‘Tis the time of year where the streets are stalked by mini nightmares carrying plastic pumpkins, ghastly multipacks of sweets fill the supermarkets, and it isn’t unusual to see a mummy trailing bandages on the Central Line at 6pm mid-week. Yes, it’s Halloween, when the veil between the two worlds thins, and the world’s supply of fake blood dwindles inexorably. Love it or loathe it, you have to admit – it’s a hard one to escape.
But whether you want to avoid the whole thing, or simply want a more considered approach than yet another year of pumpkins and polyester vampire outfits, there is something you can do. In fact, there’s three things, all of which offer a more refined, relaxed and smart-thinking way to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve. Here’s our pick of the pumpkin patch.
Witches, Monsters and Beasties with London Drawing Group
Expand your creativity beyond your fancy dress this Halloween, with a dedicated session run by the London Drawing Group. An art collective that runs drawing workshops in museums and galleries across the capital, this All Hallows’ Eve week they’re leading a series of events and talks all about Halloween. It all kicks off with a Hokusai-themed evening at cafe and gallery space Buster Mantis in Deptford on Tuesday 30 October, where guests will learn to draw the ghostly Yokai of Japanese mythology, while hearing stories of these fantastical creatures. Then, on Halloween itself there’s the two-hour (non drawing) Witches, Monsters and Beasties tour of the National Gallery, which will uncover the hidden history of the titular demons in Western art. For those who want to get more involved, they’re combining the tour with a day-long sketching workshop on Sunday 4 November, too.
From £16.31, Tuesday 30 October – Sunday 4 November londondrawinggroup.com
La Maison Gothique at Oriole
Searching for something a tad more… glamorous? Then La Maison Gothique at Oriole will be right up your street. This Halloween, award-winning cocktail bar Oriole will be taken over by the showmen, cabaret stars and burlesque queens of Fin de Siècle Paris, for a night of gothic glamour and sensual showpieces. Featuring a menu of specially crafted Grey Goose cocktails, including the celebrated Noir Obscure and a secret, theatrical ritual serve that will be unveiled at some point in the evening, it’ll undoubtedly be an unconventional – and unforgettable – way to spend Halloween.
Tickets are £25 and include a welcome drink, live performances and a takeaway Grey Goose cocktail oriolebar.com
Halloween at Heddon Street Kitchen
Already queasy at the thought of all those Halloween sweets? Get some proper food down you instead. Until Monday 5 November Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen is running a special edition of its Kitchen Table series, spookily themed around All Hallows’ Eve. The experience starts with a Dracul-uiri cocktail, before moving onto a selection of canapés including pig’s head croquettes and BBQ lamb sweetbread. Next up, there’s beef tartare, confit egg and black truffle ‘served on the bone’, as well as roasted scallop with squid ink risotto. The focal point of the evening will be the whole roast suckling pig, served to share among your fellow diners. The whole thing sounds scarily delicious – and a rather unbeatable way to celebrate Halloween, we think.
Available for lunch (12pm – 3pm) and dinner (6.00pm – 8.45pm), tickets are £75 per person, for groups of 6-10 people gordonramsayrestaurants.com/heddon-street-kitchen