Halloween is fast approaching! We’ve compiled a list of apropos things to do from now until the beginning of November, ranging from genuinely frightening to fun-scary and family-friendly activities, plus several terror-ifically delicious options (as might be expected, many of them also involve local libations) to satisfy the spectrum of scare levels.
This is not your average haunted house: For five evenings only, October 27th-31st, Strange Fellows Brewing embraces its morbid past by becoming Dead Fellows Brewhouse, complete with its own horrific and historically inspired backstory revolving around a crew of nine reanimated dead brewers with a special thirst…”Do you and yours dare enter this swamp of horrors teeming with terrifying creatures from the Land of the Dead, and can you make it through without becoming the body in their brew? A glass of revitalizing beer and an otherworldly party with the Undead await those who survive.” (For the easily jump-scared, squeamish, and underage crew, a daytime “reduced scare” option is available on the weekend only.) Get more details and secure your time slot here.
Dark Manor Inn
Just for October, the Dark Manor Inn pops up at Sons of Vancouver Distillery (including a heated haunted patio complete with coffin tables). Hit this North Shore cocktail ‘haunt’ to explore a macabre collection of cursed cocktails crafted by bar manager Emmett Groves, such as: The Zombie (Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum, SOV Amaretto, juice, brainnnnnsssssss), Fire and Brimstone (apple brandy, SOV No 82. Amaretto, Cynar, overproof rum, tarragon) Gangrene Slush (Dead Man’s Fingers Passion Fruit Rum, melon liqueur, SOV Quadruple Sec, tart lime juice), and the especially novel Plasma Punch (Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum, Campari, SOV Falernum, pineapple, raspberry, cranberry, lime) which is served tableside in two blood bags to share amongst a few friends. Open Wednesday to Friday, 5-9pm; Saturday, 1-9pm, Sunday, 5-9pm (Special Surfs up Sunday menu). No reservations. Find out more.
Meanwhile, East Van’s own Odd Society Spirits is throwing a colour themed Halloween soiree on October 26th, 6-11pm. Expect cocktail specials hitting the bar in splashes of purple, black and orange. There will also be costumes, prizes and music – which, when added to a nice gin cocktail or two, promises to make for an exciting (and vibrant) evening. Details.
Grab a few pals and hit a matinee screening of Beetlejuice at The Rio on Thursday, October 26th or Saturday, October 28th – or both! You shouldn’t need a refresher on this one, but just in case, here’s one courtesy of the Rio: “Thanks to an untimely demise via drowning, a young couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) end up as poltergeists in their New England farmhouse, where they fail to meet the challenge of scaring away the insufferable new owners, who want to make drastic changes. In desperation, the undead newlyweds turn to an expert frightmeister (Michael Keaton), but he’s got a diabolical agenda of his own.” Extra points for film-related costumes, so dig out that black-and-white striped suit and slide into one of those comfy velvet seats for some Tim Burton-style entertainment. Now, “let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose!” Find out more.
House of Haunted Ramen
Say Hey Cafe is bringing back their House of Haunted Ramen, featuring a special noodle menu (soup and dry) in collaboration with Lucky Bepo Ramen! The little Chinatown sandwich shop is switching it up on Friday, October 27th only, with an after-hours costume party from 7pm until 1am. Expect spooky drinks, decorations and dancing…and, to raise the stakes, a costume contest. Tickets ($28) are required. Get yours here.
Just for the “Spooky Season”, Commercial Drive’s Cuban-inspired Havana restaurant has transformed into a Haunted Mansion and will be serving up a special Halloween cocktail menu from October 27th-31st. Think four holiday-inspired drinks, including one non-alcoholic option, and the “1 Trick, 3 Treats” which leaves your choice up to chance (i.e. randomly selecting an option from a candy bowl). Reservations are available, and costumes are encouraged! Find out more.
Slice of Life’s Mini Mart returns on Saturday, October 28th, for its spookiest market of the year. Including more than 20 local purveyors of art, vintage and more, and free pinball all-day-long. Pet-friendly and free entry, to boot! Check out the full lineup of vendors here.
Indigenous Horror Screening
The Polygon in North Van is screening Cote First Nation, Saskatchewan filmmaker Rylan Friday’s Indigenous short horror film, Terror/Forming, on October 28th at 7pm (doors at 6:30pm). From the event page: “Told in a one continuous shot over one evening, this Mumble-gore, nail-biter follows boyfriends Parker and Darren, who get detoured on their way to a remote cabin belonging to Parker’s late kokum. As events take a sinister turn, cracks show in their relationship.” Sounds creepy! Audience members can chase the screening with a drag performance by Continental Breakfast. Get more details and RSVP here.
Costumes, Cocktails & Pizza
On Saturday, October 28th, don your best disguise and head to Sopra Sotto’s Commercial Drive location for definitely “not your Nonna’s Halloween party”. Featuring a specialty panini alongside their usual pizza menu, plus classic cocktails to help get you in the Halloween spirit and hit the dance floor to show off your Thriller moves to the tunes of a live DJ spinning from 9pm onwards. Costumes aren’t obligatory, but as they say: “There’s nothing scarier than not participating in a theme…”
Parade of Lost Souls
Every year, around this time, a shadowy procession of characters meanders through the streets of East Van for the Parade of Lost Souls. Inspired by traditional Day of the Dead celebrations, this community-driven Dusty Flower Pot Cabaret-fuelled event encourages participants to join the walk in costume, remember friends and family members who have departed, and celebrate life, as you move through dark streets enjoying pop-up performances, live music, secret dance parties and art installations. This year there is a Quantum Bandwagon with an “Everything! Everywhere!” theme (how you interpret this is wide open). The parade happens on October 28th, beginning at the Britannia Library/Community Centre located at 1661 Napier Street. Find out everything you need to know here.
From October 27th-29th, grab the kiddos and pop by the Vancouver Maritime Museum for an all-ages Halloween themed scavenger hunt complete with spooky happenings and ghostly clues. Arrive dressed in your best costumes (drop-in is fine), take part in the hunt for prizes, and learn about Vancouver’s maritime history while you’re at it! Special discounts for youths and seniors; free entry for kids under age five. Find out more.
Día de Muertos at Fairmont Pacific Rim
This year, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) falls on Thursday, November 2nd. To honour the traditional Mexican holiday, the Fairmont Pac Rim is hosting the bar team of Baltra, a world renown Darwin-inspired cocktail bar from Mexico City, for a two-night collaboration. It kicks off November 2nd, in Botanist Bar, with an on-theme menu of cocktails; followed by an evening of curated cocktails, live music and performances in The Lobby Lounge & RawBar on November 3rd. No resos needed – only festive spirits. Find out more.