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Where to Go and What to Eat During Halloween Weekend

Themed dinners, late-night dance parties, and more food events for the holiday

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Three slices of a red jelly cake filled with fake eyeballs and booze sit on a cream-colored plate.
Treat yourself to a boozy eyeball cake from Solid Wiggles.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

The city’s yearly marathon of sort-of-spooky, orange-and-black-themed events is about to begin. Halloween is upon us, and despite a smaller showing last year, restaurants and bars are almost back in full swing in 2021. Beyond the pumpkin-spiced specials, we’ve rounded up this list of actually good activities to help celebrate Halloween weekend, including themed dinners, masked (not that kind) dance parties, nighttime food markets, and one very special barbacoa cookout.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Kick off Día de los Muertos with Philadelphia’s best barbacoa

Where: Rockefeller Center
When: October 29 through 31

Ahead of Día de los Muertos on November 1, Rockefeller Center and the Consulate General of Mexico in New York are teaming up on a week of events, including the installation of a tianguis operating from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The open-air market will feature stalls from local Mexican food businesses La Newyorkina and La Contenta, along with Philadelphia’s acclaimed South Philly Barbacoa.

The ’70s called and they want Halloween back

Where: Bandits
When: October 29 to 31

Time to break out those bell bottoms. West Village party restaurant Bandits is throwing a ’70s-themed Halloween party. The team is hosting a party each night of the holiday weekend — titled Jungle Boogie, ’70s Wrestle Mania, and British Invasion, respectively. Walks-in are welcome, but given how this dining room looks on a non-holiday night, we recommend snagging a reservation in advance.

Go head-to-head in a high-stakes costume contest

Where: The Rockaway Hotel
When: October 29

You’ll want to do more than just don a pair of Mickey Mouse ears for this party. The costume winner of the Rockaway Hotel’s Super Heroes Ball will be rewarded with a free two-night stay at the ocean-side resort. Beginning at 8 p.m. and running until midnight, there will be a DJ and themed cocktails on the rooftop. Tickets, available online, are $10 person.

A shot from outside Aldama shows patrons enjoying dinner inside the warmly lit bar room.
Outside Aldama in Williamsburg.
Gary He/Eater NY

Sip glow-in-the-dark cocktails at a silent disco

Where: Pier 15 by Watermark
When: October 29

It’s meant to be eerily quiet. Pier 15 will be transformed into a giant silent disco from 7 p.m. to midnight. Guests will wear headphones that let them switch channels between three live DJs while they sip glow-in-the-dark cocktails and horror flicks flash in the background. Too embarrassed to dance with an LED headset? Just put on a costume. Tickets on Eventbrite are $25 per person.

Dance among masks and mezcalitos in Williamsburg

Where: Aldama
When: October 30

In the three short months since Aldama opened, the Williamsburg restaurant has become known for its late-night, mezcal-fueled dance parties set to a Latin pop soundtrack. It shouldn’t surprise, then, that the team is going all out for Halloween. The party kicks off at 10 p.m. with dancing and a live DJ, but get there early and order from a menu that Eater critic Ryan Sutton described as a “modern Mexican masterpiece.”

The world’s hottest Netflix show is Halloween’s hottest dinner

Where: Nowon
When: October 30 to 31

There’s a good chance you’re dressing up as a Squid Game character for Halloween, and if that’s the case, you might as well go out swinging by booking a seat at this themed, six-course dinner at Nowon. The East Village restaurant is serving mackerel kimbap, tteokbokki rice cakes, dalgona ice cream, and other riffs on Korean dishes from the show. Come dressed as a “player” from Squid Game and receive a “special surprise.”

A hand holding a pair of chopsticks suspends a heap of noodles above a Styrofoam takeout tray
These noodles, like everything sold at the Queens Night Market, cost $6 or less.
Sharon Medina/Queens Night Market

Head to Manhattan’s newest theater for dinner and a spooky show

Where: Alamo Drafthouse
When: October 29

The much-awaited, newly-debuted Manhattan outpost of Alamo Drafthouse has finally arrived at Liberty Street in the Financial District. Throughout the month, get tickets to thrillers like Rear Window, while pairing it with one of Alamo’s bites or beverages that are delivered right to your seat.

Compete for prizes and pride in a “bloody” pie eating contests

Where: The Bronx Night Market
When: October 30

The Bronx Night Market will end its season-long run at Fordham Plaza with a Halloween block party, from 4 to 10 p.m. In addition to its usual lineup of seafood boil- and fried lasagna-slinging food vendors, the outdoor market will host hot wing and “bloody” cherry pie eating contests. Costumes are encouraged.

Catch the last weekend of the Queens Night Market

Where: Queens Night Market
When: October 30

While not strictly Halloween-themed, the final day of this annual Flushing food market falls on Halloween weekend, and what better way to slurp beef noodle soup than fully enrobed in a costume? (There’s a contest for children and adults.) The calling card of this outdoor event, located at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows, is its reasonably priced fare: Everything costs $6 or less, including lengua tacos, jjajangmyeon, jerked chicken, and food from roughly 50 more vendors.

A red cake made of gelatin is filled with jelly eyeballs and fake red blood, presented on a plate.
A boozy eyeball cake with coconut milk jelly eyeballs.
Alex Staniloff/ Eater NY

Say farewell to a beloved Crown Heights restaurant

Where: Hunky Dory
When: October 31

Holidays aside, we’re scared to live in a city without Hunky Dory. This Crown Heights favorite will permanently close on November 1, but not before hosting one final Halloween bash, fittingly called Hunky Gory. The restaurant will have already retired its food menu, but you can count on drinks, music, and probably some tears at this end-of-an-era party. Keep an eye on the restaurant’s Instagram page for more details.

Order absinthe cocktails in a bar that’s hell-themed year-round

Where: Café de L’Enfer
When: October 29 to October 31

This newly opened cocktail bar above Amor y Amargo in the East Village is Halloween-themed year round, complete with skull goblet glasses, a gargoyle statue, and a name that loosely translates as “cafe from hell” in French. Reservations for Halloween weekend are priced at $75 per person and include three absinthe- or champagne-based cocktails.

Dingaling! You rang? Yes, there’s a costume party!

Where: Dingaling
When: October 31

A nightlife spot from the team behind LES favorite Kind Regards is looking like a major contender for where to have a fun Halloween night. The new, late-night bar — with dancing and kitschy drinks like a banana bread daiquiri — is hosting a costume party that you won’t want to miss. The party runs from 7 p.m. to late, and a rep tells us you will be turned away if you’re not in costume. No ticket required.

Dig into a boozy eyeball cake made from jelly and Campari

Where: KIT
When: Ongoing

Solid Wiggles, New York’s preeminent jelly cake slingers, are offering the perfect boozy treats that will scare even your worst enemies. Made with an orange and white rum jelly base, coconut milk jelly eye, and “blood” jelly with Angostura bitters, you will turn heads — and eyes — if you show up to a Halloween party with this. The whole cake is $85 and you can place a pre-order on the Solid Wiggles site.