Halloween for Grownups: Pop-Up Bars, Spooky Soirées and More Philly Haunts
From macabre cocktails to costume parties to haunted jaunts, there are so many ways to get your #SpookySzn on around town.
You’re never too old for Halloween. Dressing up? Check. Eating candy? Absolutely. Watching Hocus Pocus for the 25th time? No problems there. But if you’re a grownup who wants some extra Halloween festiveness, you’ve got options beyond tagging along with your kids (or your friend’s kids who you’ve suddenly befriended in hopes of fun-size Snickers leftovers) for trick-or-treating. In fact, there are more options than ever, with brand-new pop-up bars, haunted houses, spooky soirées and so much more.
The Nightmare Before Tinsel
This Halloween pop-up bar located in an abandoned jewelry store has everything: skeletons, a haunted bunny stuffy, a giant smoke-breathing dragon, a zombie facsimile of Gritty behind the bar, creepy baby dolls and more spooky scares. And, of course, the drink menu does not disappoint. Expect lots of themed cocktails like the Blood Bag (it’s cranberry juice, don’t worry), skull-shaped specialty shots (yes, you can keep the skull), and other fall flavors served up in Halloween-themed take-home vessels (think: cauldrons, pumpkins, and a cute ghost sippy cup).
Pay-as-you-go; now open through October 31st, 116 South 12th Street.
Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary
Fairmount’s historic prison has been divided into five separate haunted house attractions: Delirium (in 3D!), Machine Shop, The Crypt, Big Top Terror and Nightmares. There’s also the Bloodline Lounge (for vampire-themed cocktails), live dance performances by the Skeleton Crew in the Gargoyle Gardens, a beer garden, tours and more.
$34; September 23rd-November 12th, Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue.
The basement of this 120-year-old factory is split into three frightening themes to explore, complete with lots of scare-actors, special effects, and elaborate set design.
$30-$45; select dates through October 31st, 2200 South Swanson Street.
This haunted motel in Delco is a longtime favorite for a reason, and worth the drive if you’re looking for a haunted house with high production value. And back for this year is the 25-minute haunted hayride through Arasapha Farm, complete with its own sets and special effects. Plus, you can walk through a haunted corn maze (who knew that was a thing?) called Revenge of the Scarecrows!
$40-$125; September 23rd-October 31st, 1835 Middletown Road, Glen Mills.
Uptown Upside Down
For the first year ever, Uptown Beer Garden is getting into the spooky spirit, and they’re coming out swinging … with a Stranger Things-themed experience! They’re taking it back to circa-1983 Hawkins, Indiana, with plenty of photo ops based on the show (Demodogs! Demogorgons! Vecna!) and other general Halloween-y decor, plus themed cocktails in take-home souvenir glassware.
Pay-as-you-go; September 30th-October 31st, Uptown Beer Garden, 1500 John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
Adult Trick or Treat at Chaddsford Winery
Join a Chaddsford Wine Guide on a walking tour to visit five Halloween-themed pairing stations — and get wine tips along the way! Sparkling wine with a cakepop? Yes, please. A wine slushie with vampire fangs? Don’t mind if we do! You’ll get a keepsake Halloween wine glass, plus plenty of wine and snacks, in a one-of-a-kind trick-or-treat experiences that’s 21-and-up only. After your 45-minute jaunt, you can buy more wine (or beer) by the glass, plus food from the Common Good Food Truck.
$35; Saturdays and Sundays in October, Chaddsford Winery, 632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford.
Tours at Laurel Hill Cemetery
There’s no better time of year for a scary stroll than October, and there’s no better place for it than a historic graveyard. Laurel Hill is offering all sorts of spooky tours, including their classic Halloween flashlight tours. See their whole calendar of events and choose a perfectly macabre tour here.
Little Blume of Horrors
Blume Burger has been transformed into a spooky bar, with a focus on ’80s horror movies! Where else can you eat a burger and drink a themed cocktail (including the Craniotomy with gummy worms, the Black Magic with edible glitter, and, of course, a pumpkin-spice-latte martini) while Jason wields a giant knife over your shoulder?
Pay-as-you-go; now open through October 31st, Blume Burger, 1500 Locust Street.
Nightmare Before Christmas Pop-Up at Craftsman Row
They’ve done Christmas, Mardi Gras, and even boardwalk-themed pop-ups, all complete with their own over-the-top milkshakes and cocktails. Well, now Craftsman Row is getting into the haunting game with a new pop-up experience: Nightmare Before Christmas. Expect special menu items, drinks, a new milkshake, and lots of decorations!
Pay-as-you-go; September 26th-October 31st, Craftsman Row Saloon, 112 South 8th Street.
Spooky Twilight Tours at Betsy Ross House
This tour takes you back to the 1700s, where you’ll “hear true tales of bloodletting, smallpox, yellow fever and other gross experiences.” Yikes. After learning about all the disease and dying of 18th-century Philly, head into the Betsy Ross House for a shadowy after-hours tour. Tickets available online.
$12; Fridays and Saturdays in October, Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street.
Lincoln Mill Haunted House
Philly’s newest haunted house is set to open in Manayunk with a grisly Hurricane Ida-related backstory and over 40 “scare-actors” among the property that will be decked out with sets, animatronics, and special effects. Read all about Lincoln Mill in our preview.
$29-$55; Thursdays through Saturdays from October 6th-November 5th, 4100 Main Street.
After Hours at The Woodlands
Bring a blanket and picnic (and beverages), explore the historic Woodlands cemetery after dark, and enjoy a spooky outdoor concert by the Philadelphia Viola Quartet in front of the stable.
$10 (free for members); October 7th, 6-8 p.m., The Woodlands, 4000 Woodland Avenue.
Candlelight Ghost Tours of Fort Mifflin
Experience Fort Mifflin after hours with a three-quarter-mile walking tour of the historical site. There will also be a “spirited” pop-up cash bar courtesy of Warehouse on Watts. Costumes are encouraged on Halloween weekend. Not enough haunted Fort Mifflin for you? You can also gather a group of 20 to 35 for a private 90-minute candlelight tour of the soldiers’ barracks — private tours need to be booked at least 10 days in advance.
$15-$25; weekends from October 7th-30th, Fort Mifflin, 6400 Hog Island Road.
Halloween Drag Trivia
Gather your team of up to six players and join Brittany Lynn at Bok Bar for a night of trivia focused on all things Halloween! Prizes will be awarded, including one for the best team name, so be creative. Tickets available online.
$10 per person (tickets are sold in pairs), drinks are pay-as-you-go; October 12th, 5-7 p.m., Bok Bar, 800 Mifflin Street.
Rocky Horror Picture Show Live
PHS’s Manayunk pop-up garden will host a live shadow performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show starring the Transducer Players, and featuring Brittany Lynn as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Costumes are encouraged, and you can even add on a prop bag when you order your ticket online. Don’t dream it, be it!
$15-$50; October 13th, 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), 106 Jamestown Avenue.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula turns 125 this year, and the Rosenbach is home to the novel’s first editions, as well as Stoker’s research notes and outlines he made over seven years while writing it. To celebrate the anniversary — and spooky season — the Rosenbach will read the entire novel aloud from dusk till dawn. It starts at 4 p.m. on Friday, and once it hits 9 p.m., admission is free for the night owls!
$8 from 4-9 p.m., free after 9 p.m.; October 14th, 4 p.m.-October 15th, 9 a.m., Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce Street.
Sofitel’s Drag Tea with Brittany Lynn’s Drag Mafia
Brittany Lynn headlines this posh Halloween tea with her Drag Mafia, so get your frightening fascinator ready (and bring some dollars for tips!) for scones, seasonal tea sandwiches, tea, and lots of entertainment. (For cocktails, choose from mimosa, Bloody Mary or straight-up champagne; pay $10 extra for the bottomless option.)
$75; October 15th, 2-4 p.m., Sofitel, 120 South 17th Street.
Monster Mash Bloody Mary Challenge
More than a dozen bars throughout Northern Liberties will put their unique spins on the classic bloody, and drinkers have nine days to taste each one and rate them on spice, taste, design, and “Halloweeniness.” Particularly ghoulish drinks include: Cantina Dos Segundos’ Sangre de Nagual (inspired by the Aztec story of sorcerers that drank human blood, but the cocktail is vegan!), Jerry’s Bar’s Vitamin Sea Demon (garnished with a grilled sausage “finger” and aloe “tentacle,” among other things), and North Bowl’s Uptown Ghoul (a dirty vodka martini with bloody-mary skull-shaped ice cubes). See the full list here.
Pay-as-you-go; October 15th-23rd, various locations in Northern Liberties.
Dungeons & Drag Queens Brunch
The Cauldron Philly and the Philly Drag Mafia host a spooktacular brunch featuring magical and fantasy-themed performances by Miss Brittany Lynn and her fellow queens. Costumes are encouraged. Tickets include the show and one welcome cocktail per guest; brunch and more drinks will be available for purchase from The Cauldron.
$20-$25; October 16th, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., The Cauldron, 1305 Locust Street.
Drinks With Dracula at The Woodlands
Join the Mütter Museum at the historic Woodlands cemetery mansion for a Dracula-themed happy hour including a dramatic reading of Chapter 16 of the Bram Stoker classic by actors from Curio Theatre. They’re also planning pop-up exhibits featuring an autopsy kit, embalming apparatus, stained glass from the cemetery’s former funeral parlor, and a “cryptic coffin.”
$35; October 20th, 5-7 p.m., The Woodlands, 4000 Woodland Avenue.
This annual fundraiser of Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery invites guests to come in costume or masquerade attire (and there are costume contests!), so if you’re looking for a spooky and swanky evening for a good cause, this one’s for you. The ticket cost benefits a good cause, but if the $250 price tag is too rich for your blood (Halloween pun intended), there’s also a $95 “Graveyard Shift” option for ages 21 to 40 to attend from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.
$95-$500; October 21st, 7 p.m.-midnight, Masonic Temple, 1 North Broad Street.
Night of 100 Winifreds: A Hocus Pocus Celebration
Drag Queen Brittany Lynn is coming to The Cauldron to put a spell on you! Come dressed as your favorite version of Winifred for a costume contest, followed by a screening of Hocus Pocus. (Costume suggestions include a Real Housewives version, a Kardashian version, and “Winifred at the grocery store at 3 a.m.” Anything goes, is what we’re saying.) You can buy general-admission tickets, or gather up your coven of four for $150 and get a reserved table and a Three Witches cocktail that comes in a bubbling, smoking sharing cauldron, as well as a “bubbling shot of death” for each person.
$15; October 21st, 8-11 p.m., The Cauldron, 1305 Locust Street.
Sleep with the Ghosts
Explore the buildings, myths and legends behind Fort Mifflin during this paranormal investigation and sleepover at the historic site. The evening also includes light refreshments around the fire pit; sleeping quarters are dormitory style, or BYO tent.
$99; October 22nd, 7 p.m., Fort Mifflin, 6400 Hog Island Road.
Freddy D’s House Party of Horrors
You guys, I’m not so sure about this one, but my job is to tell you it exists and let you make your own decisions. So, if an evening on a boat with Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst sounds like the Halloween party of your dreams (or nightmares), you’re welcome. Hosted by Sad & Boujee aboard the Moshulu, there will be “haunts and hot-dog-flavored water,” and, of course, four straight hours “directed and hosted” by Durst. There’s no escape. Because of the implication.
$50; October 22nd, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., Moshulu, 401 South Columbus Boulevard.
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Halloween Drag Brunch at the Mulberry
Drag brunch returns to the Mulberry just in time for Halloween, with two high-energy sets starring Brittany Lynn, her Drag Mafia, and special guest Ariel Versace from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Mimosa and VIP packages are available as add-ons to make your day extra special, and costumes are encouraged.
$10 for a bar seat (food and drinks not included), and additional table options are available; October 23rd, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., The Mulberry, 1835 Arch Street.
Haunted Heights at Assembly
Assembly Rooftop Lounge has been dabbling in some fantastic seasonal pop-ups (the summertime Grove was a vibe), and we have some inside info that they’ll next be doing a Halloween-themed pop-up during Hallo-week! Along with rooftop views of the Parkway, expect themed decor, scary movies on TVs throughout the space, a “Bloody Frosé” and other themed cocktails (we hear one will be garnished with candy corn), a “Spooky Platter”with a spread of small Halloween-themed bites, and DJ music on Friday and Saturday.
Pay-as-you-go; October 23rd-November 1st, Assembly Rooftop, 1840 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl
Stroll East Passyunk Avenue for seasonal craft beers and food specials, and earn stamps at participating locations (four or more get you entered to win a gift-certificate prize package). Tickets include the stamp card, a witch hat, and access to $5 beer specials from Founders Brewing Company. See the list of participating bars and restaurants here.
$6.66-$10; October 26th, 5:30-9:30 p.m., East Passyunk Avenue.
Tricks, Treats and Beats at the Museum of Illusions
Philly’s new mind-bending museum of optical illusions is hosting an adults-only after-hours experience complete with drinks and DJ music.
$39; October 26th and 27th, Museum of Illusions, 401 Market Street.
Zombie Dinner Party
“The undead will get their life” as Drag Mafia don Brittany Lynn hosts a night of scary movies, trivia, zombie-themed foods and craft cocktails. Come in your “undead best” for the costume contest.
$10-$150; October 27th, 7-11 p.m., The Cauldron, 1305 Locust Street.
Mischief at the Mütter
This disturbingly informative museum is the place to be for Halloween festivities. This year’s costume contest is ’80s Horror, so expect lots of Elviras, Freddy Kruegers, and Jasons, probably. You can also expect refreshments, tarot readings, circus performers, DJ music and dancing, a “Dracula’s Parlor” pop-up, and after-hours entry to the museum. Must be age 21 or older.
$70; October 28th, 7-11 p.m., Mütter Museum, 19 South 22nd Street.
Science After Hours: Fright @ Night
The Franklin Institute’s adults-only Science After Hours series is always a good time. You get to run around all the science museum’s exhibits (plus the seasonal pop-ups set up for the kids’ Franklin Fright days) after dark, plus the roof deck with incredible views and stargazing. Plus, the unique Halloween party includes DJ music and dancing, bingo hosted by “glamorous ghoul of drag” Onyx Ondyx, circus performers, live science shows, and even snakes! Costumes are encouraged.
$35-$45; October 28th, 7:30-11:30 p.m., Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street.
Morgan’s Pier Halloween Party
Morgan’s Pier ends their season with their annual Halloween Bash, where “guests are encouraged to help suck the bar dry.” Hosted by Brittany Lynn, the adults-only party is all-you-can-drink (plus there are free hot dogs), and also includes DJ entertainment and a costume contest with winners for both individual and group ensembles.
$60-$70; October 29th, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., Morgan’s Pier, 221 North Columbus Boulevard.
Head to Stratus Rooftop Lounge for an unforgettable Halloween party featuring DJ Apex and DJ Auggie Bhavsar to kick off your Halloweekend.
Price TBA; October 28th, 5 p.m.-2 a.m., Stratus Rooftop Lounge, 433 Chestnut Street.
The Vampire’s Mystery: Notes on a Monster
Unravel Dracula’s riddle using author Bram Stoker’s own notes and outlines during this immersive, theatrical experience through the historic Rosenbach mansion. On your journey, you’ll be helped (and hindered) by characters from the novel come to life. This is for ages 18 and older, and it will be held on three separate nights on Halloweekend.
$50; October 28th-30th, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., The Rosenbach, 2008-2010 Delancey Place.
Halloweekend at McGillin’s Olde Ale House
Come to McGillin’s for Halloween decorations and drink specials (pumpkin martinis, pumpkin hot chocolate, pumpkin beers … you get the picture) all weekend. Plus, the staff will be in costume for extra festiveness. There will also be “scaraoke” (costumed karaoke) on Sunday, October 30th, and costume contests with prizes on October 30th and 31st.
Pay-as-you-go; October 29th-31st, McGillin’s Old Ale House, 1310 Drury Street.
Rittenhouse Row Spooky Cocktail Crawl
From the Saturday before Halloween until the big day, Rittenhouse Row bars and restaurants will be offering special spooky cocktails (made with Heaven Hill Brands liquors). Download a crawl map at rittenhouserow.org, visit all participants, and vote for your favorite to win a gift card to your favorite Rittenhouse Row restaurant.
Pay-as-you-go; October 29th-31st, various locations around Rittenhouse.
It’s All Just a Brunch of Hocus Pocus
This 21-and-up Halloween brunch at Evil Genius features drag performers including the Sanderson Sisters! FYI: Tickets are sold in pairs and do not include brunch or drinks.
$40 (for a table for two) and up; October 30th, noon-2 p.m., Evil Genius Beer Company, 1727 North Front Street.
Trick or Cheese
Philly Cheese School is hosting a “silly and spooky” Halloween cheese-pairing class. You’ll be guided through a sampling of cheeses paired with classic candies, plus get tips and tricks for how to pair cheeses with sweet treats. Costumes (and BYOB) are encouraged, and the class is for ages 21 and up.
$60; October 31st, 5-6 p.m., Philly Cheese School, 701 South 9th Street.
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Murder Mystery Dinner and Show at Wilder
On Halloween night, Wilder is hosting a fun, interactive murder mystery with live actors from Riddlesbrood Touring Theater. Your $125 ticket includes the entertainment, as well as a special three-course family-style menu, and a “welcoming spooky cocktail.” Costumes are encouraged! Tickets are available online.
$125; October 31st, 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Wilder, 2009 Sansom Street.
Spooky Sexy Halloween Party
DJ Xtina and Philly Mag favorite Snacktime host an extravagant Halloween dance party at Concourse Dance Bar. Costumes are highly encouraged.
$20-$25; October 31st, 7-11 p.m., Concourse Dance Bar, 1635 Market Street.