Halloween: How to put on a spooktacular show

By Sheila McWattie

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Halloween

The George Payne: The community-focused pub lists freaky face-painting among its activities
The George Payne: The community-focused pub lists freaky face-painting among its activities
From spooky story-telling to coloured cocktails, here are some novel ways licensees are gearing up for this year's fright night.

George Payne’s Halloween haunting

Well-known for its family-centred fun extravaganzas, the George Payne in Hove, East Sussex, is gearing up for day-long Halloween treats on Friday 31 October.

Guests of all ages are encouraged to come along in fancy dress to the community-focused pub, winner of the Best Turnaround award at the 2013 Great British Pub Awards.

Enterprise tenant Zoe Rogers has plenty of activities lined up in the specially decorated bar, including freaky face-painting, spooky story-telling and a pirate treasure-hunt featuring a ghost ship.

Vampire Dave will be running a Halloween-themed drawing club and ‘shocktails’. Plenty of hot and cold food will be on offer throughout the celebrations.

Annie’s Burger Shack’s Day of the Dead in Nottingham

US-born licensee Anmarie Spaziano is happy to marry Day of the Dead celebrations on 31 October with North American diner-style corn dogs, candy corn and traditional storytelling entertainment at Annie’s Burger Shack and Freehouse in Nottingham.

Downstairs, story-spinners the Woolly Tellers will mesmerise guests with spooky tales, and plates of the special snacks will be handed round (£9 per combined ticket).

Upstairs, Mexico’s traditional Day of the Dead will be remembered with skull decorations and sombreros around the pub and the menu will include burgers with special vegetable ‘bones’ shaped from beetroot and parsnip (£11.50).

Pumpkin pie will be on sale with cream or ice cream throughout October (£3.90). Spaziano also plans to book a mariachi band to play tunes including rock ’n’ roll on the big night.

Facebook fun at Cheers Café Bar, Fraserburgh

Dennis Forsyth’s team and customers at his thriving Cheers café-bar in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, see Halloween as an ideal opportunity to “go OTT”, turning the occasion into an “absolutely massive” weekend-long event at the end of October, with bands on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Numbers have risen annually, from 50 a few years ago to more than 400 adults turning up in fancy dress last year for the bar’s annual competition, prompted by intensive Facebook promotion, including posting more than 300 photographs of crazily-dressed entrants.

A photo-booth on both nights in the snug bar will enable Cheers’ Halloween team to photograph guests competing for prizes.

Very spooky music with special sound-effects in the 200-capacity outside area and live bands on both Friday and Saturday nights will add to the atmosphere.

Bar staff at the multi-award-winning spirits-focused pub will use plenty of the 600-plus spirits on offer to concoct Halloween cocktails and food such as Red Witch to match a specially themed food menu, including ‘bat’ wings, chicken ghoul-ash and graveyard pudding.

A staff member dressed as a nutty professor sells hundreds of coloured test-tube cocktails, topped up with Bols liqueur foam to resemble concoctions fresh from a laboratory.

Free local press coverage helps establish the bar’s reputation for fun events every Halloween.

Forsyth’s top tip is to include information about coming events when posting the fancy-dress photos online. Customers’ Facebook followers vote for their favourites with ‘likes’.

Funkin’s Halloween support

Halloween-themed kits are being offered to pubs and bars by cocktail-mixer brand Funkin, including ceramic or plastic skull tiki mugs, bar mats and glow-in-the-dark stirrers, as well as Funkin ‘treat’ lollipops.

Cocktail specialist Funkin is supporting bars, pubs and clubs this Halloween with 1,200 bar kits and a pumpkin-carving competition for bar staff.

Available from October, the serving kits, decoration kits and giveaway kits will help outlets to transform themselves into a perfect Halloween hangout.

Bars will be provided with an assortment of specially designed Funkin-branded items including ceramic or plastic skull tiki mugs, bar mats, drink umbrellas, glow-in-the-dark stirrers, tent cards, cobwebs, bunting, drink menus and glow sticks, plus tasty Funkin lollipops so consumers can have their own “trick or treat” to take home.

To get staff into the Halloween spirit, Funkin is challenging bars to a pumpkin-carving competition. Entrants can show off their creative carving skills by uploading their handiwork as an image or video to Funkin’s Facebook page for a chance to win Halloweeny prizes.

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