This time last year, the scariest halloween costume was not wearing a mask.
But this year we can all get back to revelling in the spooky and supernatural, and London’s stepped up to the task. There’s parties with fire-eaters, acrobats and giant skeletal puppets; horrifying live music; spectral film screenings; absinthe tastings; freaky immersive theatre and soooOOOooo much more…
Halloween Screenings at Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema are usually known for their enchanting pop up cinema themes, from the twinkling lights of their winter maze to the beachy sands of Miami. But this month the place is getting a frankly horrifying makeover, with flickering jack o’lanterns, cobwebs and a live band playing scores from cult spooky soundtracks. Plus, they’ve loaded up the slates with a checklist of classic scary movies, from Beetlejuice to Candyman, which you can enjoy with a nice cup of Witches’ Brew.
Details: 19th – 31st October | Capital Studios, Ram Quarter, Wandsworth, London, SW18 1ET | £20-32.50
COLAB Theatre have been putting on top-shelf immersive theatre shows for a good few years now (including, most recently, the excellent Crooks 1926). And for spooky season they’re inviting you to face your fears in a blood-curdling horror experience set in the harrowing surrounds of… a chocolate factory. But don’t be fooled by the setting; there’s four generation-spanning mysteries to uncover and a basement full of clues to search – just pray you don’t bump into the supernatural forces below.
Details: 20th October – 14th November | Secret location | £25
The Rocky Horror Show
It’s a cult classic for a reason, and it just so happens that this acclaimed UK tour (starring Ore Oduba) is going to be in London over the spooky period. Dressing up is, as always, firmly encouraged, and the hit songs like Time Warp and Damn It, Janet have been turned into euphoric mass singalongs with the audience.
Details: 20th – 30th October | Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HT | £18+
Festival of the Dead
The Festival of the Dead started as a small shindig in London’s Troxy before blowing up into a nation-wide Halloween stunner, and it’s hardly difficult to see why. It’s an absolutely huge show, bringing you ‘the dark side’ of rock, electronica and dnb music via the medium of gigantic, Range Rover-sized mechanical skulls, acrobats, DJs, circus performers, pyrotechnics and alcohol. The crowd is very much part of the story, and there’ll be professional face-painters on hand to help you blend in.
Details: 23rd October | Troxy, 490 Commercial Rd, E1 0HX | £29.99-46.20
The Haunting of Chelsea Physic Garden
This ancient apothecaries’ garden has been growing herbs and plants for mystical brews since 1673, so it’s fair to say there’s probably a few ghosts knocking about in there. And for Halloween this year they’ll be opening the gates after dark for twilight tours with Wild Immersive Theatre, who’ll be regaling you with some bone-chilling stories.
Details: 24th – 31st October | Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS | £25
The Darkness Between Us
Peckham’s Asylum Chapel has to be one of the most enigmatic, atmospheric spots in the city. So it seems only right that this Halloween it’ll be taken over by the Uncanny Collective, the company of actors behind the podcast The Darkness Between Us, who’ll be staging a chilling horror play in its gloomy surrounds…
Details: 24th & 31st October | Asylum Chapel, Caroline Gardens, Asylum Road, London, SE15 2SQ | £15-18
Absinthe Party at The Last Tuesday Society
Curators of creepiness The Last Tuesday Society are inviting you to an intimate soirée with the Green Fairy. You’ll get a snifter of a brand new batch-distilled absinthe on arrival, and there’ll be a special cocktail menu running the whole night (at £6.66 a pop, naturally). Plus, there’ll be prizes for those best attired as their ‘wildest self’.
Details: 27th October | The Last Tuesday Society, 11 Mare Street, London E8 4RP | £5
Sinner Supper Club
Supperclub supremos The Dinner Ladies have turned into sinner ladies for Halloween, unleashing seven (hopefully not deadly) sin-themed courses on an intimate group of 40 guests. Expect strange-looking ingredients, creepy welcome cocktails, and a peculiar, extravagantly dressed setting…
Details: 27th & 29th October | A Secret Location | £55
Fright Nights at the Rivoli Ballroom
The time-warped ’50s Rivoli Ballroom is going to put on a programme of fright entertainment over the spooky season with a quintet of films: The Crow, The Witches, Rocky Horror, Hocus Pocus, and The Shining, with a selection of ghoulish snacks to feed your blood/popcorn lust.
Details: 27th-30th October | The Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, SE4 2BY | £10+
Halloween Terraces at Bluebird
Bluebird Chelsea and White City have given their terraces an autumnal makeover, cramming in hay-bales, golden foliage and gourds aplenty. So… might be a bit of a squash. And over the Hallowe’en weekend, they’ll be running pumpkin carving workshops and drinks masterclasses where you’ll learn to make warming citrussy cocktails with Cointreau liqueur.
Details: 28th-31st October | Bluebird White City & Chelsea | £25-35
London Cabaret Club
Boasting a fair few contortionist acts, the LCC is pretty twisted on a regular day. So for Hallowe’en they’re going all out, mashing up their acclaimed Bond-themed show with supernatural acts themed around the Day of the Dead, and serving it all up in a cavernous, 1920s ballroom with spooky food and drink to boot.
Details: 28th-30th October | Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, WC1B 4DA | £25+
Beavertown Pub Invasion
At precisely 8pm on 29th October, Beavertown’s Corner Pin pub is going to be invaded by aliens, courtesy of immersive theatre troupe Swamp Motel. You’ll need to explore three levels of a UFO crash site in an attempt to make peace with our new extraterrestrial overlords, and, ultimately, party with them in the bar until the wee hours. And yes, you’ll be given free beers to help you get through it.
Details: 29th October | Beavertown Corner Pin, 732 High Road, London, N17 0AG | Free, but book ahead here
The Candlelight Club Halloween Party
The Candlelight Club is ordinarily completely candlelit. Hence the name. Only on the Halloween weekend, those candles will be housed in pumpkins, there will be fortune telling, spooky burlesque, creepy live music, witchy DJs, and more to join them…
Details: 29th & 30th October | A Secret Location | £25-150
Midnight Apothecary Halloween Spooktacular
Apothecaries already sound kind of spooky. Midnight Apothecaries, doubly so. And for this Halloween special, the botanical cocktail gardeners on the roof of the Brunel Museum will be throwing incredibly carved pumpkin lanterns, cobwebs, firepits, complimentary toasted marshmallows, ghoulish cocktails, and “strange blue fire” into the mix.
Details: 29th & 30th October | The Brunel Museum Rooftop Garden, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF | £8+
Halloween at Swingers
Crazy golf, but make it spooky: for the Halloween weekend the loop-the-loops, runs and windmills at Swingers will be joined by slightly more ghoulish accoutrements like empty coffins, cobwebs, and undead golf caddies, while you sip on trick or treat tequila cocktails and spin the dastardly wheel of fate to win prizes or a fiendish… glass of water.
Details: 29th-31st October | Swingers City & West End | £13pp
Covent Garden’s Pumpkin Market
In the market for some autumnal decor? Then you’re in the right place, because Covent Garden is putting on quite the spectacle in their 19th century market hall, cramming 200+ squashes, pumpkins and gourds onto their stands. And while you’re browsing for the perfect carving specimen, you can snack on spooky specials from surrounding eateries like the Ardbeg whisky monster van and The Bloody Bus.
Details: 29th – 31st October | Covent Garden Market, WC2 | Free entry
Magical Home Protection
Costumes and trick or treating are all well and good, but let’s not forget that on Hallowe’en the boundaries between this life and the next are particularly fragile. So you’ll probably want to get down to the Museum of the Home where they’ll be resurrecting ancient magical practices to ward evil spirits away, with talks and workshops to make your own magical charms. After which, you can let your hair down at the Hedge Witch cocktail bar and dance to DJs and live music from ‘broken folk’ band, the Lunatraktors.
Details: 29th October | Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA | £15
Halloween at The Piano Works
The bands at The Piano Works are scarily good. They play wall-to-wall audience requests all night long, and for Halloween they’re inviting you to pay homage to a dearly departed musician with your costume, drink scare-tinis and do the monster mash till the wee hours.
Details: 29th & 30th October | The Piano Works Farringdon & West End | £5, £10 after 11pm
Between The Bridges
Riverside pop up Between The Bridges will be hosting a slew of spooky events, from horror-themed Massaoke to cabaret in a vintage spiegeltent from the likes of Joe Black, A/V shows with DJ Yoda, and a raucous Drag (Brunch) Out of Hell with stars from UK drag race featuring the most terrifying thing of all: audience participation.
Details: 29th – 31st October | Between The Bridges, Queen’s Walk, South Bank, London SE1 | Free daytime entry, events individually ticketed
Ultimate Power: Bat out of Helloween
Karaoke is fun. Karaoke with hundreds of other people simultaneously singing power ballads at the top of their lungs is closer to a religious experience. And this Ultimate Power event is going to have all the MeatLoaf, Bonnie Tyler, and Bon Jovi you can shake a cassette at. Bring your air instruments and throat sweets.
Details: 30th October | Oval Space, The Oval, Cambridge Heath, London, E2 9DT | £12+
Hip Hop Saved My Halloween
Want to go to a huge fancy dress party with Romesh Ranganathan? Well, your Hallowe’en wishes are coming true this year, because he’s hosting a huge hip hop knees-up in the stunning new music venue Lafayette, with a line-up of DJs including Jaguar Skillz, Shortee Blitz and DJ Miss Candy taking you through the golden years of the genre.
Details: 30th October | Lafayette, 11 Goods Way, London N1C 4DP | £9.21 – £16.76
Halloween at Hijingo
Considerably upping the ante of their ‘futuristic bingo’ nights, Hijingo are going all-out Squid Games for Halloween this year. The staff’ll be dressed in the signature fluorescent pink suits, and there’ll be a recreation of the red light/green light game taking place between bingo games, where the prizes include a holiday in Europe and
45.6bn Korean won.
Details: 30th October | 90 Worship Street, London, EC2A 2BA | From £20
Scared To Death In The Woods
Don’t be put off by the title. It won’t be that scary… probably. But this is professional storyteller Vanessa Woolf we’re talking about, who’ll be giving a bone-chilling rendition of dozens of spooky tales in a secret location in the middle of the woods surrounded by jars of flickering candles.
Details: 30th October | A Secret Location in North London | £10+
Bun House’s Halloween Buns
To anyone who says Hallowe’en is all about stuffing your face with inordinate amounts of sweets and chocolate, we raise you these spiced pumpkin buns from Bun House. They’ll be available to take away or order in boxes over the Hallowe’en weekend, and are joined this year by black sesame and tahini Mummy buns, and sticky toffee Ghost buns. For those with a sweet tooth.
Details: 30th-31st October, or preorder here | Bun House, 26-27 Lisle Street, WC2H 7BA | £5.40 each
Jack the Ripper Tours by The Discount Suit Company
This Halloween, the people at Discount Suit Company aim to ply you with alcohol, then take you down the backstreets of Whitechapel & Spitalfields, with absolutely no ulterior motive at all… just a tour of the sites frequented by the world’s most notorious serial killer.
Details: 31st October | 29 Wentworth Street, E1 7TB | £20 (incl. welcome cocktail)
London Month of the Dead
Given how much Antique Beat and A Curious Invitation delight in the macabre on a typical day, they’re not ones to let Hallowe’en pass them by. In fact, they host an entire month of ghoulish goings-on, from candlelit talks in a Victorian cemetery chapel to memento mori workshops – and there are still a handful of tickets available for their remaining events. READ MORE
Details: Throughout October | Across London
Crick Crack Club Presents… The Day of The Dead
This band of professional storytellers are bringing their annual celebration of the macabre to Kings Place, where they’ll weave grown-up fairytales of long-dead ancestors, lost souls and the figure of Death himself under the watchful eyes of gambling skeletons… and you.
Details: 1st November | Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG | £8.50-£15.50
Anaesthesia: Myth, Magic & Reality
The Old Operating Theatre was founded in 1822, and as such was the site of a lot of Victorian-era, pre-anaesthetic, leather-strap-biting surgery by amputation-happy doctors. And a little after Halloween this year, you can go into the very same room it all took place, and hear about how both historical and modern patients feel about the strange, mystical state induced by anaesthesia.
Details: 5th November | Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, 9a St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | £12
Want to do something less spooky? How about booking up these charmingly festive light trails, then