Love it or loathe it, Halloween is creeping closer, and with it comes the perfect excuse to put together a killer costume and dance ‘til you’re dead. But with so much going on, finding something decent to do can be just as hellish as Halloween itself, so we’ve called on the experts at DesignMyNight to give us the low-down on the best parties across the capital. From a haunted circus run by a pack of evil clowns to a curious murder mystery dinner, this year’s Halloween line-up might just be the best one yet.
The Dark Circus Party
Ever dreamed of running away with the circus? Well now you can (kind of). This isn’t just any ordinary circus mind, Bourne & Hollingsworth are gonna be behind the bar creating bewitching cocktails - like the rum-heavy Ringmaster’s Poison - all while aerialists swing from the ceiling, and fire breathing, sword-swallowing trapeze acts soar above the crowd. Whatever you do on the night, make sure you turn up in fancy dress. Not only is it compulsory, but it also demands you to channel your inner circus freak; whether that’s a ringmaster or an out of control sideshow clown.
Carnival Of Carnage
One of East London’s quirkiest (and most Instagrammable) private members’ clubs, The King’s Head, is hosting a Carnival of Carnage extravaganza to celebrate Halloween, and it looks pretty insane. In-between gawping at the venue’s very own taxidermy collection of leopards and zebras, you’ll be weaving your way through a series of rooms haunted by spooky storytellers, sinister seances and a spine-tingly cinema. The dress code isn’t your bog standard fake blood and fangs get-up; think clowns in cravats, dandy devils, tail-coated terrors and monocled mummies. There will be prizes for ‘creature of the night’ and ‘the finest dressed freak’ too, giving you another reason to go all out with your costume.
Alcotraz Halloween Special
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the years, it’s that London loves a bizarre pop-up, and the capital has only gone and outdone itself with Alcotraz; an eerie prison-themed cocktail bar. In an interesting turn of events, on October 31st it’s going to open its doors to all manner of freaks to celebrate Halloween. You’ll be given an inmate number and an orange jumpsuit, all before you attempt to sneak a bottle of your favourite liqueur past the guards for a boozy evening behind bars. It’s important to note that it is a Halloween special, so there may be a few hell-raising twists around the corner for you and your inmates.
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Murder In Mayfair
If you’re after something a little bit different this Halloween, Hush Mayfair is hosting an immersive murder mystery dinner, and it’s got your name written all over it. You and the other guests will be lured in for a seemingly innocent family auction of Lord and Lady Thornley-Cruttock’s family heirlooms, but don’t get too comfy, as an evening full of spine-tingling twists lie ahead. The evening will start with a Crystal Head Vodka cocktail, before you find your seat in the haunted private dining room for a delectable three-course supper.
Hocus Pocus Dance Class
People almost lost their s*** this month when there were rumours of Hocus Pocus 2. It’s one of those classic ‘90s Halloween movies that only gets better with age, and Drink, Shop & Do have organised a Halloween Hocus Pocus dance class because they love it so goddamned much. Held at their quirky plot in King’s Cross, you’ll be shimmying to Bette Midler’s I Put A Spell On You until you’ve nailed the routine.
MadBrunch Halloween Special at Madison
A massive Halloween brunch party is happening at one of London’s best rooftops this year, and you’d be dead foolish to miss it. ‘MadBrunch’ will be themed on the weird and wonderful antics of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland with stilt walkers, creepy magicians and ghoulish contortionists ruling the ring while celebrity DJ Maya Jama masters the decks. You’ll be treated to a drink on arrival, as well as a delicious selection of canapes; think pumpkin risotto in witches' hats and mini werewolf burgers.
Halloween Dining Experience
As much as we’d love to attempt every single Halloween recipe we’ve ever seen on Pinterest, some things in life just aren’t feasible. Thankfully Bread Street Kitchen have answered our devil-may-care prayers with a supernatural Halloween dining experience, so we don’t have to spend hours swearing over a hot stove. Expect a decadent five-course meal consisting of everything from pig’s head croquettes to veal with smashed pumpkin and black garlic sauce, and a whole string of Halloween-themed cocktails too.
Silent Halloween Disco Boat
Where Halloween events are concerned, London has officially upped the ante, because you can now go to a spooky silent disco - on a boat along the Thames. That’s right. Silent Sounds will take you on a mysterious journey on a two-storey (haunted) party boat, where you can take in almost all of London’s most iconic landmarks. With loads of different soundtracks to pick from, and a bar fully stocked with prosecco, you’ll be committing murder on the dance floor in no time.
If you’re going to watch a scary movie this Halloween, there’s only one place for it: Rivioli Cinema. This South London gem is steeped in history and has been around since the 1920s. In the week leading up to All Hallows’ Eve, they’ll be screening the likes of The Shining, Poltergeist and The Exorcist, giving you plenty to pick and choose from. As for snacks? You’ll be able to grab popcorn, ice cream and hot dogs at the bar, alongside a tidy selection of beer, cider and wine if you want something a little bit stronger than a glass of pop.
Twisted Circus Halloween Festival
If you’ve been avoiding all info about Stephen King’s movie, IT, this mightn’t be the event for you. Or maybe it is? Step out of your comfort zone this Halloween and grab a ticket for the Twisted Circus. It’s one of London’s scariest festivals and they’ve hired a gang of evil clowns to terrorise the joint. Expect to be spooked out by flying spiders and sword-swallowing contortionist acts, but it’s not all terror and clowns; there’s gonna be confetti drops and a top secret performance on the night. Dressing up is obviously mandatory, so for the love of Dracula, put some effort into your costume.
For more info on Halloween Events In London, and across the UK, visit DesignMyNight and follow them on Instagram and Twitter; @DesignMyNight.