October 22, 2012
Note: In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there’s a chance that some of the fright fests might no longer be happening or will be changing dates, so be sure to call and double-check before you head out that the event of your choice is still going down. You can also follow #OpenInPHL on Twitter.
Whether you’re a trick-or-treat chaperone or a bar-goer, a serious Halloween haunt enthusiast or a debauch-desiring diva, this city has an All Soul’s Day event for just about everyone.
We’ve been helping you get into the Halloween spirit with a guide to all things Halloween happening throughout October, from festivals to tours to exhibitions and more, plus a thorough Guide to Haunted Philadelphia.
Now that October 31 itself is just around the corner, we’ve rounded up the best of what’s happening on Halloween night. If one event catches your eye, be sure to make reservations or secure tickets if it’s required.
Bonus: on Wednesday evenings, October 31 included, meter parking is free in Center City after 5 p.m. (on the rush hour streets, it’s free after 6:30 p.m.). The boundaries are from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River and from Bainbridge Street to Spring Garden Street.
Let us know in the comments what you’re doing for Halloween 2012 in Philadelphia.
• Terror at the Tap at Standard Tap: Come out in costume and prepare to compete (and get free Yards beer from 9 p.m.-midnight) at Standard Tap’s Terror at the Tap party. Student Driver and DJs will provide the music and Yards will be slinging discounted drinks and prizes.
• Victory Brewing Company’s Get Up and Ghoul Costume Contest: Victory Brewing Company’s first Halloween costume contest will be straight-up Victory style. Dress up and join in the fun or just come out and watch the multi-round, prize-packed competition. Participants should dress as their favorite Victory characters — zombie style. Learn more here.
• Halloween at Frankford Hall: The Germans don’t exactly celebrate Halloween, per say, but that doesn’t mean Stephen Starr and his crew at Frankford Hall won’t slightly Americanize for the holidays here — they’re still serving up those same traditional brats, beers and pomme frittes, just for special Halloween prices. Happy hour goes all night, food will be discounted and the best couples costume will win a $100 Starr gift card. Das ist gut!
• Halloween on The Porch at 30th Street Station: Spot Burgers and Lil Dan’s will be at the Porch at 30th Street Station for lunch on Halloween. If you come dressed in costume and order a sandwich, your drink is on the house.
• FranZenstein Fright Fest At Bierstube Tsingtau: Food, booze and free stuff, anyone? The costumed staff at Bierstube will be serving beers of Spaten Franziskaner including the Hefeweizen, Dunkel and Spaten Optimator. Since the staff and the building will be decked out for the festivities, they encourage guests to roam their fog-filled halls in Halloween dress, as well.
• Halloween Pumpkin Firkin at Devil’s Den: Southern Tier Pumking will be flowing from the firkin at Devil’s Den for its Halloween Pumpkin Firkin. They will also be featuring special aged Pumpkin beers from the cellar — including Oak Aged Southern Tier Pumking (2011), Bruery Autumn Maple (2011) and Easton’s Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin (2011).
• McCrossen’s Tavern Halloween Party: Sparkling pumpkin and a whole array of other seasonal brews and cocktails will be on the menu at McCrossen’s for its dance party Halloween night. Enter to win a $50 gift certificate and a bottle of wine when you sign up for the costume contest. The most refreshing part of this spirited celebration: there’s no cover.
• Yelp’s Night By The Nile at Penn Museum: You’re invited to indulge in some Nile-inspired, educational and exploratory fun at the Penn Museum. Check out some ancient Egyptian artifacts (including real mummies), dance like an Egyptian to live, DJ’ed music, taste some snacks and sips from nearby restaurants and have a Halloween night like never before. Put on your costumes and don’t forget to RSVP.
• Halloween at Dock Street Brewery: Classic horror movie soundtracks will be playing alongside horror movie classics at Docks Street on the 31st. The movies will be silently projected on the walls so you can have a drink and get some scenes of spookiness without having to shush the Halloween celebrating.
• Fright Night at Cantina Dos Segundos: Dos Segundos, the NoLibs outfit of Cantina, will have a spooky dance party featuring DJ’s, food specials and special cocktails of their own — on Halloween night, no less. DJ Del and DJ Dirty will start the dance party after dark, but enjoy cocktails like the Bloody Scary and The Chupacabra with featured snacks like sweetbread anticuchos and beef tongue tacos all day and night, from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. on Wednesday, October 31.
• Spookytini Party at Sullivan’s Steakhouse: On Wednesday, October 31, from 6-9 p.m., join AroundMainLine.com and Sullivan’s Steakhouse in King of Prussia for a sexy soiree titled in honor of Sullivan’s seasonal cocktail, the Spookytini — made with edible dry ice so it smokes while you drink it. Read more to find out how to cash in on some drink discounts and get some additional info on the event.
• Feliz Fright Night at La Calaca Feliz: Chef Tim Spinner and La Calaca Feliz owner Brian Sirhal decided to have a little fun with their Mexican restaurant on Halloween night by throwing a bash they’re calling Feliz Fright Night. From 10 p.m. until midnight, admission gets you some snacks and two hours of access to their open bar which will feature Espolon Margaritas, Tecate Beer, Sangria and a featured drink from Lemon Hill, where they’ll be having the after-party. Call (215) 787-9930 to get your tickets for $20 in advance, or pay $25 at the door. Come before the party starts and try out the $29-per-person tasting menu.
• Day of the Dead Tasting Menus at Cantina Feliz: In honor of the morbidly fun Mexican holiday, Cantina Feliz with be offering a three-course menu for $27 with optional beverage pairings for $12 from October 29-November 4. Get extra fright factor when you dine in on October 31. On the menu: Blood orange ceviche, arrechera with flank steak, mole poblano, bone marrow tamale and grilled asparagus and Mexican-style pumpkin bread pudding topped with Dolce de Leche ice cream. **NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO HURRICANE DAMAGE.
• The Devil’s Crawl Northern Liberties: Drink for a good cause at this year’s Devil Crawl, where you can enjoy $3 draft beers and $4 sponsored mixed drinks and bottled beer at Boardwalk Bar, Kings Oak, Gunner’s Run and PYT. Part of the proceeds from the event will go to the local non-profit foundation Feel The Warmth, for which you can bring along any new or lightly used coats to donate. You’ll even be rewarded with a pair of devil horns to wear for being such an angel.
• Halloweekend Pub Crawl Philadelphia: For three days, Red Zone on South 2nd street will be the starting place for a city-wide pub crawl that will take you to the coolest, most festive Philadelphia bars. Friday, October 26, Saturday, October 27 and Halloween night will be celebrated with this Halloween-themed pub crawl that will cost you just up to $5 to get in on (beer not included). Check for various package deals
• Halloween Night at Khyber Pass Pub: DJ Kevin Kong will be spinning after dark while you enjoy drinks specials and Southern-inspired snacks at Khyber’s Halloween party. The event begins at 11 a.m., dinner specials start at 5 p.m. and fun drink features like bottle-bobbing from the “Mystery Bottle Bucket” of discounted craft beer will be happening all day.
• Night of the Living Bar Crawlers Three-Day All Access Philly Ticket: Interested in the Halloween Party at The Black Sheep Pub? We’ll do you one better. Purchase a three-day package through JoonBug and you can enjoy discount drinks for three days of Halloween brew-ha-ha. On October 26, 27 and 31, the pub crawl runs from 5 p.m. until close, beginning at Black Sheep and crawling to various nearby locations. Single-day wristbands are also available for those who want to crawl just on Halloween night.
• Halloween at The Dandelion Pub: Something about the lighting in this place, the wood paneling and the old-world pub vibe makes The Dandelion have a sort of spooky feel, if you put your mind to it. Tonight they’ll have Yard Triple on tap with a gravity pour and Pumpkin Spiced Stouts Scarlet Lady and Sly Fox Brewer’s Select Pale Ale on cask in honor of the holiday evening.
• Henri David Ball at the Sheraton Philadelphia Center City Hotel: On October 31, the annual Henri David Halloween Ball will be back at it again. With more than 40 years experience throwing this smashing event, these guys don’t mess around when it comes to providing the most fabulous Halloween ball in Philadelphia. Expect hundreds of over-the-top, glamorous and eccentric costumed party-goes storming the Sheraton Downtown.
• Halloween Night at McGillin’s Old Ale House: Known to be one of the oldest still-running bars in America, McGillin’s is a neat spot with tons of history dating back for centuries. Who knows, it might even be haunted with some old drunken spirits? So this is a pretty appropriate place to spend Halloween. And, they’re having Scaraoke on October 31 (tonight!) with prizes for best costumes and Halloween drinks.
• Darkness at Alla Spina: A fire-breather and a sword-swallower will welcome you as you enter Alla Spina on Halloween night from 9 p.m.-midnight, and once you enter, the eye-candy doesn’t stop — you’ll see 8 black beers on tap. Wear a costume and you’ll get $2 off any one of them. For the less daring, Elysian “dark o’ the moon” pumpkin stouts will be just $3.50 all night. Spooky Halloween tunes and Italian horror movies will play throughout the place all night to keep you in the spirit, too.
• Twenty Manning Grill Halloween Specials: For just $4 a pop, try a glass of Twenty Manning Grill’s homemade mulled wine or a pint of Evil Genius Trick or Treat Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. Yum! That’s what we call Halloween treats. Across the street at COOK, sip on some of those while you unwind at Rittenhouse’s premier demonstration kitchen. The classy yet relaxed vibe will make for the perfect adult Halloween date.
Our top picks for Halloween night celebrations continue, below, including ghost tours, trick-or-treating, a Halloween party at the Penn Museum and more.
Die-hard Night of the Dead
• Terror Behind the Walls: There’s probably no better Halloween night destination than Philadelphia’s premier haunted adventure. Eastern State Penitentiary is already scary and haunted without the theatrics, but this haunted prison will scare the living daylights out of you when it transforms into Terror Behind the Walls. As you stand in line inside the 30-foot-tall stone walls being forced to watch the chilling Ghost Hunters television show episode, you’re already scared. Once you walk into the creepy prison cells, you’re really scared. By the time you make it past the psychotic ghosts of dead inmates, you’re ready to run for the exit. One of the country’s biggest, most elaborate and top-rated haunted attractions takes you (and the other 100,000 visitors from around the world who attend each year) on a spooky adventure through six haunted attractions, each more frightening than the last.
• Valley of Fear and the Original Haunted Hayride: You have a choice of three different creepy adventures at Valley of Fear; which will be your fate? Try them all, if you have the guts, but the award-winning Original Haunted Hayride through the dark and deep woods of Bucks County that takes you past places like the Asylum and Freaks Alley might be all the spook you need in your Halloween night. Brave souls can also take a run through the gigantic zombie-infested corn maze or listen to some twisted versions of some not-so-friendly fairly tales.
• Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride: The Bates Motel is one of the freakiest Halloween haunted spots in the region. The horror house was officially named as one of America’s scariest haunts by Hauntworld Magazine, USA Today and the Travel Channel. If your venture through the inside doesn’t give you your proper frightful fix, try a ride on the hellish haunted hayride or take a walk through the zombie-plagued corn maze.
• Ghost Tours of Philadelphia: You can take this tour year-round, but things get extra spooky on Halloween for this premier Philadelphia ghost adventure. You’ll be geared up with some basic ghost hunting gadgets, led by a costumed tour guide and get to investigate the mysterious stories behind all of the hidden cemeteries, haunted mansions and unexplainable mysteries of the city. Brave souls have three options: take the 90-minute candlelight walking tour of Independence Park and Society Hill, take the ghost hunting tour of Society Hill and get an inside look at colonial era haunted mansions, or ride a 90-minute Victorian-era style, open air trolley that loops around the most historically haunted parts of town as you listen in on the eerie stories and legends that make Philadelphia the most haunted city in America.
• Ghost Tours of New Hope: Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey, the creator of these ghost tours, felt so compelled by the paranormal of New Hope that he wrote three books on it. Experience his take on the encounters with the infamous phantom hitchhiker and much more on the lantern-led walk through the eerie town of New Hope. Click here for directions and more information.
• Murder, Mystery, & Mayhem Tour: More than just ghost stories, this tour lets you in on the “unspoken secrets” of haunted Philadelphia. While taking the guided bus tour of the city, you will learn about actual historic events that will make your skin crawl. Reserve a spot with Philly Tours for any Wednesday through Sunday all through October and the first week of November.
• Vampires, Sex, Ghosts and More: A Spooky Twilight Tour of Philly’s Dark Past: Grim Philly Twilight Tours presents a tour of the city featuring 24 historic sites in just 90 minutes, starting at 7 p.m. on Halloween night. See the dark side of the city that you’ve never seen before — former slave auction blocks, sites of public executions, are among them. Also worth noting — Grim Philly was voted the city’s best tour on Channel 17′s Philly Hot List.
• Spirits of ‘76 Ghost Tour: Experience the ominous aura of the 20 most haunted places in Philadelphia including Carpenters’ Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Rush house and Old Pine Street Church and Cemetery as you walk the creepy cobblestone streets at night. Plan a Spirit of ’76 Tour for Halloween night, if you dare.
• Superstition: A Haunted Thrill-Ride Adventure: Guests who tour the Battleship New Jersey can ride the spooky “Superstition: A Haunted Thrill Ride Adventure” simulator ride. This is a virtual roller coaster of freaky sights and screams which you can experience for $5 with the purchase of a ship tour or $6.50 on its own.
• Boo Boulevard at the Please Touch Museum: The Enchanted Colonial Village gets spookified for its annual tradition beginning October 26 and running up to Halloween night. In addition to PTM’s permanent collection of contemporary and historic toys, there will also be animatronic characters from the former Lit Brothers department store and tons of festive decorations and sounds to get you and the kids into the spooky spirit. Play with some creepy-crawly critter puppets, take advantage of the first ever Hands-On Halloween House or get your hands on some of the other super cool things PTM has to offer. Costumes are encouraged.
• Halloween At Walk A Crooked Mile Bookstore: Trick-or-treaters are welcome to stop by Walk A Crooked Mile in costume to grab some candy or books, starting at 6 p.m. on Halloween night.
• Shane Confectionery All Hallow’s Eve: Get a taste of the fall “Boo-ha-ha” at Franklin Fountain and Shane Confectionery, two of Philadelphia’s most coveted sweet spots. The flavors have collided this season to create festive treats like apple cider sorbet, The Great Pumpkin Sundae, pumpkin ice-cream, ginger ice-cream, pumpkin buttercreams, pumpkin ice-cream sandwiches and even a Chocolate Appolonia Bisque Ice Cream made in conjunction with Federal Donuts. That’s right, it’s ice-cream, with donuts. Halloween Special: stop by Shane Confectionery in dressed up in scary period attire on Halloween and receive a free treat.
• Please Touch Museum’s Monster PJ Party: Kids can have a mock version of the hangout tradition at PTM’s Monster PJ Party. Books and games about sleepovers, monsters and friendship will let kids and their families get cozy and have some fun. It’s happening Tuesdays through Sundays until Halloween night at noon and 2 p.m.
Murderous Music Shows
• The Trestle Inn Presents Voodoo Boogaloo: On Wednesday, October 31, The Trestle Inn will keep the tradition of sophisticated debauch, elegant spirits and go-go going. Join them for snazzy cocktails, costume competitions, candy, DJ Oz spinning funky soul tracks from the early days and an overall night of bygone-era, speakeasy-feeling vibes. RSVP here and celebrate from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
• Dress Up And Make A Sound: Halloween with The Spinto Band: The Spinto Band, Wilmington natives, have become a local favorite for their up-beat, laid-back, ever-catchy indie rock. Dress up, make a sound and enjoy a less chaotic escape from the mayhem at Johnny Brenda’s for this Happy Halloween show. Featuring Philadelphia’s own folk-rock ensemble Toy Soldiers, the charmingly effervescent pop songs of Pittsburg’s Delicious Pastries with DJ sets by Langor of Sweatheart, Kock 107 and Langor.
• Splintered Sunlight at The Blockley: Philadelphia’s favorite Grateful Dead cover band will embrace the deadness on All Hallow’s Eve and please Dead Heads and non at The Blockley. Featuring opening sets by the Philadelphia Brothers Reunion and Salsa Shark.
• Trap Door Athletics’ Halloween FlashWOD: Every month Trap Door Athletics, a Philadelphia-based CrossFit workout organization, has a FlashWOD, (sort of like a Flashmob, but instead of the typical mob, participants randomly start working out in unexpected public spaces). For the Halloween edition, the FlashWOD will be taking place at Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing and will follow with a festive happy hour at the Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant where they’ll be handing out awards for the best costumes.
• Halloween Extranglegangza at World Cafe Live: Grab a beer from the Yards, Weyerbacher, Flying Fish, Troegs and Fegley’s stash while you watch the ridiculously awesome 80s hair metal revival group Welcome To My Face perform Gun’s ‘n’ Roses’ entire Appetite for Destruction album. Franzschubert and the Schuubs and special guests 722 will also rock this rock ‘n’ roll costume party Extrangleganza.
• Oddcake Halloween Party: A Three-Story Haunted Mansion Rage at Kung Fu Necktie: Costumes are not optional at this Halloween soiree, but that and a $10 cover are small prices to pay for the epic list of events they have lined up for the evening. From 8 p.m.-2 a.m., they will have dozens of DJ’s playing a mix of house, electronic, dub-step, hip-hop and more. KFN is serious about making this a heck of a party, so they’ll also have Zombie Glow Hooping and Dancing by FunTown, body painting, a free outdoor hookah bar, projections of old horror classics, prizes, giveaways, games, an ice luge and much more.