Tuesday, October 31 fast approaching, which means it’s time for Chicagoans to come up with a costume (or several, for the ambitious) and head to some of Chicago’s sweetest, spookiest, and boo-ziest Halloween parties. From drag performers putting an undead spin on the summer’s Barbie craze to a jazz funeral starring the city’s Four Star Brass Band, these hotspots are offering more than pumpkin beer and Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. Partiers who strut their stuff in costume may even win cash and prizes.Read More
The Ultimate Guide to Halloween 2023 in Chicago
These bars and restaurants have plentiful tricks, treats, and spooky scares
Kit Kat Lounge
As people who spend an outsized amount of time in costume, drag performers tend to have strong opinions about Halloween. But Kit Kat, the longstanding drag bar and restaurant in Northalsted, is fully embracing the holiday with a Barbie & Ken Zombie Brunch on Saturday, October 28. There are three seatings and tickets ($88, available via Eventbrite) include an entree and bottomless mimosas.
Nightmare on Clark Street at Bamboo Club
The team behind the summer’s ultra-pink Malibu Barbie pop-up and Golden Girls brunch promises a screaming good time at Nightmare on Clark Street, a haunted house bar pop-up at Bamboo Club. Reps warn that attendees should prepare for a labyrinthian den of monsters that is “claustrophobic, intense, extreme, disturbing, vulgar, self-deprecating, and aggressive,” so ticket holders will be happy for some liquid courage from a Halloween cocktail or Jell-O shot syringe. Tickets and more details are available online.
Superkhana International and Bad Johnny’s Block Party
Superkhana International, Logan Square’s Indian-inspired restaurant that makes naans in pizza ovens, is using those ovens for spooky endeavors by partnering with Bad Johnny’s Pizza (a fixture at the Long Room) for a kid-friendly block party starting at 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 22. Spookykhana will feature fall cocktails, morbid movies in the courtyard, games, face painting, and tarot card readings. There’s also a costume contest.
Halloween at Broken Barrel Bar
This Lincoln Park sports bar has delicious wings and a costume contest on Saturday, October 28. A three-hour call-beverage package costs $40 (not including 20 percent gratuity and tax) and runs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets are available on Tock. There will be a DJ and prizes for first and second place
The reborn CSK, with smash burgers and milkshakes, is offering a special from Friday, October 27 through Sunday, November 2. The Great Pumpkin Shake is a $27.75 monster served in a giant mug. It’s a pumpkin pie shake topped with a salted caramel cake bar and mini pineapple upside-down cake (served warm). There’s also pumpkin carving on Friday, October 13 for $10.
Offal Halloween Dinner at Table, Donkey and Stick
Chef Matt Saccaro and the team at Alpine-style neighborhood restaurant Table, Donkey and Stick will carry on their decade-long Halloween tradition with a five-course offal dinner available only on Tuesday, October 31 in Logan Square. Courses will include smoked beef tongue (endive, salt cod mayo, radish), lamb heart pastrami toast (lamb liver mousse, pickled cabbage), and duck fat mazo ball soup (confit duck gizzards, Fresno chile, dill). Tickets ($50 per person) are available via Tock.
Spooky Sweets & Spirits Cocktail Party at Summer House Santa Monica
For a lighthearted take on Halloween that errs toward treats rather than tricks, Summer House Santa Monica is throwing a Spooky Sweets & Spirits Cocktail Party from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24 inside its all-seasons courtyard in Lincoln Park. Costumed party people can eat creepy canapés like Devilish Eggs and Hallo-weenies and sip cocktails like the Nightmare on M Street Margarita. Tickets ($89.95) are available via OpenTable.
Boo Ha-Ha: The Awakening at Chop Shop
Chef and artist Won Kim (Kimski) will reanimate his annual Boo Ha-Ha: The Awakening beer party from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 28 at Chop Shop in Wicker Park. Costumes are strongly encouraged, and revelers can expect unlimited pours from more than 20 craft breweries including Marz, Middle Brow, and Moor’s. It’s all topped off with a buffet from Chop Shop and DJ sets from Kim, Brother B, and Mike Slugs. Tickets ($67.62) are available online.
Ina’s Voodoo Lounge at Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods
Big Easy-style restaurant and bar Ina Mae Tavern is back again with its annual “Ina’s Voodoo Lounge” pop-up, which runs through Halloween on Tuesday, October 31. Ina’s offers a stacked calendar of events, including a Friday the Thirteenth horror drag show, a jazz funeral featuring Chicago’s Four Star Brass Band, a family-friendly Halloween party with free hot chocolate for kids (plus boozy upgrades for adults), and much, much more.
The Cauldron After Dark: Halloween Edition at The Cauldron Chicago
In all of Chicago, there may be no bar better equipped for Halloween than The Cauldron, a multi-space cocktail palace that uses chemistry and technology to make magic with food and drink. Organizers promise “spine-tingling excitement” on Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28 in a sprawling former bank building. Revelers should come in costume (the spookier the better). General Admission tickets ($20) include a specialty drink or shot, and VIP ticketholders ($125) will have access to an open bar and the Vault, a private lounge lined with hundreds of original bank boxes. Bookings and more details are available online.
Malice in Wonderland at Headquarters Beercade
Headquarters Beercade is tumbling down the rabbit hole with a Malice in Wonderland horror tea party pop-up in River North. Organizers at the arcade bar promise specialty cocktails like We’re All Mad Here plus burlesque performances and scary selfie backdrops.
Speakeasy: A Roaring 20’s Queer Halloween Soirée at Dorothy
Part dance party, part performance, and part Prohibition-era lounge, lesbians and all “friends of Dorothy” can don their glad rags for a decadent Halloween party on Saturday, October 28 hosted by performers Boss and Celeste. VIP ticket-holders ($65) will get to start the party early with a complimentary cocktail and the best seats in the house. After the performances, the revelry will continue with a two-hour set from intergalactic funk DJ Zeetus Lapetus. Bookings and more details are available via Eventbrite.
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Haunted Manor at IO Godfrey Rooftop Lounge
This rooftop hot spot in River North will don the guise of an eerie, decaying Victorian manor for a Halloween party from 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 28. Organizers promise a gothic ambiance throughout the evening, underscored by “enigmatic” performers and a ghostly glass hall. Tickets ($35) and more details are available via Eventbrite.
Never Trust the Living at The Dandy Crown
Over in River West, the Dandy Crown is piercing the veil with Never Trust the Living, a ghostly pop-up with tons of decor and a smart lineup of creepy cocktails such as Blood & Sandworms (Johnnie Walker Black Label, blood orange, cherry), Strange & Unusual (Ketel One Oranje, Fernet Branca, coffee liqueur), and the Ghost with the Most (Don Julio Blanco, St. Germain, lime). Cocktail brewer Sarah Syman also has a penchant for hot crockpot cocktails, so celebrants can have their booze and stay cozy, too. The pop-up runs through Halloween with additional events including pumpkin carving, a Spooky Dandy comedy show, and tarot readings. More details and reservations are available online.
House of TAO at TAO Chicago
Decadent dance club Tao never shies away from a party, so it should come as no surprise that its Halloween plans include over-the-top decorations — think dragons and thrones fit for royalty — plus DJ sets from Lil John and Vanderpump Rules star James Kennedy. Tickets ($30) and more details are available online.
Haunted Shipwreck at Offshore Rooftop
Offshore, the massive rooftop bar at tourist destination Navy Pier, will plumb the murky depths on Saturday, October 28 with a haunted pirate shipwreck party with a bottomless four-hour bar, passed canapés, dancing, and a costume contest. Tickets and more details are available via Eventbrite.
The Museum of Ice Cream
The Chicago location of Instagram-friendly art installation the Museum of Ice Cream is back for the most sugary holiday with special treats for visitors. Seasonal delights include the Dark Cone, chocolate soft-serve topped with Oreo crumbles and gummy eyeballs, as well as ice cream sundaes with meringue ghosts and licorice bats. Grown-up museum-goers can try the Black Widow (tequila, blackberry, sour), presented in a bubbling cauldron.
The Nightmare Before Recess at Recess
Chicagoans can live like Jack and Sally (if they want) at The Nightmare Before Recess, the enormous patio spot’s pop-up tribute to Tim Burton’s Halloween Town on Friday, October 27 in West Loop. Most details are under a mummy’s wraps for now, but celebrants can count on tons of references to the creepy-yet-cute 1994 animated musical. Reservations are available via OpenTable.
Nightmare on Wacker Drive 23 at LondonHouse Chicago
A haunted carnival is coming to LondonHouse on Saturday, October 28 with the downtown rooftop’s Nightmare on Wacker Drive 23 party for Halloween. The creepy circus will feature a costume contest, DJ sets, and an open bar from 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets ($100) are available via Tock.
After, the opulent sister bar and lounge two-Michelin-starred restaurant Ever, is seizing the opportunity to celebrate its first birthday with an over-the-top Halloween bash from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, October 28. Those who pony up $125 for a general admission ticket will get to try six themed cocktails and have unlimited access (within reason) to six small dishes from lauded chef Curtis Duffy and his staff. Costumes are required, but there’s additional motivation to show up in style — the winner of the party’s costume contest will receive a dinner for two at Ever. More details, VIP upgrades, and tickets are available via Tock.
Dead Disco at ROOF on theWit
It’s all about the undead at this zombie-themed rooftop Halloween party on Saturday, October 28 where costumes are strongly encouraged. “Chilling” food and cocktails will accompany aerialist and dance performances, as well as DJ sets from Derrick B and Bella Fiasco. Tickets ($45-$60) are available via Eventbrite.
Japanese Horror Halloween at the Izakaya at Momotaro
Japan’s venerable tradition of horror cinema will take center stage at Boka’s annual Halloween party on Saturday, October 28 inside its izakaya-style bar and restaurant that’ll be transformed into a haunted movie theater. Audiences who are able to hang onto their appetites will be rewarded with a temaki station, dishes like pumpkin curry udon, and spooky sweets, along with cocktails themed around the films. Tickets ($95) include three drinks and are available via Tock.
While West Loopers are experiencing a kind of taco invasion with out-of-town chains parking in the neighborhood, Chicago’s very own La Josie has Halsted and Randolph on lock. While it’s not a pure Halloween celebration, Dia de los Muertos means a variety of different things to members of the Latinx community, La Josie is celebrating with a special menu of food and drink specials including pan de muerto and tamales.
The Monster Mash Bash at Tack Room
Chicago drag star Queen Wanda will lend her talents to The Monster Mash Bash, a spooky Halloween sing-along at the Tack Room, a cocktail bar tucked inside Pilsen’s Thalia Hall. Croon along in costume from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 19.
Magic of the Metropolis at Bronzeville Winery
Halloween fun can be had during daylight hours, too, and can even be educational. Local urban historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas will co-host a Halloween edition of his Bronzeville tour on Sunday, October 29. The two-hour tour, created in partnership with Bronzeville Winery, will include complimentary wine, spirits, and other beverages, as well as a ride around the neighborhood on a comfy charter bus. There will also be a costume contest (renditions of Chicago historical figures are encouraged) with prizes like membership to the winery’s wine club, a sommelier wine collection package, and a $250 gift certificate to Bronzeville Winery. Reservations are available via Eventbrite.
Open Outcry Brewing Company
Get ready for Open Outcry’s Haunted Rooftop Trick or Table at 4 p.m. on Friday, October 20. It’s $25 per family for a rooftop table which includes a pumpkin-shaped pizza, a pitcher of “Ghoul-aid” and a treat bag for kids. Trick or treating starts at 6 p.m. and there’s a costume and table decorating contest at 7 p.m.