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October 21, 2013updated Dec 20, 2023

A Frightful Halloween in London

By Laura Walkinshaw

Although Halloween is traditionally more celebrated Stateside, London has upped the stakes in recent years with a rise in frightening late-night walks, ghoulish costumes and zombie-themed parties to celebrate the scariest day of the year.

We take a look at the festivities taking place in the British capital to entertain adult trick-and-treaters this Halloween, including vampire-themed cocktails, sweet (but scary-looking) treats and late-night parties where good music and frightening faces are a given.

Get creative at Fortnum and Mason’s Annual pumpkin carving competition

fortnum and mason pumpkin carving_Mind the cobwebs as you venture around some of London’s best Halloween events that’ll keep both children and adults entertained this October.

Learn how to decorate frightening gingerbread men at Fortnum & Mason’s Hallowe’en Jolly Gingerbread Men Decorating Workshop on October 22, while over at Selfridges, on Oxford Street, children will get the chance to make their own spooky treat or costume.

Back by popular demand, the Fortnum & Mason’s Annual Hallowe’en Pumpkin Carving Competition on October 31 is a perfect opportunity to showcase pumpkin carving and artistic skills. Two competitions will take place on October 31; one for under 10s in the demonstration kitchen at 3-5pm, and another for those aged 11 at 6-8pm.

For information and tickets, visit and

Impress with an alternative Halloween costume 

national theatre halloween__

If you’re fed up of seeing the same Halloween costumes year after year, or could do with some inspiration on what to dress up as, book one of the National Theatre’s Costume Hire department’s limited appointments and get help with creating a devilish look that is sure to impress.

With a collection of more than 6,000 costumes, the department offers an alternative to traditional Halloween costumes – and who wouldn’t take comfort in walking away in finery regularly sported by actors?

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“Some of our period costumes lend themselves to slightly more macabre characters,” said Liz Murray, customer and furniture hire and transport manager at the National Theatre.

“Discerning customers wanting something a little different from the usual Halloween “fancy dress” costumes come to us and are transformed into fallen angels, aristocratic vampires, vagabond pirates and highway men.”

Visit or call +44 20 7735 4774. Image credit: National Theatre

Delve into some devilishly good gelato at one of London’s finest parlors

gelupo2__Getting ready for Halloween makes for thirsty work, so what better way to recharge than by visiting one of London’s finest gelaterias for some autumnal delights?

To celebrate Hallow’s Eve and Bonfire Night, the chef at Soho artisan gelateria and delicatessen has created a selection of specially inspired ice-creams alongside autumn classics, Pumpkin & Cinnamon and Apple Strudel.

Certainly not for the fainthearted, Sanguinaccio is a deliciously devilish concoction made with dark chocolate, Marsala dessert wine and real pig’s blood.


Check in at one of London’s most haunted hotels

langham at night_At Halloween, where better to stay than at a luxurious hotel that promises all the opulence you expect from a five star property, with the added excitement of being one of England’s most haunted hotels?

The Langham, London has an intriguing past, which dates back not only to when the hotel opened in 1854, but when the site on which it was built was the London mansion of the third Lord Foley, Foley House in 1797.

During almost 150 years of existence, the Langham is said to have picked up some uninvited guests and reportedly houses seven ghosts.

Numerous sightings have been reported by guests over the years, particularly those staying in Room 333, where a man dressed in Victorian evening wear – said to be a doctor who murdered his wife and then killed himself while on their honeymoon – has been seen during the month of October.

Another guest reportedly saw a Germanic looking man, rumored to be a German Price who jumped to his death out of a fourth floor window just before the First World War broke out. The ghost of Emperor Napoleon III is also said to haunt the basement.


Dare to indulge in some terrifyingly tasty afternoon treats

corinthia london halloween afternoon tea_Quintessentially British afternoon tea has undergone a transformation at Corinthia Hotel London, where formerly delightful fancies have been turned into truly terrifying treats to satisfy taste buds this Halloween.

Dare to sit under the looming ‘Full Moon’ chandelier in Corinthia’s Lobby Lounge and indulge in tasty creations such as ‘The Witch’s Hat’, made from raspberry macaroon with fresh raspberries and cream, and ‘The Poisonous Mushroom’, prepared from chocolate fudge with lime cream.

Also joining the Halloween-themed afternoon tea is ‘The Spiders Tart’ of pumpkin custard, the ‘Bat Battenberg’ and ‘The Broomstick’, a blackcurrant mousse with black ink jelly.


Indulge in a spookY cocktail for adult trick-or-treaters


London’s cocktail scene is one of the best in the world and dominated in the World’s Best 50 Bars recently, with four venues named in the top ten. The number one title went to the award-winning Artesian bar at the Langham London, which shows exactly why it is winning material with this Halloween cocktail to remember.

Designed by head mixologist Alex Kratena, the refreshing cocktail ‘Aqui Estoy’ – meaning ‘Here I am’ in Spanish, is made by combining Don Julio Blanco tequila from Mexico, Mezcal for a strong and smoky flavor, and Shiso from Japan. Expect a refreshing mint taste along with fresh lime.


oxo tower_

Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Bar has also created a range of spooktacular cocktails for adult trick-or-treaters to enjoy this Halloween.

Choose from ‘Twilight’ –  the perfect aperitif for gin lovers, ‘Wicked Witch’, a lively cocktail made by combining Absolut raspberry, ‘Midnight at Noon’, a dramatic ruby-red concoction, ‘Vampire Kiss’, a ‘bloody’ cocktail that is a twist on the mojito, ‘Frankenstein’ – made for the martini lover – and ‘Haunted Ghosts’, a ghostly white drink that gives you a sugar boost.


Solve a Halloween murder mystery

murder mystery_

For a dinner party with a difference, luxury hotel Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes London is offering a ghostly murder mystery evening for thrillseekers this Halloween.

At ‘The Georgian Ghost’, guests join four professional actors and play the parts of a group of psychic investigators from the TV show “Greatest Ghostly”, who have come together on Halloween to see if they can make a connection with the Georgian ghost.

The evening starts with a welcome drink while the actors introduce the characters and set the scene. Once the grisly murder has taken place, guests are taken to Park Plaza’s dining room for a three-course gala dinner, before prizes are awarded to super sleuths and music is enjoyed until late.


Party at spooktacular heights with The Roof Gardens

roof gardens party_
Get yourself down to one of the best Halloween parties in town and rock it out well past the witching hour at The Roof Gardens’ annual spooktacular.

Located 100 feet above London’s bustling High Street Kensington, The Roof Gardens’ ultimate Halloween party on November 2 will include live music from funk-soul and rock ‘n’ roll six-piece band FosseyTango to get party-goers moving in the marquee, a Halloween-themed photo booth and lots more.

A selection of Halloween-inspired cocktails will also be on offer at the Roof Gardens’ Babylon Restaurant, including ‘Blood Clot and Sand’ and ‘Witches Cauldron’.

Expect a devilishly good night with some of the best fancy dress you’ll see this Halloween. Entry from 8pm until 10pm.


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