What was once an ancient Celtic celebration of the end of harvest season has now morphed into one of the most popular party nights of the year: Halloween. This year, take your venue’s Halloween celebrations to the next level by implementing some of the spooky, sultry and silly ideas from operators and suppliers.
Hot on the Halloween Scene
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will host its 2009 Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 10 p.m. – 4 a.m. The event has been named “One of the Top 10 Events in the World” by the Travel Channel, “One of the Earth’s Best Bashes” by Stuff Magazine, “One of Five Events to Attend Before You Die” by Maxim magazine and “The World’s Wildest Halloween Party” by Bizarre Magazine. The Las Vegas Weekly calls the Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball “The most Adult of the Adult Halloween Events in Vegas.”
What’s all the fuss? Visit www.halloweenball.com or www.hardrockhotel.com for a peek at what makes this bash such a smash.
Uncle Pleasant’s, Louisville, Ky.
Live entertainment is on tap to celebrate Halloween in Louisville, Ky. On Oct. 27, Uncle Pleasant’s presents Voltaire and the Skeletal Orchestra, brought to the venue by Louisville Gothic and Indianapolis-based Eden Promotions. Voltaire is known for his satirical and comedic remarks on society and Goths. Voltaire’s road crew consists of six members named the Skeletal Orchestra. The night also will feature the local talent of The Passing Hour as well as fire dancers and other visual entertainers.
For more information, check out www.unclepleasants.com.
The Underground, Chicago
This Halloween season, The Underground in Chicago turns into The Underworld, a two-night party series from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 and from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1. Saturday’s event, The Coven, invites guests to dress as characters from “all walks of the un-dead,” from classic vampire tales like “Dracula” and “Interview with the Vampire” to trendy modern sagas like “True Blood” and “Twilight.” On Sunday, the space will turn into The Crypt, where guests walk in the light of All Souls’ Day Eve through skeletons, skulls, spirits and specters.
For more information, visit www.theundergroundchicago.com.
N9NE Group and Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas
Night of the Killer Costumes, which celebrates the creative, kooky and spellbinding costumes of Vegas club-goers with more than $100,000 in cash and prizes at stake, takes place Saturday, Oct. 31. N9NE Group and Palms Casino Resort bring the events to Rain Nightclub, ghostbar, Moon Nightclub and Playboy Club. Rain will present the award for the top three best overall costumes (funny, scary or shocking) and will give away about $38,000 in cash and prizes. Admission is $30 and local women enter for free. At ghostbar, the top three creepiest ghouls will be awarded cash and prizes of about $8,000; admission is $25 (local women free). At Moon, the three most cosmic sci-fi costumes will win about $13,000 in cash and prizes. Admission to the event on the top floor of the Fantasy Tower is $40 (local women free). Finally, the Playboy Club will honor the best Playboy-inspired costume, conventional or contemporary, with cash and prizes totaling $43,000. Admission is $40 and local ladies enter for free.
Want more info? Visit www.n9negroup.com.
The Barker Lounge, Denver
The Mile-High City’s Barker Lounge is serving up a tall order this Halloween, creating an entire month of promotions. Barker’s Tony Fleith intends to have the entire bar decorated by Oct. 1, which he feels is the most important aspect of a bar promotion. “By far, I believe that the Halloween décor outweighs a drink special. I think of a drink special as an extra bonus for the customer to hang out in a cool environment for a month.”
Barker Lounge also will hold promotions throughout the month to build anticipation for the Monster Ball held toward the end of the month. Promotions include a showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” every Thursday at midnight, a Full Moon Madness party usually held the Friday before the Monster Ball and a “doggie” costume contest and photo event. Also, Fleith offers drink specials like the Grave Digger (Sauza Tequila, orange juice, sweet and sour and raspberry and orange liqueurs) and the Yummy Pumpkin Pie Martini (pumpkin spice and coffee liqueurs, butterscotch schnapps and whipped cream).
For more information, visit www.barkerlounge.net.
Old Chicago, locations nationwide
All 97 Old Chicago locations across the country will host their annual Halloween Mini Tour, featuring six beers, which change in every location, plus two spooktacular seasonal drinks: the Trick-r-Tini and the Bloody Brain. The tour starts Oct. 14 with a kick-off party and runs through Oct. 31, ending with a costumed Halloween party.
Visit Old Chicago online at www.oldchicago.com.
Waterfront Bar & Grill, San Diego
San Diego’s oldest tavern, Waterfront Bar & Grill, will host a dance competition to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at midnight on Halloween. Last year’s “Thriller” competition awarded a Jager machine to the winner. General manager Jason “Rocky” Nichols’ words of advice: “Be sure to have sign ups about a week before Halloween to ensure a good crowd.”
To learn more, visit www.waterfrontbarandgrill.com.
Park Grill, Chicago
As a tribute to the festive fall season, every Thursday in September and October, the Park Grill in Chicago will serve up the Corzo Pumpkin Martini, which combines the traditional fall flavors of fresh cinnamon and pumpkin with Corzo Tequila, fresh orange juice and simple syrup.
Corzo Pumpkin Martini
1 part Corzo Silver
1 part pumpkin liqueur
1 ½ parts orange juice
¾ part simple syrup
Shake and serve in a Martini glass, and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Legends Sports Bar, Long Beach, Calif.
On Halloween night, starting at 11 p.m., Legends Sports Bar will host its Halloween costume contest, with more than $1,000 in cash and prizes given away to those who compete. Categories include scariest, sexiest and funniest costume. The bar has seen success with its program in the past due to the prevalence of bar hopping that evening, according to owner Gene Rotondo.
Learn more at www.legendssportsbar.com
The Temperance House, Newtown, Pa.
The Temperance House in Newtown, Pa., is reaching to the other side of life this Halloween. On Friday, patrons can come for a show by Joseph Tittle, spiritual medium and author of Messages from the Other Side, who connects people with their deceased friends and relatives. Then, the following night, Temperance House invites guests in for a Retro Halloween Party featuring a Beatles tribute band. Patrons without a costume must pay a $5 cover; those wearing their creative stylings get in free.
Visit www.temperancehouse.com to learn more about Halloween plans.
W Chicago City Center
Each Halloween, Chicago entertainment and marketing company Global Adrenaline transforms a normally safe and quiet hotel for travelers into a horrifying destination for partygoers with The Haunted Hotel Halloween Costume Ball. The W Chicago City Center will host the event, combining elements of a VIP nightclub with the terror of a haunted house and the exclusiveness of a hotel gala. W Chicago’s first event attracted more than 1,300 attendees and grossed more than $50,000 in revenue for the W. This year’s marketing materials include a “Do Not Disturb” sign commonly found in hotels, which will be distributed in normal locations (salons, retailers, gyms, etc.) as well as area apartment buildings, hotel room doors, car doors and more.
For more information, visit www.globaladrenaline.net.
Buckhead Saloon, Raleigh, N.C.
Raleigh’s Buckhead Saloon stands apart from its competition by extending its Halloween debauchery into a two-night party. With its “College Night: Hallow’s Eve Party,” more than 1,000 partygoers come to the event for a costume party and themed shot and beer specials. The event features a high-energy DJ and free “party bus” rides to the venue. The Halloween Monster Bash includes a live band, shot and beer specials and yet another costume contest, with prizes awarded to the people whom the audience thinks have the best costumes. The bar also gives staff members guest passes for free admittance before 11 p.m. for their friends and family; the staff member with the highest number of guest passes returned is rewarded.
For more information, visit www.buckheadraleigh.com.
Killarney’s Restaurant & Irish Pub, Temecula and Riverside, Calif.
Both Killarney’s Restaurant & Irish Pub locations will be home to Halloween costume contests on the official holiday, offering guests gift baskets that include Killarney gift certificates for winning scariest, sexiest and most original costume contests. Both spots also will host live bands, starting at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. in Temecula and Riverside, respectively.
Check out www.killarneys.com for more information.
Bacchus House, San Diego
At San Diego’s Bacchus House, a weekend of festivities is planned. Friday will be Latin night…but also will host a costume contest with cash and prizes awarded; drink specials include $3 Bud Lights and $6 Long Island Iced Teas. On Saturday, Bacchus House invites party-goers to celebrate the holiday with DJ Jon Williams and another costume contest. Halloween specials include $6 Svedka and $3 Bud Light.
For more information, visit www.bacchushouse.com.
Baja Sharkeez, locations in California
A series of pre-Halloween parties will take place the week of Oct. 31 at Baja Sharkeez venues in California: Hermosa Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Barbara and Manhattan Beach. The party is being promoted with a traveling Cadillac hearse that is customized in a Halloween and Baja Sharkeez theme. The hearse travels to each Sharkeez location for a few days at a time, promoting the parties and costume contest and passing out fliers and candy at every stop. The reason for having pre-Halloween costume parties is to drive up business during a typically slow week when people are saving up for the big night. Each location chooses three to five costumes on the night of their first party; winners go on to compete in the semi-finals on a different night, and one finalist is selected from each venue. Each of the seven finalists compete at the Hermosa Beach location for a chance to win the hearse or $3,000 cash.
For more information, visit www.sharkeez.net.
Whiskey Blue, W New Orleans
Whiskey Blue and The Living Room at the W New Orleans will offer a Witches Brew cocktail. The $35 cocktail is meant to be shared by friends gathering to celebrate the season.
2 ¼ ounces Bacardi Light
2 ¼ ounces Meyers Rum
1 ¼ ounces Bacardi 151
2 ½ ounces pineapple juice
2 ½ ounces orange juice
1 ¼ ounces sour mix
1 ¼ ounces grenadine
Sour or regular Gummi Worms, for garnish
Fill glass completely with ice add all ingredients. Use bar spoons to stir the drink until all ingredients are combined. It should be a pinkish red color. Throw in a handful of Gummi Worms and the appropriate amount of silly straws.
Orange County Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Offering five mega stages, a haunted pumpkin patch, go-go dancers, a VIP lounge with bottle service, fashion shows and a Halloween costume contest, organizers of the Halloween OC Event at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., expect more than 10,000 people in attendance. Event planners use sponsors to drum up anticipation and exposure for the event. General admission is $40, while VIP access is $100 (tickets purchased online go for $25 and $75, respectively).
Check out the event's web site at www.HalloweenOC.com.
Monin Gourmet Flavoring's Seasonal Opportunities
Halloween offers a great chance to promote themed beverages and have fun crafting creative recipe names, ingredients and descriptions. "How about a Half Moon Spooktini with 'blood red' orange or a spicy Trick & Treat Martini to tease and tantalize the taste buds? Endless possibilities await," says Ilaria Merizalde, Monin marketing manager.
Trick & Treat Martini
Developed by Monin Beverage Innovation Directors.
1 ounce Monin Spicy Chocolate Syrup
2 ounces liquid vanilla ice cream mix
3/4 ounce vanilla flavored liqueur
1 1/4 ounces vodka
Monin Dark Chocolate Sauce, for garnish
Cinnamon or nutmeg powder, for garnish
Combine ingredients in shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a Martini glass and garnish.
Half Moon Spooktini
Developed by Monin Beverage Innovation Directors.
Monin Blood Orange Syrup
1/4 ounce Monin Chai Tea Concentrate
1 1/2 ounces orange flavored vodka
1 ounce orange juice
Moon-shaped orange wedge, for garnish
Combine ingredients in shaker. Shake vigorously, then strain into serving glass and garnish.
Jagermeister’s On-Premise Promotions
This Halloween, Jägermeister is getting in on the festivities with on-premise promotions throughout October, from Halloween-themed party kits to Jägerette accessories. Plus, Jäger will be taking part in the New York Halloween parade for the second year in a row. Contact your local representative for more information on Halloween-themed promotions and giveaways. And remember: “Don’t make a grave mistake. Enjoy Halloween Responsibly,” the company urges.
Learn more online at www.jagermeister.com.
Lucid Absinthe’s Witch Doctor Cocktail
Just as Halloween was brought to the U.S. from Europe, so is Lucid Absinthe. The mysterious spirit evokes a certain spookiness, especially with Lucid’s black cat bottle design. Enjoy absinthe in its traditional form or in Lucid’s new cocktail:
1 part Lucid
1 part sugared water
1 part grenadine
2-3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
In a shot glass, add Lucid, then ice-cold water that has been shaken with sugar or simple syrup. Add grenadine, which will sink to the bottom to form the lower “layer,” and float the dashes of bitters on top to form the top layer.
For more information, visit www.drinklucid.com.
Miller Lite's Vampire Ventures
For the third year in a row, Miller Lite is getting consumers into the spirit of Halloween with the “Sink Your Fangs Into Great Taste” promotion, which features a vampire delivering the call to action. The on-premise program will help decorate accounts, gain feature activity, drive draft sales and entertain consumers, according to Miller Lite. Key on-premise materials include a vampire stand-up, cape, bottle wrap and brew cup.
Learn more online at www.millerlite.com.
EZ-Squeeze Jell-O Shot Cups
Pittsburgh’s Royal Penn Products offers the EZ-Squeeze Jell-O shot cup and Jell-O shot injectors. The cup is a flexible, 2-ounce squeezable shot glass that can be reused or simply thrown away after use and allows consumers to drink the shot in full rather than loosening with a finger or spoon. For a Halloween twist, offer orange and black Jell-O shots or have a designated “shot person” dressed up as a nurse to sell (and even administer) the syringes to patrons.
For more information, visit www.ez-squeeze.com.
Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Tricks” Program
Playing of its “Most Interesting Man” campaign, Dos Equis presents its “Most Interesting Tricks” Halloween program, inviting consumers to use illusion and trickery to entertain and intrigue friends this Halloween season. On-premise promotions will invite consumers to learn magic through the Dos Equis bag of tricks. Costumed Dos Equis brand ambassadors will be on hand, and POS items include table tents, pennants and coasters.
Midori Melon’s “Get Wicked” Promo
Midori Melon Liqueur presents its Halloween-themed “Get Wicked” promotion featuring the Spider’s Kiss Cocktail on-premise (see recipe below). During the week of Halloween, Midori kicks off a “Get Wicked” Halloween cocktail and shooter program with the Spider’s Kiss, Midori Venom, Midori She Devil, Midori Ghost Chaser, Midori Gangreen and Midori Scoobie Snax. POS materials include glowing “Midori Venom” fangs, light-up green devil horns, green light bulbs, recipe magnets, gothic spiked collars, table tents, T-shirts and posters.
Find out more at www.midoriusa.com.
Midori Spider’s Kiss
1 ounce Midori Melon Liqueur
1 ounce Skyy Vodka
Garnish with an orange slice
Draw a chocolate web into a Martini glass. Place in refrigerator and chill well. Strain beverage into glass. For a blood effect, drizzle grenadine down the side of the glass. Garnish with a chocolate dipped orange slice.
Gluug’s Glasses to Go
Gluug shot glasses feature a patented lid, making it ideal for serving on busy nights like Halloween. The shots can be prepared ahead of time and chilled until serving, and they are easier to get through a crowded bar without spillage. The glasses can be customized and used as a souvenir from a bar’s Halloween-themed event.
For more information, visit www.gluug.com.
ATM Network’s Halloween-Themed Screens, Wraps
ATM Network offers ATMs with 5-by-7-inch customizable screens. Up to five different custom screens can be developed for promotions or vendor advertisements, including Halloween programs. The screen can promote drink specials, promotion times, contests and more, and it also features themed pictures. The ATMs can also be covered in a themed wrap to add a little spookiness to your bar instead of the typical gray ATM.
To learn more about ATM Network, visit www.atmnetwork.net.
Technological Artisans’ Haunted House Setup
The 5mw Babette Laser System from Technological Artisans can turn your nightclub or bar into a haunted house-esque attraction, from moving and static beams to fans, skies and tunnels. The system does not require any sort of variance and is 100 percent legal in all nightclubs and bars. Technological Artisans also offers Babette Graphics, which can display Halloween images in laser lighting to grab the partygoers’ attention. Also, the Babette Graphics model allows the user to draw in any nightclub or bar logo for future use after the Halloween season.
For more information, visit www.HalloweenLasers.com or call 1-888-396-5050.
Blue Ice Vodka’s Halloween Drinks
The Blue Ice Pumpkin Pie Martini heads up the Halloween-themed cocktail collection from Blue Ice Vodka. The cocktails are made with DaVinci Pumpkin Pie Classic Syrup, which Blue Ice provides to bars with the purchase of Blue Ice Vodka, in markets where it’s legal. Blue Ice also offers table tents to promote the beverages.
Blue Ice Pumpkin Pie Martini
3 ½ parts Blue Ice Vodka
1 part DaVinci Pumpkin Pie Syrup
Add Blue Ice and syrup to a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain. Garnish with an orange slice and pour into a cocktail glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar.
Candy Apple Martini
1 ½ ounces Blue Ice Vodka
½ ounce butterscotch schnapps
¾ ounce apple schnapps
1 ounce cranberry juice
Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into an 8-ounce cocktail glass.
Chilled Pumpkin Latte
1 ounce Blue Ice Vodka
¾ ounce coffee liqueur
¾ ounce DaVinci Pumpkin Pie Syrup
Build over cubed ice in a 12- to 14-ounce Collins-style glass.
For more information, visit www.blueicevodka.com.