over 20 shows to choose from, including horror theatre, comedy, clowning, magic, midnight seances, and cabaret. Plus, a lot of the tickets are very reasonably priced, so it's a great way to plan something cultural for Halloween that doesn't break the bank.

When: last show is 30 October

How much: tickets from £6 to £20

Book here

17. Take in the spooktacular view at Sky Garden's Halloween party.

skygarden.london

Sky Garden is one of the most beautiful venues in London. Essentially it's a series of high-class bars and restaurants, plus "public space" suspended 35 floors up in a giant glass building, with bird's-eye views across the city. No big deal.

The party they're hosting for Halloween is fancy dress, and features ghostly cocktails and a live band. The tickets ain't cheap, but include a free cocktail and at least a hundred smug Instagram pictures.

When: 29 October

How much: £40 per person

Book here

18. Dine at a haunted Medieval Banquet.

medievalbanquet.com

A haunted medieval banquet... It's all very Hamlet, isn't it? Medieval Banquet is hosted at the beautiful Ivory House in St Katherine's Docks, and this Halloween is doing a special haunted edition. There's all the usual medieval food and drink, plus entertainment (Contortionists! Dancing wenches! Jousting!) but with spooky twists – it's also rumoured the building has its own ghost too.

When: until 30 October

How much: £50 per adult / £30 per child

Book here

19. Catch a spooky film at the Rivoli Ballroom.

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The Rivoli Ballroom is stunning, but also has the capacity to be seriously spooky – something about all the vintage decor, the blood red shades, and the fact it opened in 1913, making it the perfect setting for some spooky cinema. They're hosting screenings of Halloween (the cult 1978 slasher film) this Thursday and Friday. Sadly the Friday showing is sold out but the Thursday showing still has tickets left – that's TONIGHT, people.

When: 27 October

How much: £12

Book here

20. Taste a macabre menu at Meat Up.

Meat Up

Like meat? Like horror? BOY, HAVE I GOT THE THING FOR YOU. BBQ restaurant Meat Up are doing a three-course Halloween menu, which includes (but is not limited to): a “MeatUp Autopsy” of chicken heart and sautéed lamb kidneys; a “human brain burger"; pork "ribcage" and steak; and bone marrow brûlée.

FYI, the head chef here is Stephen Hinkley, formerly of Foxlow, so you know you're in good hands because this man knows his meat.

When: 28 and 29 October

How much: £25 per person for three courses

Book here

21. Listen to Union Chapel's horror music concert, Chills in the Chapel.

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Union Chapel is a gorgeous big church with a working organ and wonderful acoustics. If you're a fan of horror films and horror music, they're hosting a concert this weekend with maestro Fabio Frizzi conducting an orchestra through his scores from cult '80s horror films. Tickets for this also include free entry to the after-show Halloween ball.

When: 29 October

How much: £30.91 general admission / £49.45 VIP tickets

Book here

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