Every October, it's time to trick-or-treat yourself to some of the spookiest, cutest and most pumpkin-looking baked goods, cocktails and dishes around. For this year's Halloween food and drink specials, sip on cocktails fit for Jack Skellington, dine on midnight-hued chicken and sample ice cream swirled with real creepy crawlers, if you dare.
The DTLA bakery and café is going all-out this season, offering a range of spooky goods for those with a sweet tooth. Through Halloween, Pitchoun! is adding a number of creepy eclairs to their French-pastry lineup, topping the treats with cartoonish monsters and downright gruesome cleaved fingers. There are also some general fall-themed goods in the mix, including a Granny Smith apple eclair, pumpkin lattes topped with jack-o’-lantern foam art and pumpkin macarons. (Various prices)
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
‘Tis the season for All Things Pumpkin, and Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken has created a confection fit for the season: a pumpkin pie doughnut, filled with pumpkin pastry cream, covered with pumpkin-spice glaze and dusted with orange sugar, all topped with vanilla buttercream in the shape of a pumpkin stem and leaves. There's a vibrant candy apple doughnut, stuffed with apple compote and smothered in apple-cider glaze, and sugar that then gets torched, as well as a candy bar doughnut, which, let's face it, may be better than your tick-or-treat haul: it's a chocolate cake doughnut topped with salted caramel glaze, crushed peanuts, crushed pretzels and a caramel drizzle. Last but not least is the Coconut Dream, the Almond Joy of doughnuts: a fluffy yeast-dough circle with coconut-cream glaze, toasted almond slivers and a chocolate drizzle. ($3.50; Coconut Dream is $3.25)
Salt & Straw
Get creepy all month long with Salt & Straw's “Spooktacular” line of ice cream flavors, whether you're stopping in at Larchmont Village, West Hollywood, Abbot Kinney, Studio City or the Arts District location. Throughout October, grab scoops and pints of concoctions such as Creepy Crawly Critters, a matcha ice cream including orange, dark-chocolate-covered crickets and coconut-toffee-brittle mealworms; Dracula’s Blood Pudding, a blend of seasonal spices spun into real blood pudding; the Great Candycopia, with salted butterscotch ice cream studded with house-made snickers, whoppers, heath bars and peanut butter cups; the Essence of Ghost, a light sherbet involving mysterious smokiness and bitter notes; and the Freckle & Hyde Potion, a two-toned blend of melon-and-coconut sorbet spiked with lime juice, salt and coconut ash, melded with a cranberry sorbet that's been freckled with white chocolate, pop-rocks and dark chocolate. (Various prices)
Parisian confectionary Ladurée is throwing its own baked version of a fete d'Halloween from October 20 through the 31st. Celebrate the holiday with milk-chocolate-and-hazelnut macarons in a six-piece, jack-o’-lantern-themed gift set available at both L.A. locations, within the Grove and in Beverly Hills. ($24 per box)
The BBQ joint Boneyard Bistro is going “bone-chilling” for Halloween weekend, stirring up a handful of savory, spooky specials. From October 27 through 29, unearth the Dig Up Her Bones, a dish of smoked bone marrow with miso ginger, chimichurri, nori and togarashi-spiced brioche, while the Creature from the Black Lagoon drags up grilled pork tenderloin with black plum sauce, black-rice risotto, edamame and coconut. The Unholy Burger gets dark with a wagyu-and-bacon patty topped with black-garlic aioli, habanero jack cheese and crispy jalapeño strings, and the Black Widow rounds out the meal, a pumpkin pie cheesecake with Oreo crust and Oreo spiders. Throughout the month, look for specials like Demon Wings, below. (Various prices)
E.P. and L.P.
In a move that should surprise no one, the Halloween-loving team of West Hollywood’s E.P. and L.P. concocted one of the most on-theme dishes available this season, and it's not for the squeamish. The Ghoulish Chicken puts a sinister spin on a classic—Hainan chicken and rice—but opts for the jet-black, free-range Silkie breed of chicken, which is naturally dark all the way to the bone. The entire bird is seasoned with dark soy sauce and then gets ginger-poached and is family-style served with pickled cucumber, scallions, chili and garlic. Find it on October 26 and 27, and then again from October 29 to 31. ($30)
On October 28, find even more spooky specials—in cocktail and passed-bites form—at the restaurant and bar’s Monster’s Ball, complete with open bar, DJ sets and a heaven-and-hell, split-level theme. ($65)
Alcove & Big Bar
The so-creative and fun-loving staff at Los Feliz's Big Bar and Alcove know how to get, well, crafty, conjuring up an entire menu of cocktails inspired by The Craft all the way through Halloween. Sip on the Light as a Feather, with Bacardi 8, lime, cane sugar, mint, angostura and bubbles; the Stiff as a Board, with Bacardi 8, sweet potato, cinnamon and charred cinnamon; the Bitches of Eastwick, with El Silencio Espadin, blood orange, lime, agave and a teeny tiny tarot card; the I Bind You, Nancy..., with Belvedere unfiltered vodka, pear, lemon, Hello Cari bitters and bubbles; or the Manon-Hattan, with Elijah Craig bourbon, Averna amaro, dark chocolate bitters, angostura bitters and a paper butterfly. Then on Thursday, October 26, stop by for a "Monster Mash" themed installation of their monthly guest bartender series, where classic cocktails get paired up with classic monsters.
BONUS: On Halloween weekend, the team brings back their annual Halloween brunch, featuring spooky specials, decor and even servers in costume.
American Tea Room
The modern tea room is getting in the holiday spirit with the Scary Terere, priced devilishly at $6.66. Make your way to the American Tea Room in either the Arts District or Beverly Hills for the shop's beloved Green Tea Terere, now made with activated charcoal and adorned by a floating, creepy, bloodshot gummy eyeball.
“Ghostbound” at Westbound
The Arts District’s Westbound is now in full-tilt spooky mode, having transformed into pop-up bar Ghostbound with fake cobwebs, Sunday-night scary-movie screenings, Wednesday activities such as pumpkin bocce and bobbing for apples, and, of course, a few creepy cocktails. Sip on fall-inspired boilermakers, plus cocktails such as the They’re Here, with Appleton rum, falernum, Amaro Montenegro and clover bitters. Find ’em on special for $10 each during the “Witching Hour,” a late-night happy hour that runs from 11pm till close Tuesdays through Thursdays and on Sundays. ($14)
Head to Hollywood to revel in the ghosts of starlets past. At Cleo, find the Theda’s Revenge cocktail now through Halloween—a dark, tequila-based special featuring Avion Espresso Tequila, Kahlúa, orange bitters, espresso and a pumpkin-spice rim. It’s a nod to silent-screen queen Theda Bara, known as Hollywood's first vampire actress, who often played dark heroines. ($15)
Craving brains? Library Bar is throwing a Walking Dead viewing party this Sunday, October 22, at 6pm, and while they won't be serving up gray cells, you can get their zombie cocktail—a take on the tiki classic—with light rum, dark rum, Plantation Overproof Old-Fashioned Traditional Dark rum, Velvet falernum, Herbsaint, pineapple juice, lime, passion fruit, grenadine and angostura bitters. Whew. ($14)
Whether you're #TeamSkellington or #TeamOogie, the team behind speakeasy Good Housekeeping—which is located behind Cafe Birdie in Highland Park—should have something to suit your fancy at a Nightmare Before Christmas pop-up. Beginning October 25, running every Wednesday through Christmas and on Halloween night, find Halloween- and Christmas-themed drink specials, including the Carnival of Souls, with tequila, bubble gum syrup, lemon, sparkling rosé and cotton candy; the Pumpkin King Eggnog, with Smith & Cross rum, High West bourbon, egg, sugar, heavy cream, milk and pumpkin spice; the Deadly Nightshade, with Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz gin, Campari, Brovo Rosé vermouth, smoked mint and applewood; the Oogie Boogie, with sweet potato shrub, Rhum Jm, Meletti and lemon; and the Grasshoppers with Grasshoppers, where grasshopper-cocktail Jello shots come topped with crispy actual grasshoppers. (Various prices)