For many, Halloween is a favorite time of year. It’s easy to see why, what with all the candy, costumes, parties, and themed food and drinks at local restaurants and watering holes. This month, Philly eateries, bars, and neighborhood organizations get into the spooky spirit with events, blowout parties, and family-friendly fun leading up to All Hallows’ Eve and on the big day itself.
Halloween might as well be all year long when it comes to Grim Philly’s pub crawl ghost tours. They run year-round, but kick into high gear in October. The tour includes a haunted history walk with stops at three bars or restaurants, where a light snack or drink comes with the price of the ticket. The stops vary by tour, but have included Old City’s Royal Boucherie, JJ Bootleggers, Sassafras, and Han Dynasty.
October 19, 20, 26, 27, and 28
Is there anything better than spooky tales and candy to celebrate Halloween? Shane Confectionery combines the two with a tour that take visitors through America’s oldest continuously operated confectionery to take part in a seance and learn about food’s role in obscure death rituals, all while sampling themed sweets, including a hand-crafted chocolate memento mori and ginger-orange petit fours. It’s $25.
Wednesday, October 24
The bars and restaurants of East Passyunk Avenue are hosting a beer crawl on October 24. Tickets ($6.66) get bar-hopping witches and warlocks craft brews for $4 at 17 spots, including Birra, Bing Bing Dim Sum, ITV, and POPE, plus a witch hat to wear. Look for food specials, too.
Bartender Mary Wood leads a pop-up cocktail event called The Witch Bar at Old City’s popular Art in the Age shop and tasting room a few days before Halloween. Mary will guide the group through crafting themed cocktails. Tickets are $40.
Thursday, October 25
La Peg, the restaurant at the FringeArts building on the waterfront, is getting into the Halloween spirit with a screening of Ghostbusters starting at 7 p.m. If the weather is good, it’ll be shown outdoors in the beer garden. If not, head inside to watch the film in the FringeArts theater. It’s free. Food from the restaurant — which you can eat while you watch — is pay as you go. There will also be pre-show Ghostbusters trivia. On Sunday, October 28, La Peg will show Bedknobs and Broomsticks at 6 p.m. — this is a family-friendly event, with a costume contest for kids at 5 p.m.
Saturday, October 27
The stores, restaurants, and hotels surrounding Rittenhouse open up their doors annually for a free all-ages day of trick-or-treating. Local restaurants participating — including Audrey Claire, Mac Mart, Metropolitan Bakery, and SoBol — will post a cat sign in their window to let costumed visitors know there’s candy waiting inside.
Those looking for a party the Saturday before Halloween should head to Morgan’s Pier for the waterfront venue’s open bar costume party hosted by Brittany Lynn, “The Don of Philly’s Drag Mafia.” It’s an all-you-can-drink affair for $50 (or $60 at the door). Morgan’s Pier closes for the season after the bash.
The Twisted Tail throws fun parties throughout the year and is known for its live music. Halloween is no exception. The Headhouse Square restaurant’s VooDoo party features the Mikey Junior Band, a photo booth, and a costume contest. It’s free to attend and there will be rotating cocktail specials starting at 11 p.m.
Trestle Inn is always up to something fun and Halloween is no exception. Its party the Saturday before Halloween features disco tunes on vinyl, a costume contest, and of course, go-go dancers. It’s $10 (plus $2.24 fee) in advance or $15 (cash only) at the door. The entry price includes one free “Psychomeyers” or well cocktail.
This family-friendly event takes over East Passyunk Avenue with Halloween activities for the kids, a costume contest, trick-or-treating at neighborhood shops, live music, and fall-themed food.
South Street Headhouse District is throwing its annual family-friendly Halloween festival with contests galore, including a jack-o’-lantern contest, a pumpkin pie–eating contest, costume contests, wagon rides, a hay bale maze, seasonal bites from local restaurants, and trick-or-treating at neighborhood stores.
Head down the shore for the Tropicana casino-hotel’s big Halloween party. Activities inside and outside the hotel include a themed light and sound show, The Rocky Horror Picture Show “Time Warp” dance on the Boardwalk, giveaways, a costume contest, and specials on food and drinks (like the “Morgue-arita”). On the Thursday and Friday before Halloween, the Trop’s Boogie Nights club will host its own parties that feature a themed cocktail menu and a lesson in the “Thriller” dance.
Wednesday, October 31
The bar that celebrates every holiday with themed drinks and decorations has “Scaraoke” (costumed karaoke with prizes) and a midnight costume contest planned for Halloween. McGillin’s will be serving pumpkin-flavored spiked hot chocolate, pumpkin martinis, and something called a Pumpkin Bomb. Get in the spirit: It’s rumored that the ghost of Ma McGillin shows up to check on her bar from time to time.
Starting at 10 p.m., head to Destination Dogs for a casual Halloween party with entertainment, scary movies, a costume contest, and spooky cocktails.
The Patio at Spring Arts and Love City Brewing Company are joining forces for a block party between 10th and 11th on Hamilton Street with live music and a DJ, food trucks, and beer and cocktails. It runs from 7 p.m. to midnight and is pay as you go. The after-party is at the Trestle Inn, owned by the same people as the Patio.
Last year’s cider-themed Halloween event at Kensington Quarters was such a good time that it’s back for another round. Two bars will pour more than a dozen ciders, while seven guest chefs — including Ange Branca of Sate Kampar and Michael Ferreri of Res Ipsa — serve $5 dishes. Come in costume for this party and hit the ATM beforehand; food tickets will be sold at the door for cash only.
Costumed karaoke comes to Yakitori Boy in Chinatown on Halloween night. Expect Halloween-themed cocktails, deals on drinks, and a costume contest.