Pumpkins, parties and even pugs – luxurious ways to celebrate Halloween in London
London doesn’t do things by halves when it comes to days like Halloween. We take everything from Valentine’s Day to Wimbledon, Fireworks Night to Pancake Day flipping seriously. However, there’s something special about 31 October (especially if you grew up on Hocus Pocus and the Halloween film juggernaut) – licence to dress up, act out and have a totally horrifying time. Here's our pick of the most fabulously frightful Halloween festivities taking place this year in London.
The Curse of The Red Kiss, Berners Tavern, Fitzrovia
Full marks for the most intriguing dress code we've seen this year: 1835-2018 Surrealist Ghoulish Glamour. Lucky we like a challenge. This Halloween, head to Berners Tavern at the EDITION hotel unravel the mystery of the Curse of The Red Kiss; an urban legend that concerns a beautiful young singer, "with skin as pale as the moon and lips as red as blood", who came to London in 1835 to attend the city’s most glamorous Hallows Eve Ball. After cocktails, devour a delectable four-course feast in Berners Tavern, with live entertainment and a few spooky surprises, then show off your costume during a flamboyant dancing session in the opulent environs of Berners Tavern and the Hell-ish depths of the hotel’s BASEMENT.
Date: 31 October, 7pm – 3am Price: dinner, £150 per person, includes cocktail reception, four-course meal, access to the party Location: The London EDITION, 10 Berners Street, W1T 3NP Closest station: Oxford Circus Reservations made via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 20 7908 7979
The M Halloween Hounds Party, Victoria
Because, really, what is better than a pug dressed as a pumpkin? M Victoria Street is angling for the most dog-friendly venue in London, celebrating our faithful friends with no fewer than four canine-centric parties each year. Your Halloween hound will soon be reaping the rewards of your 'Cook for your dog' masterclass and, after enjoying a two-course lunch with you, there is a Pooch Pumpkin Hunt and Fancy Dress competition. And this takes the (dog) biscuit: 10% of all ticket revenue will be donated to the Dogs Trust.
Date: 27 October (multiple start times, between 11am and 4pm) Price: from £39.50 Location: M Restaurant, 74 Victoria Street, SW1E 6SQ Closest Station: Victoria Website: designmynight.com
Smoking Cocktails at Abuelo, Covent Garden
Abuelo in Covent Garden is an Aussie-style all-day coffee house and kitchen, with a menu that places a South American spin on dishes from down under. This Halloween, it is serving pumpkin-infused lattes, as well as smoking pumpkin and chai spice rum cocktails in the evening. The restaurant is also BYOB, meaning you can take along a bottle of your favourite poison too.
Date: 31 October, 8am-10.30pm Location: 26 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7RS Closest Station: Covent Garden Website: abuelocafe.com
Scary Fish at Sexy Fish, Mayfair
Sharks, killer whales, vampire squid, gulper eels… yep, fish can be pretty terrifying. Luckily this party is actually a whole lot more Sexy Fish than scary. The restaurant's third Halloween bash promises a fright night in Mayfair, with ghoulish surprises and wickedly good entertainment. There will be she-devils to seduce you, snake charmers to... charm you, fire breathers to get you hot under the collar and “dangerous dancers” – no word yet on what that entails. Enjoy an Elyx cocktail on arrival, live performances and canapés throughout the night. Be sure to dress up – costumes are COMPULSORY. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Date: 31 October, 8.30pm until late Price: £160 (VIP tables £1,100). Booking essential: call 020 3764 2000 Location: Sexy Fish, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BR Closest Station: Green Park Website: sexyfish.com
Malice in Wonderland, Rumpus Room at Mondrian London, South Bank
A rooftop bar is always a good idea, especially when costumes and pumpkins are involved. This Halloween, the Rumpus Room at Mondrian London will be transformed so that guests can enjoy the more macabre side of Alice’s adventure. There will be themed performances from the likes of The Nightmare of Alice, Mad Hatter Magician, Shrinking Alice and the Cheshire Cat Acrobat and if you can keep going into the dead of night, the party will continue into the early hours.
Date: 27 October, from 7.30pm Price: from £30 Location: Rumpus Room, Mondrian London, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD Closest Station: Southwark Website: eventbrite.co.uk
Movie Nights at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington
Snuggle up in the spooky surroundings of Hintze Hall this Halloween, under Hope, the blue whale skeleton, no less, and be prepared to throw your (free) popcorn into the air. The Natural History Museum is showing 80s and 90s Halloween classics The Shining, The Blair Witch Project, Ghostbusters and Silence of the Lambs over two nights, in collaboration with Luna Cinema. Your ticket price gets you a complimentary ticket to the NHM's Life in the Dark exhibition too.
Date: 28-29 October Price: from £23.85 Location: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 Closest Station: South Kensington Website: nhm.ac.uk/events
Balthoween at Balthazar, Covent Garden
New York style brasserie Balthazar is celebrating the scariest night of the year with Balthoween, its own mini spook-fest which promises to give guests an all-American All Hallows’ Eve experience straight from The Big Apple. Devour themed treats from the restaurant and Boulangerie, and Instagram the Halloween-themed installation, complete with (of course) pumpkins and skulls.
Date: 29 October - 4 November Location: Balthazar, 4-6 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ Closest Station: Covent Garden Website: balthazarlondon.com
Large Specimens Workshop at the London Taxidermy Academy, Borough
If you harbour a fascination with taxidermy – the art of preserving an animal’s body for the purpose of display or study – this workshop is for you, or a perfect gift for a taxidermy-obsessed loved one. Spend two days learning the basic techniques needed to skin, flesh, preserve and mount a specimen. No experience is necessary and you’ll leave with your own mounted, finished piece. Please note that “the London Taxidermy Academy upholds a strict no-kill policy and uses only animals raised for food or wildlife conservation / population management.”
Date: 3 and 4 November, 10am – 5pm both days Price: £254.50 (specimens are sold separately) Location: 8 Lant Street, SE1 1QH Closest Station: Borough Website: londontaxidermyacademy.com
Sumosan Twiga, Sloane Street
Sumosan Twiga on Sloane Street offers a decadent split menu of Japanese and Italian fare (trust us – it works), alongside nightly live entertainment. This month, resident entertainer Alessandro Ristori will be performing Rocky Horror Picture Show hits in honour of Halloween. Expect a raucous evening of fine cuisine, costumes and revelry, held in the second-floor restaurant and cocktail bar. After dinner, continue the party with a 'monster mash' in the basement club.
Date: 29 and 30 October, 6.30pm-2am Location: 165 Sloane Street, Belgravia, London SW1X 9QB Closest Station: Sloane Street Website: sumosantwigalondon.com
Halloween Ball at The Mansion London, North London
You’d expect fancy dress at the Halloween Ball at The Mansion to be mandatory. Three dancefloors and DJs – sure. Street food – quite standard. Out of the ordinary: there will be an art room. And a Voodoo marabout (us neither). And access to a real graveyard… Think spooky, sleek and sexy when it comes to costumes – the best wins a flight to New Orleans, home of iconic Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
Date: 27 October, 9pm – 4am Price: from £30 (up to £750 for VIP table) Location: NW (exact address sent to ticket-holders 48 hours before event) Closest Station: TBC Website: themansionlondon.com
Unlimited Charcuterie in Shoreditch
This Halloween, The Boundary Project's pop-up charcuterie bar TraTra is serving bottomless charcuterie boards with pumpkin and shallot chutney and 'blood red' butter. Load up on unlimited cured meats and artisan cheeses, available alongside warming cocktails with a Halloween twist. TraTra is nestled in the basement of The Boundary Project building on Redchurch Street, with live entertainment Thursday through Sunday.
Price: 5-7pm £10 per person; 7-10pm £18 per person for a two-hour window Location: The Boundary Project, 2-4 Boundary Street, London E2 7DD Closest Station: Shoreditch High Street Website: boundary.london
London’s Night Owls Halloween Sleepover, Canary Wharf
Thrill (and possibly terrify) your children with an epic sleepover at the Museum of London Docklands. You’ll trick or treat your way around the galleries by torchlight and a spooky character will help you solve a crime. Storytelling sessions will delve into Victorian London’s dark underbelly, bringing characters such as Dr. Jekyll and Sweeney Todd to gruesome light – but don't worry, an early breakfast and family-friendly film in the morning will brush away all the cobwebs.
Date: 26 October, from 6.30pm Price: £60 per person Location: Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, E14 4AL Closest Station: Canary Wharf / West India Quay Website: museumoflondon.org.uk