Chicago's Ultimate Halloween Guide

October 22, 2013
by Sarah Freeman

The only thing scarier than Halloween itself is the thought of not having plans for the spookiest night of the year. Fear not: we have you covered with parties, creepy cocktails and gourmet treats. All you need to do now is secure a costume.

Spooky Soirées

Boarding House
Head down to the cellar of this haunted wine bar for an evening of vino, costumes and passed appetizers, hosted by Imerman Angels. The party takes place from 8 PM to 12 AM on November 2, and includes a bar package featuring spooky cocktails, bewitching wines and beers. Tickets are $85 and are available online.

The hosts of this special and spooky night are none other than Dead Man’s Carnival's bizarre cast of characters, from fire dancers to contortionists. Guests can engage and interact with this eerie spectacle while sipping drink specials and dining on complimentary appetizers, starting at 8 PM on October 31 for $15 in advance.

III Forks
Pumpkin carving and specialty cocktails take center stage at this rooftop soirée on October 31 from 5 PM to 12 AM. Best dressed wins dinner for two at the steakhouse, so break out the creative costumes for the complimentary party.

Frightening Festivities

For the second year in a row, this Logan Square bar resurrects its fallen cousin on October 31. The ghost of Bonny’s returns for a one-night-only sweaty dance party fueled by $3 “Mallory” shots (Bonny’s house shot of Malört and Campari), $3 PBR drafts and $5 Highballs.

Lula Café
It is a mystery as epic as Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin: what will Lula Café dress up as for Halloween? For the past few years, the restaurant has transformed into different venues on All Hallows Eve. Last year, it was The Violent Hour, a zombie tribute to the popular cocktail den; this year’s party theme remains a mystery but will be held from 7-11 PM on October 31.

Wicker Park's arcade bar promises lots of beer and live music as well as a costume contest with prizes. The Halloween Spectacular goes down on October 31 at 7 PM, and tickets cost $15 online.

Creepy Cocktails

The Horseman at Rebar
This haunted cocktail has historical roots, not only in name but also in inspiration. This twist on a classic Manhattan is a combination of house-aged cinnamon apple Irish whiskey and handcrafted bitters over pumpkin ice cubes.

Blackbeard’s Ghost at Three Dots and a Dash
A special Halloween menu of potent potions, available October 27-31, includes classics like this cocktail made with Virgin Islands and Demerara rum, apricot brandy, falernum, lemon, Curaçao and Angostura bitters.

The Pumpkinhead at Fountainhead
It’s all about the presentation with this shareable cocktail. The double-sized drink is a mix of Corsair Pumpkin Spice Moonshine and Headframe Orphan Girl whiskey cream served in a carved farm pumpkin topped with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Petrifying Pumpkin Beers

Dryhop’s Starry Night in Sleepy Hollow Pumpkin Stout
The brewers broke down 100 lbs. of sugar pumpkins to be transformed into this rich, malty stout. With notes of baking spices with a creamy body, it’s a pumpkin beer for those who prefer dense pumpkin bread to light pumpkin pie.

Atlas’ Phantosmagourdia Pumpkin Ale
150 lbs. of roasted pumpkin, Trappist-style yeast and a not-so-secret blend of spices - Mexican cinnamon and dark sugar, Indian coriander and Sichuan peppercorns - make a zesty twist on a pumpkin beer.

Smuttynose’s Pumpkin Ale
Before pumpkin beer was the quintessential fall trend, colonists were adding pumpkins to beer to offset the cost of malt. This method was the inspiration for this East Coast pumpkin ale that uses traditional spices along with pumpkin added straight to the brewing mash.

Treats With No Tricks

Pumpkin Trio at Interurban Café & Pastry Shop
The holy trinity of pumpkin pastries can be found in this hidden bakery. Sneak down the alley for pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream, pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting, and pumpkin cake bites covered with white chocolate and nutmeg.

Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery
This guaranteed crowd pleaser and straight-up spooky sweet is served from October 25-31. The Halloween Cupcake is available in chocolate or vanilla topped with Halloween decorations and purple, green and orange icing.

Gift baskets at West Town Bakery
All of your favorite Halloween treats in one convenient basket. The best part is that everything from caramel corn to three types of candy bars is made from scratch by pasty chef Chris Teixeira. Halloween gift baskets are available for $40.