High-end Halloween: sophisticated ways to celebrate this season

Posted by
Amy Swales

Halloween is a great excuse to go all-out tacky, but if you're after something a little more refined this year, you've come to the right place.

From decadent cabaret evenings to a night in with Slavic folklore, gourmet food hampers and swish afternoon teas, cocktail masterclasses and costumier tours, we've gathered a wealth of ways to celebrate in style this year.

Scroll through our gallery below and have yourself a high-end Halloween.

  • Dine with Kaspar (London)

    Legend has it that in 1898, diamond magnate Woolf Joel dined at The Savoy at a table of 13, after the 14th guest didn't show, and was the first to leave the table despite superstition. A few weeks later, Joel was shot dead. From then, staff members would offer to be the 14th guest until Kaspar – a three-foot-high cat – was sculpted in 1926 to make up the numbers.

    For Halloween, parties of 13 are invited to a five-course feast in the elegant Kaspar's restaurant (29 or 31 October), including a welcome glass of Champagne and dishes such as bloody beef and pumpkin pie. Kaspar himself will be available to join you, should you not fancy taking the risk...

    £1313.13 for 13 guests;,uk

  • Wynyard Hall (Billingham)

    Head to the four-star Wynyard Hall hotel on 29 October for an elegant Halloween dinner. Guests will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by a three-course meal using fresh, home-grown ingredients sourced from its own garden (such as marinated beetroot and walnut salad with truffled goats cheese), while being entertained by a live band and DJ.


  • Granny Yaga (UK-wide)

    Stay in for the night and get acquainted with Slavic folklore courtesy of Granny Yaga by Vitali Vitaliev, a fascinating tome of tales for young and old, revealing a host of different characters from Baba Yaga to Kikimora and Koschei the Deathless. Who, by the way, chases immortality by hiding his soul inside a needle, which is in an egg in a duck in a hare in an iron chest buried under a green oak tree. On an island. Glorious.


  • Wahaca Day of the Dead (London)

    Who needs Halloween when you've got Day of the Dead a few days later? From 3-5 November, there's an agave-fuelled Mexican fiesta of live music and art, hedonistic performances, street food and (obvs) tequila being thrown by Wahaca in The Vaults at Waterloo. There's a free-to-enter food market on in the Leake Street Tunnel (complete with entertainment) while from 8pm, a procession of performers lead guests underground for music, Lucha Libre wrestling, life-drawing, poetry, tequila bars and plenty of food. Wahaca co-founder Thomasina Miers will also host a dinner beforehand (£65 including entry and welcome drink).


  • Dead Famous Halloween Weekender (London, Manchester)

    Bowling, booze and... something scary that begins with B. During the day, there's a Bloody Brunch with unlimited Bloody Scaries, Prosecco or beer, various food deals and several new cocktails (plus bowling, of course). For vampire types, in the evening there'll be DJs as you play.

  • Morbid Curiosities (UK-wide)

    Have an evening in with Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre – a new book providing an insight into the strange world of collectors of the macabre. Featured collections include a two-headed taxidermy cow, metal fingertip shapers worn by women at night, art by mass murderers, a mummified gorilla death mask, photographs of 19th-century skin diseases and countless skulls, organs, shrunken heads and the like.

    Published 22 October, £19.95;

  • Behind the Seams (London)

    Instead of dressing up yourself, or if you're in need of inspiration, take a peek at how the experts do it. Famed (and Oscar-winning) purveyors of costumes Angel's is offering a new tour of its warehouse and workshops showcasing the company's extensive collection (the rails of which span eight miles) of more than a million items used on stage and screen. Tours run regularly, check the website for details.


  • Lucifer's Feast (UK-wide)

    Give Halloween a nod in ever-so-grown-up fashion by indulging in a hamper by Fortnum & Mason, which includes boozy chocolate truffles, a decadent truffle stick pack and a Dia de los Muertos tequila blanco, as well as Lucifer biscuits, Lucifer toffee and black magic Lucifer marmalade.


  • Horror Circus Party (London)

    At Mayfair restaurant Novikov, guests will be treated to the likes of world-class male contortionist Tommaso Di Vincenzo, Heavy Metal Pete (pictured – sword swallower, whip cracker and all round twisted, we're told), award-winning vaudeville diva Vivid Angel and Bambi Blue – fire-eating mermaid, gypsy princess and travelling sideshow star. Bar stays open til 3am and entry is free for those dining in the restaurant.

  • Phantom of Stanmer House (Brighton)

    The Proud Group is doing its thang at Stanmer Park, transforming 18th-century country house into the Phantom's world. The night will include live music, performances from West End stars and a three-course feast with dishes designed to represent various key scenes (such as a finale of dark chocolate and ghost chilli mousse).


  • Halloween Treats (London)

    Bea’s of Bloomsbury are doing a Halloween Afternoon Tea all day on 31 October (price includes a glass of Prosecco, and vegan and gluten-free options are available), but if you don't fancy the whole sit-down affair, you can try one of the various treats – spiced pumpkin macaroons, ghostly meringues and headless gingerbread men – on a takeaway basis.


  • Meet the Widow (Manchester, London)

    This year marks the 150th anniversary of the death of one of Champagne's best-known women, Madame Clicquot. For one night only on 28 October, restaurant and bar Australasia (pictured) will play host to this famed first lady of fizz, transforming into a gothic wonderland and offering the chance to win a bottle or glass of Veuve Cliquot.

    A busy lady for someone so dead, there are also Meet the Widow events on at London’s Pennethorne’s Bar, Mr Fogg’s and Bart’s, with special cocktails, food and drink deals and of course, plenty of Champagne.

  • Mr Bowler’s Music To Be Murdered By (London)

    Brasserie Zédel's circular, art deco Crazy Coqs bar is usually home to cabaret as part of the Live At Zédel programme of shows, but on 30 and 31 October will be home to Music To Be Murdered By from the Mr Bowler dance company – a slick, multi-sensory journey through theatre, music and comedy narrated by Alfred Hitchcock (no, we don't know how).


  • Dress Up (UK-wide)

    Halloween dressing doesn't have to be head-to-toe tack.

    Socks, £3.50;
    Nail varnish, £14;
    Necklace, £50;

  • Sympathy for the Devil (London)

    A one-night-only kinda show is on offer at The Bloomsbury Ballroom from The London Cabaret Club on 29 October, which comes complete with three-course dinner (tapas-style, including British-leaning meat and cheese boards, crab and avocado salad and white wine poached pear with thyme cream) and smoking cocktails brought to your table. Just sit back and enjoy the flame dancers, musical numbers and acrobatics.

    From £35;

  • The Woman in Black (Leeds)

    Get cultured while indulging in an atmosphere appropriate to the season: The Woman in Black continues its record-breaking run with a UK tour, showing at the West Yorkshire Playhouse 25-29 Oct.

    From £13.50;

  • The Mansion (London)

    The Mansion London's extravagant Halloween party (29 October) will be held in a secret destination behind what we're told is a haunted graveyard. Expect a fire show, DJs, three dance floors, vintage horror movies and fortune tellers (plus shishas in the garden). Fancy dress is mandatory and the party goes on til 4am.

    £38.99 (waiting list only);

  • Beastly Bites (UK-wide)

    You may not fancy getting out and dressing up, but no one says you can't have your Halloween chocolate and eat it too. These caramel and praline Beastly Bites from Hotel Chocolat are super simple, but extremely cute. They're also part of the seasonal range, so they won't hang around forever...


  • Halloween Afternoon Tea (London)

    For those after a sedate (but delicious) Halloween day, the London Hilton on Park Lane is offering a colourful themed afternoon tea in its Podium Restaurant and Bar for the week of 24-31 October, including mango mousse with raspberry, green apple gel with white chocolate, and elderflower jelly on chocolate sponge, as well as the usual scone-shaped suspects. Upgrade to Pommery Champagne for an extra £10.


  • Spirited Supper (London)

    One of the World's 50 Best Bars (official), Oriole is offering a typically classy, spirits-orientated type of evening on 31 October. Agave aficionado Gaby Moncada will impart expertise while guests enjoy a Tommy's Margarita with Tapatio Blanco before a feast featuring the likes of churros with goat curd and truffle agave syrup, duck with mole poblano, queso fresco and puree de camote, and raw chocolate, chilli and avocado crema with queso crema nachos. Each course will be paired with a suitable spirit and there's live music from 9pm.


  • Halloween Pop Up (Chipping Norton)

    Guests are invited to a sophisticated dinner in CDS Stone & Wood Tiles, celebrating Halloween via gourmet dishes from upmarket caterers Ross & Ross, such as curried gurnard with pineapple sambal. There'll also be live music from singer-songwriter Harry Pane.


  • Cocktail Masterclass (London)

    Learn something new at a cocktail masterclass. In London, 68 Colebrooke Row is teaching guests the art of the Corpse Reviver and Death in the Afternoon, while basement bar La Oficina specialises in agave spirits, and as such will be putting a tequila spin on proceedings in two sessions on 29 October.


  • The Real Jekyll & Hyde (Edinburgh)

    Indulge in a true story brought to life by performers at The Edinburgh Dungeon. The Real Jekyll & Hyde (running until 31 October) tells the sinister truth behind Robert Louis Stevenson's tale.

    From £11.75;

  • Day of the Dead Golf (London, Manchester)

    London's Junkyard Gold Club is getting a Halloween makeover from 7pm on 29 October. Expect circus performers, fire eaters, magicians, tarot readings and, of course, the usual crazy golf options on the venue's four courses. There are four bars for when you've worked up a thirst (cocktails, beers and, er, cherry Lambrini) and hot dogs for eats. The Manchester branch will be throwing a similar shindig from 7pm, with Halloween cocktails, DJs and fancy dress.

    From £10.50;

  • Get away from it all

    Seven nights at Camping Bella Italia on the banks of the stunning Lake Garda, Italy, near the beautiful Roman town of Peschiera del Garda, in a two-bedroom mobile home start at £196 per party, arriving 22 October. Just sayin'...

    Contact Canvas Holidays at or call 0345 268 0827.


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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