BOTI’s bumper Halloween weekend guide

The clocks are going back and spooky season is upon us, so obviously we’re getting our Halloween on. We’ve channelled our inner ghouls to bring you an extended weekend guide (Thursday to Tuesday), unearthing some of the best hauntastic happenings in and around Brighton, whatever your appetite for horror. You’ve picked your pumpkin, dived into Horrorfest’s scary offerings, got your tickets for this weekend’s crime fiction festival and your favourite Halloween film, and checked out Brighton’s best haunted house – what else can you get up to this Halloween season? We’ve got everything from petrifying parties and creepy cabaret to all manner of ghostly goings-on. And because we know not everyone‘s a fan of the scary season, we’ve included a few unthemed weekend events too.

1. Go to a horror screening party

Brighton-based film collective ProjectOurs is hosting a night of horror, with an added sprinkle of queerness at the Fabrica art space. There’ll be a screening of Dario Argento’s terrifying cult classic Suspiria, followed by an afterparty featuring a live Halloween set from Brighton-based DJs, Church of Italo, who are known for combining high fashion with Catholic camp. Needless to say, dressing up is positively encouraged.
Friday 27th October; 7pm – midnight; from £8.30
Fabrica, 40 Duke Street Brighton BN1 1AG

2. Have a three-course meal at a haunted estate

Slightly further afield (you can always make a night of it there), but well worth the trip if you’re looking for a truly spooky experience, is ‘The Seance’ at the Mannings Heath Estate in Horsham. We hope you’re not afraid of ghosts or strange happenings because this is not your typical dining experience; you’re thrust right into the heart of the supernatural stuff from the start at this fully immersive evening. You’ll explore the mysteries that surround Harry Palmer’s untimely death in WW1. Who was he? Who’s after his money? All will be revealed as you get stuck in to a three-course meal, obviously.
Friday 27th October; 7.30pm – 10.30pm; £55
Mannings Heath Estate, Hammerpond Road, Horsham, RH13 6PG 

3. Go to a ‘spoopy’ drag queen Halloween event 

If you’re searching for a hilarious event to go to while staying in line with the Halloween theme, we definitely recommend the spoopy (ya know, funny spooky stuff) edition of Ironworks’ brilliant Party Bag night. Hosted by two of our favourite Brighton drag queens, Dick Day and Ophelia Payne, this event will feature dark, cheeky, weird, and wonderful performances from three different acts: Alfie Ordinary, Brent Would, and Mandy Sweats. The sassy, silly and spooky shenanigans will continue with a freaky afterparty featuring a special Halloween-themed DJ set.
Friday 27th October; 7pm – 10pm; from £11.53
Ironworks Studios, 30 Cheapside, Brighton, BN1 4GD

4. Check out local creatives at this Halloween-themed market

The Paper Daisy artisan market is making a comeback with a special Halloween edition. You can expect a diverse showcase of 35 talented local makers, artists, and designers with a treasure trove of handcrafted goodies, from accessories and jewellery to homewares and one-of-a-kind gifts. There will also be plenty of seasonal food and drink, including Neapolitan-style pizzas, and free workshops for all the family to get involved in, from pumpkin art to pom-pom making and pottery. Community project Brighton Grub Hub will have pumpkins and seasonal fruit to take away for free or a small donation. And if you really want to get into the, um, spirit of Halloween, Gladrags Costumes will be on hand with plenty of dress-up options and selfie booths (human and dog versions!).
Saturday 28th October; 11am – 4pm; free 
Circus Street Market, Circus Street, Brighton, BN2 9QF

5. Get stuck into a murder-mystery challenge over dinner

For a spooky immersive meal closer to home, book a meal at the historic Lion and Lobster on Halloween night. Murder, Actually are hosting a murder mystery night in the historic pub known for its hidden nooks and crannies, complete with a three-course meal (with vegan options) and a glass of bubbly to settle your stomach before the evening’s shenanigans begin.
Tuesday 31st October; 7.30pm – 11pm; £60
Lion and Lobster, 24 Sillwood Street, Brighton BN1 2PS

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6. Try a spookylicious new brew

Just in time for Halloween, Bitter Women Brewery have brought out an exciting new beer to celebrate the OG brewers, the women who got booted out of the industry when people thought they were witches. Their latest BWB X Moon Brewery collab is a suitably murderous- (yet tasty-) looking blackberry and blackcurrant gose with the excellent moniker of The Wicked Witch of the Yeast. It doesn’t feel that long since their last beer launch party (for the sell-out Mary Queen of Strawbs), but we’re not complaining. And, of course, dressing up is encouraged, with an optional witchy dress code.
Thursday 26th October; 7pm; from free
The Independent, 95 Queens Park Rd, Brighton, BN2 0GH

7. Enjoy four days days of cocktails and entertainment 

To celebrate the Halloween weekend, Brighton Cocktail Company have decked out their premises glam-horror-style, ready for four consecutive days full of tricks and treats. On Thursday, there’ll be jazz, folk, pop and Motown, accompanied by ghoulish Prohibition-style cocktails. Get your 1920s-style gladrags on, because what’s Halloween without a little bit of dressing up? It gets all kind of magical on Friday with spells and tricks from magician Tom Drudge and, on Sunday, you can make a witch’s botanical broom with Hi Cacti. Because you’re going to need to get home somehow, right?
Thursday 26th – Sunday 29th October; various times; from free (Saturday’s burlesque night is sold out); book your table here
87-93 Dyke Rd, Brighton, BN1 3JE

8. Brew your own magical cocktail at a potion bar 

Yes, you heard that right, ANOTHER cocktail bar to visit this Halloween, but this one has a clever twist. If you haven’t been before, The Cauldron in Brighton offers a witchy experience (check out our review here) all year round, so it’s not surprise they go all out on 31st October with limited-edition Halloween potions to brew. On arrival, you’ll be immersed in a mystical world, provided with a magic wand and robe, and treated to a welcoming glass of prosecco and, more excitingly, an ectoplasm shot of death. Assuming you survive the ectoplasm, you’ll then get to craft two molecular cocktails that impressively change colour, bubble, and emit smoke. Don’t hang around if you fancy this one!
Various dates and times; from £36.99
1 – 2 Clarence Gdns, Brighton, BN1 2HA

9. Go to a Shrek-themed swamp rave 

This event is one we’re shamelessly excited about – after all, everyone loves Shrek. Right? RIGHT? On the Saturday of the Halloween weekend, Komedia’s hosting a Shrek-themed Halloween party: ‘Swamp Rave!’ They’ll have everything from swamp-themed drinks and giveaways to Halloween tunes, and, of course, a bunch of Smash Mouth Shrek songs to sing along to. Fancy dress is highly encouraged, whether you choose to embrace the Shrek theme or go with a more traditional Halloween costume.
Saturday 28th October; 11pm; from £6
44 – 47 Gardner Street, Brighton, BN1 1UN

10. Head to a free Halloween art exhibition 

Fancy heading to an eerie arts exhibition over the Halloween weekend? Local Brighton artist Ian Leaver-Blaxstone, also known as Beav-Art, will be hosting a free exhibition at the atmospheric Fishing Quarter Gallery on the seafront. His work often explores spooky themes like mythology, folklore, vintage B-movies, and sci-fi. The exhibition will feature a collection of his unique paintings, otherworldly prints, and profound puzzles. 
Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th October; 10am – 4pm; free 
Fishing Quarter Gallery, 203 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 1NB

11. Forget karaoke, try scary-aoke

There’s something equal parts scary and mesmerising about people singing their hearts out yet failing to nail most of the notes and the West Hell – love it – Tavern are capitalising on that this Halloween weekend. Welcome to Scary-Aoke! Fancy dress positively encouraged – and rewarded.
Saturday 28th October; 7.30pm – late; free, but you can book a table in advance
67 Buckingham Place, Brighton BN1 3PQ

12. Uncover the darker side to Brighton on a spooky ghost walk

Ghost Walk of the Lanes is the longest-running ghost walk event in Brighton. These fantastic 70-minute walks, led by eccentric ‘Victorian ghost walkers’, uncover the darker history behind the city’s bustling Lanes, the oldest – and most haunted – part of the city. From unsettled spirits at the Black Lion pub to macabre tales of brutal murders and what’s really going on at Hannington’s Lane, you’re guaranteed an entertaining, if chilling evening. The walks take in eight haunted sites and cast the city in a whole new light – you’ll never again look at those streets in quite the same way! And they’re running some extra walks just for Halloween on Saturday 28th at 6pm and 7.30pm and Tuesday 31st at 7.30pm – no need to book, just turn up. Who ain’t afraid of no ghosts, now?
Every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, plus Halloween night; from £8 (cash or card); meet at Druid’s Head on Brighton Place (opposite Donatello’s Restaurant)

13. Get spooked in the city

Some of Brighton’s most popular attractions are going all out this Halloween. If you’re looking to get some good snaps, then head long to the Upside Down House‘s new interior redesign – it’s been transformed into a spooky film-inspired abode for this week (until 31st October). Crazy golf fans should check out glow-in-the-dark crazy golf haven Globalls at the Marina where they’ve got a Jurassic Halloween theme going on until 31st October.
Upside Down House: 42 – 43 Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 2LN
Globalls: 1 – 5, The Village, The Waterfront, Brighton Marina, Brighton BN2 5WA

14. Have a night of genuine shock shock horror horror at Shocktober Fest – ALL DATES SOLD OUT

It wouldn’t be this time of year without the legendary Shocktober Fest at Tulleys Farm. This year, there are 11 immersive (and we mean immersive) scare experiences – each with live actors – to choose from, graded according to just how terrifying they are, as well as street theatre shows, live music and more. We can tell you that if you like your scares extra punchy, then you’ll especially love the chill-inducing Cellar and who or what it holds… Need even more screams? You can pay for various add-ons, including axe throwing, zombie paintball, a 40-metre-high scream ride, and being shocked, literally. No, we’re not sure how we feel about that one either. Less terrifyingly, if you head down for the finale night on Halloween, you’ll be able to enjoy some extra bangs for your buck courtesy of the closing fireworks display.
Until Tuesday 31st October, various times, from £14 (fast-track tickets allow you to queue jump, so it makes planning a bit easier) 
Shocktober Fest Scream Park, Tulleys Farm, Turners Hill Road, Turners Hill, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 4PE

15. Paint a pumpkin and party

The excellent Star & Garter pub are getting their ghoul on this Halloween with a party on Saturday and a pumpkin-painting sesh on Tuesday for those who prefer crafting to cackles. There’ll be Halloween drinks specials – hello, Frankenpunch – and plenty of Halloween hits. They’ve got the treats bit covered too, with foodie residents Cutie Pies and Fries dishing out their excellent Detroit-style pizzas.
Saturday 28th October; free; and Tuesday 31st October; £2 on arrival
The Star and Garter, Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 1NE

16. Cher the love at this Halloween cabaret

For something a little (ok, a lot) more Cher, you need the Cher Witch Project (we’re totally on board with the name), a Cher-themed night of Halloween cabaret at Brighton’s newest arts venue, Dalton’s. As this is Cher we’re talking about, there will be a costume competition, plus a healthy helping of drag, disco and karaoke. If you’re lucky, ‘Cher’ will even read your tarot for you.
Saturday 28th October; 7pm – midnight; £12.30
Madeira Drive, Lower Promenade, Brighton, BN2 1TB

17. Solve a murder at one of Brighton’s most haunted places

Get your little grey cells ready because there’s been a murder at the grand Preston Manor, one of the most haunted places in Brighton, and it’s up to you to uncover who did it and why. Halloween is obviously the perfect time to get stuck in to a murder-themed adventure and this one’s inspired by the classic game of Cluedo. If you’re a fan of escape rooms, this puzzle-pleaser from local escape room experts Pier Pressure is for you. We reckon it was Prof Plum in the drawing room with the lead pipe.
Various times and dates; (suitable for groups of four to 18 people and anyone over the age of eight); from £26
Preston Manor, Preston Drove, Brighton, BN1 6SD

18. Get stuck into some margarita madness

Get some of the best margs in town, but make them Halloween. Yep, margarita maestros Mama’s Cocktail Bar have teamed up with T at Coffee Shops in Hove for a Halloween-themed margarita pop-up with live tunes from Love Is The Message. They’ve even got some special limited-edition ‘blood’ bags – syringe included. Said blood is actually maraschino cherry margaritas and looks bloody (hehe) delicious. Get your Saturday night started right!
Saturday 25th February; 6pm – late, happy hour from 6pm – 7pm; book a table or walk in
52 Lansdowne Place, Hove BN3 1FG

T @ Coffee Shops

19. Find treasures and support local at these pop-ups

And if you’re after something altogether less terrifying, there are a couple of pop-ups on this weekend. Bringing you all things accessories, Anna Pugh (butter-soft leather bags in an exciting array of colours), Emma Stanton (stunning small-batch silver and gold jewellery), and Jo Cranston (ethical knitwear in gorgeous shades) have teamed up on a pop-up shop at furniture and homewares store Sutherland and Sadler (154 Portland Road; Friday 27th October, 5pm – 9pm and Saturday 28th October, 10am – 5pm; free). On the same days, preloved designer and sample sellers and stylists Secret Store Pop-up, Woven Store, and Styling by Bec are back at Studio 50 in Hove (50 Brunswick Street West; Friday 6pm – 8pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm; free) with another treasure trove of gorgeous seasonal finds. Think Wyse, Isabel Marant, Sophie Darling, Me and Em, Sezane, Raey, plus a selection of brand-new heavily discounted high-end beauty products. Need an added incentive? There’s free bubbly if you pop along on the Friday.

20. Watch this intriguing documentary about the life of musician Jackson C Frank

Part of the Doc’n Roll film festival, the new documentary Blues Run The Game about influential American folk musician Jackson C Frank is being shown this weekend and Jak Hutchcraft (director of Fatboy Slim doc Right Here, Right Now and the brains behind the brilliant Sound Affects and Video Affects nights) is hosting a Q&A with the director.
Saturday 28th October; 4pm; from £11.70
Duke’s at Komedia, 44 – 47 Gardner Street, Brighton, BN1 1UN

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