Jason Allen 06/10/22
Halloween is at its most terrifying…
…when you don’t have anywhere to go.
Gives us the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. Mostly because the alternative is being stuck inside, pretending to be out in order to avoid answering the door to the hordes of adorably dressed up, impish sugar-junkies looking for a fix. So it’s a good thing that we’ve lined up the very best things London has to offer this Halloween season…
They include spooky stories told in Victorian toy shops, parties on the 35th floor (with live music), evenings of absinthe & palm reading, a witch trial in an ancient garden, a raucous drag brunch, an evening of soul-purging massaoke, a supperclub that goes on until dawn the next day, and a cocktail-fuelled tour of the stomping grounds of Jack the Ripper…
London Month of the Dead
London Month of the Dead has been resurrected. The annual series is back for the whole month of October with a line-up of nearly fifty mysterious and macabre events to choose from, many of which take place within the city’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ Victorian cemeteries themselves (and none of which involve knocking on strangers’ doors and demanding sweets). Expect twilight strolls, fascinating talks, ethereal events, and more…
Details: 1st-31st October | Across London
Mexico After Hours at Kew
This October Kew Gardens are tipping their horticultural hats towards Mexico with a new showcase in the only place currently as hot as Latin America: the Temperate House. Inside the sweltering tropical greenhouse you’ll find artistic & botanical installations throughout – and for a select few dates this month, they’re also throwing a few Lates, with spooky performances from the Crick Crack Club and Mandinga Arts, plus cooking demos from Santo Remedio annnd a whole load of cocktails.
Details: 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th October | The Temperate House, Kew Gardens | £15-£19
Storytelling in a Toy Museum by Night
The idea of a chilling ghost story being told in Pollock’s thoroughly old fashioned Victorian toy museum at night already scores about a 9.0 on the freak-out-o-meter. Then there’s the fact that professional storyteller Virginia Woolfe will be very deliberately trying to haunt your dreams with her story The Yellow Marble, and makes sure to point out that it’s strictly over 18s, and is “not suitable for people of a nervous disposition”. But don’t worry, the mug of mulled wine you get at the start ought to take the edge off …right?
Details: 8th October | Pollock’s Toy Museum, 1 Scala Street, W1T 2HL | £20
Absinthe Drinking & Palm Reading at the Last Tuesday Society
The devilishly macabre crew at the Last Tuesday Society have created their own absinthe distillery – London’s first, apparently – and called it Devil’s Botany. Very spooky. And this month they’re inviting people in to have a glass of the green stuff in their absinthe parlour, and then get their palm read…
Details: 11th October | The Last Tuesday Society, 11 Mare Street, E8 4RP | £16
The Rock Orchestra by Candlelight
This is a rock concert… only, instead of, ugh, lame guitars they have VIOLINS, and instead of passé electric lights they have CANDLES. It doesn’t get much more metal than that.
The people behind this genre-bending, energetic, eerily spooky affair are called the Rock Orchestra. They’re a chamber orchestra who specialise in all-new arrangements of classic rock & metal tracks, all the while bathed in the flickering light of a sea of candles, and dressed in vivid Day of the Dead-style costumes, with their faces painted in spookily theatrical makeup. In terms of pure atmosphere, they’ve nailed it so hard they almost broke the hammer. And they’re playing a gig in Brixton for one night only on October 14th…
Details: 14th October | O2 Brixton Academy, 211 Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL | £40+
Halloween Screenings at Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema are usually known for their enchanting pop up cinema themes, from the twinkling lights of their winter train ride, to the beachy sands of Miami. Buuut this month the place is getting a frankly horrifying makeover, with cobwebs, live entertainment, and themed cocktails. Plus, they’ve loaded up the slates with a checklist of classic scary movies, from Beetlejuice to Hocus Pocus…
Details: 14th – 31st October | 2 Armoury Way, SW18 1SH | £11+
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 the one-chilling tale of The Witch Trial of 1664…
Details: 24th – 31st October | Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS | £20
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 half a dozen films, from The Shining to Ghostbusters, with a selection of ghoulish snacks to feed your blood/popcorn lust.
Details: 26th-28th October | The Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, SE4 2BY | £8+
Fin-De-Siecle Salons at The Thin White Duke
The Thin White Duke is a Soho cocktail bar inspired by David Bowie, and David Bowie was inspired by, well, quite a colourful variety of things – several of which will be show for their Halloween party. Expect a three-piece band playing antique Jazz & vintage Halloween numbers, canapés, a makeup station, and one-off cocktails. Can’t decide what to get? The Tarot reader will do a reading for you, and see what the cards think you should order. Seriously.
Details: 27th-29th October | 22B Great Windmill St, W1D 7LD | £60
Dia de Los Muertos at the Victorian Bath House
The Victorian Bathhouse is one of the most beautiful & opulent venues in the city; it’s got tessellating Arabic tiles, marble floors, oriental rugs and is usually only available for private parties. And this Halloween you’re invited to one of them. Head on down, and you’ll get welcome bubbles, plus spooky cocktails, canapés, “bowl food”, and music from a guest DJ. And there’s also promise of some “spectacular and horrifying immersive entertainment” too. Which sounds nice.
Details: 27th-29th October | Victorian Bath House, Bishopsgate Churchyard, EC2M 3TJ | £100
Between The Bridges
Riverside pop up Between The Bridges will be hosting a slew of spooky events, from a ‘HallowEmo’ screamathon, to a Rocky Horror singalong, and a raucous Drag Brunch with stars from UK drag race featuring the most terrifying thing of all: audience participation.
Details: 27th – 29th October | Between The Bridges, Queen’s Walk, South Bank, London SE1 | Free daytime entry, events individually ticketed
Halloween at Sky Garden
Sky Garden has one of the best views in the city, and this Halloween it’s going to be impressing a couple of the other senses too, thanks to a live band, and some seasonal cocktails. Although, to match the 35th-floor location, the price is quite high too, with £55 for the cheapest ticket (which gets you entry and a cocktail). But the party goes on all night, and there’s a DJ once that band winds down…
Details: 28th October | The Fenchurch Building (The Walkie-Talkie), Sky Garden Walk, EC3M 8AF | £55+
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: 28th & 29th October | A secret location | £27.50+
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: 28th & 29th October | The Brunel Museum Rooftop Garden, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF | £8+
Dia de Muertos at El Pastor Soho
This Halloween weekend the folks at El Pastor Soho will be clearing out the tables from their underground mezcal bar, setting up a guest DJ, and pouring free-flowing tequila shots to go round the newly created dance floor until the early hours. Costumes are highly encouraged, and in fact might well win you a meal for two…
Details: 28th October | El Pastor Soho, 66-70 Brewer Street, W1F 9UP | £10
Ultimate Power: Bat Out Of Halloween
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: 28th October | 229, Great Portland St, W1W 5PN | £13+
Halloween Ceilidh by Nest Collective
There’s nothing more terrifying than being forced to dance when you don’t know the moves. And you’ll be flirting with that horrifying prospect at the Nest Collective’s Halloween Ceilidh, set in the stunning hall of Grand Junction, where you’ll be given a crash-course in strip the willow, dosie-do, and other ceilidh classics moments before you hit the dancefloor…
Details: 29th October | Grand Junction, Rowington Cl, W2 5TF | £15
The Rocky Horror Bloodshot Supperclub
The Bloodshot Supperclub is not your average, ordinary, everyday, ho-hum, run of the mill, garden variety supperclub.
In fact, it’s barely even a supperclub at all. It’s more like a raucous, loud, buzzing party wrapped in the clothes of a supperclub. Each one starts with cocktails at midnight, and ends with dessert that basically counts as breakfast the next day. In between, you’ll get a lineup of some of the best chefs in the city plying you with course after course of excellent food, seemingly endless bottles of wine, surprise guests (anything from burlesque shows to contortionists), live music, and an atmosphere of unfettered merriment. And this month? It’s themed after Rocky Horror, and fancy dress is compulsory..
Details: 29th October | Bermondsey Larder, Bermonds Locke, 153-157 Tower Bridge Road, SE1 3LW | £110
The Haunted House Party at Louche Soho
Louche Soho have clearly not understood the assignment, because their Halloween House Party sounds the opposite of scary. Entry? Is free. Cocktails? They’re 2-4-1 before 6pm. Entertainment? They’ve invited the House of Burlesque to do their thing. Oh, and the music? Will be taken care of by two guest DJs. See? If anything, it almost sounds… fun.
Details: 29th October | 5 Greek St, W1D 4DD | Free Entry
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 | £25 (incl. welcome cocktail)
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…
Details: End of October | Covent Garden Market, WC2 | Free entry
If anywhere in London is haunted, it’s probably going to be the place where hundreds of surgeons performed thousands of amputations without the benefit of anaesthetic for a couple of centuries, and where the fatality rate was breathtakingly high (almost half, in fact): The Old Operating Theatre.
So, with a little quick mental maths, you’ll be joined by roughly one bajillion ghosts, as award-winning Actor Jonathan Goodwin will be regaling you all with a trio of classic Victorian-era chillers: The Body-Snatcher, The Monkey’s Paw, and The Signal-man…
Details: 9th November | Old Operating Theatre Museum, 9a St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | £20
Want to do something less spooky? Here’s everything else going on in October…
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