Whether you’re looking to have a haunting afternoon tea experience, sip on wickedly tasty drinks at some of the best bars in the world, or stay at a spooktacular hotel this All Hallows’ Eve, we’ve picked out a selection of Halloween events that are sure to deliver some hair-raising moments.
When most of us think of Halloween, it’s likely that haunted houses, trick-or-treating and vast amounts of candy corn spring to mind.
However, the history of the spooky holiday dates back some 2,000 years to an ancient harvest festival called Samhain, which translates to ‘summer’s end’ in Gaelic.
Although historians are unsure of the exact nature of the pagan festival, it is known that Samhain was an annual communal meeting held at the end of the Celtic year to mark the start of wintertime.
At the time it was believed that spirits of the dead would return on Samhain as the veils between the two worlds would be at their thinnest.
Large bonfires were lit to celebrate and remember loved ones, with Celts wearing animal skins and sacrificing crops and animals for the spirits. Masks were said to be sported, too, to scare off or trick unwelcome spirits, who the Celts feared would destroy crops.
Later, in the Middle Ages, the Catholic holiday All Hallows Day (more commonly known as All Saints Day) became known as All Hallows Even – and was later turned into Hallowe’en.
A time when Christian saints and martyrs were honored, it became practice to light bonfires and go door-to-door receiving treats in exchange for prayers for the dead. Later in Ireland, the day was marked with prayers and communal feasting.
Over time it is thought that the customs of Samhain and All Saints Day have combined to create the modern-day Halloween we have today, which sees countries all over the world celebrating with an endless array of events, from visits to haunted houses in the States to trick-or-treating in Australia.
We’ve picked out a selection of treats taking place all over the globe that’ll leave you feeling wickedly stylish this Halloween – from spooky stays at luxurious hotels, dark delicacies to sink your teeth into, and ghostly cocktails and parties to enjoy under the looming full moon.
Spooky hotel stays
Fancy spending Halloween in jail or at Hogwarts? We’ve picked out a selection of luxurious hotels where you can sleep in style this Hallows’ Eve.
The soaring 92-storey Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, set against the backdrop of a cloudy, blackened sky, is the perfect setting for Halloween in Chicago this October.
Located in downtown Chicago, you’ll be right at the center of the celebrations when this amazing American city becomes ‘Chicagoween’ for three days of family fun.
Available on October 25-27, Trump International’s ‘Room with a Boo’ package includes an overnight stay for two in a Deluxe King guest room, which offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan, Chicago River or City Skyline.
The package also includes continental breakfast for two, a delicious s’mores treat welcome amenity on arrival, as well as two Halloween-themed ‘Frankenstein’ cocktails and one Fall’s Harvest Roll from Rebar, the hotel’s chic mezzanine-level lounge.
Liberty Boston Hotel, USA
It’s hard to believe that the building where the gorgeous Liberty Boston Hotel now resides was once a jail and housed some of America’s most coldblooded high-profile criminals, including the ‘Boston Strangler’.
Maybe it’s because of this that the architectural gem is a fitting place to stay at Halloween, with touches that pay homage to a jailhouse past, including a bar called Alibi which has celebrity mugshots on the wall.
Built in 1851, the site was home to the iconic Charles Street Jail until 1990, before closing and remaining empty for several years.
In 2007 the listed building was reopened as a luxurious hotel following a $150 million acquisition, retaining much of the former jail’s architecture, including cells.
For those daring enough to make a night of it at The Liberty, the hotel is offering a ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Halloween package, which includes an overnight stay for two, two tickets to the ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Halloween party on November 2, complimentary parking, and two Bloody Mary vouchers.
Located in the heart of Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, the hotel is ideally situated for guests wanting to explore this great city, including Charles River and its Esplanade.
And of course, once you’ve stayed here you can tell people about the night you slept in a jail cell. Well, almost.
Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland
Do as Harry, Hermione and Ron would do during a one or two-night stay at ‘Hogwarts’ and explore the castle’s grounds on a ‘Forbidden Forest’ treasure hunt, meet Dingle the Owl, and learn about witchcraft and wizardry.
And while aspiring witches and wizards spend their evenings getting tips from Harry Potter movies, adults can slope off to George V Dining Room to dine like lord and lady while sitting under 11 Waterford Crystal chandeliers.
With history dating back to 1218, Ashford Castle in County Mayo was once home to the Guinness family, who built the George V Restaurant to host evening dinner parties when Prince of Wales visited in 1906.
The ‘Hogwarts Halloween’ package is available October 26 – November 2. Visit www.ashford.ie
Hair-raising halloween treats
We’ve picked out a selection of dark delicacies to sink your teeth into this Halloween that’ll keep your taste buds well and truly satisfied.
Hong Kong’s first Nordic restaurant and bar, FINDS, is offering a haunting afternoon tea to celebrate Halloween.
The restaurant will test its guests’ courage with ghoulish treats such as ‘Pumpkin Custard Tart’ – which takes the form of a spine-chilling coffin – and the brain-like yet delicious ‘Caramelized Chestnuts in Rum’.
FINDS’ spooky afternoon tea set, enjoyed for HKD288 (around $37) for two, is accompanied by organic tea, freshly brewed coffee or hot chocolate.
London Hilton on Park Lane, UK
Dare to tuck into the selection of creepy cupcakes, chilling chocolate and supernatural scones on offer at the luxurious London Hilton on Park Lane this Halloween.
Guests are invited to the luxury hotel’s Podium Restaurant and Bar to indulge in a selection of Halloween treats, which include a chocolate creation in the shape of a witch’s hat and cupcakes with a spooky twist.
Served with a choice of 16 different tea varieties, this decadent Halloween afternoon tea experience is available from October 31 until November 10. Prices start at £29.50 per person (around $48).
Fine chocolatier Vosges Haut-Chocolat has ditched pumpkins and flying bats in favor of authentic Mexican-inspired dulce to mark the ‘Day of the Dead’ holiday.
The luxurious brand has made its own version of sugar skulls, cast in chocolate in three different flavors, Barcelona chocolate, Leche chocolate and Red Fire chocolate. Image credit: Vosges Haut-Chocolat
They say ghosts and ghouls come out to play at night – and that’s exactly what award-winning bars and music venues around the world have got in mind this Halloween.
From spooky cocktails at some of the world’s best bars to music venues that’ll keep you dancing all night, we take a look at where to spend the scariest night of the year.
The Roosevelt, Sydney, Australia
Often featured in lists of Australia’s best bars, The Roosevelt is headed up by award-winning bartender Dr. Philip Gandevia, whose ‘Escape from Zombie Mountain’ cocktail is perfect for getting you into the spirit of Halloween.
A long, strong and tropical cocktail, ‘Escape from Zombie Mountain’ combines rum, absinthe and orchid fruits smoked with liquid nitrogen, and garnished with copious amounts of fire and spice. It is priced at AU$22 (around $21).
12th Annual Masquerade Ball at Capitale, New York City, USA
Decadent debauchery awaits guests at the 12th Annual Masquerade Ball at Capitale, New York this All Hallows’ Eve, when the city’s most lavish Downtown private event space will host a Halloween party to remember.
Boasting two opulent ballrooms – one of which features tall Corinthian columns and marble mosaic floors, Capitale is offering guests the chance to party all night long.
World-renowned DJ DBerrie will be putting on a live performance at the venue, while guests will be treated to a one-hour vodka open bar and several more perks for holders of the Royal VIP ticketholders.
Visit www.joonbug.com to buy tickets.
The Balmoral, Edinburgh, UK
Rocco Forte’s The Balmoral is serving up some spooky cocktails to its guests this Halloween, including rum and Grand Marnier concoction ‘Zombie’ and ‘Brain Hemorrhage’, made with Bailey’s, Peach Schnapps and Grenadine.
The Langham London, UK
The award-winning bar at the Langham London is famed for its breathtaking cocktails and its take on Halloween is no exception.
Truly a cocktail to remember, ‘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.
Designed by head mixologist Alex Kratena, the refreshing cocktail is priced at £16.50 (around $27).