Take one look at our busting-at-the-seams Fright Life calendar and you'll realize that Charleston takes Halloween pretty seriously. Sure, you can throw on a costume and hop around downtown bars, but if you plan ahead, you can scout out the places with the best perks — hors d’oeuvres, drink specials, prizes and giveaways. We’re here to tell you about the city’s most buzz-worthy parties.
Costume contests. Plenty of bars are holding costume contests, some with hefty prizes, but two downtown bars are known for their serious costume contests: Vickery’s and Pantheon. Both have a $1,000 prize for best costume, so get creative. Tickets to both parties are $10, though if you’re underage you can go to Pantheon for $15. Rooftop at Vendue has a $500 prize for best costume, and there’s no cover if you’re dressed up. Market Street Saloon also has a $500 costume contest starting at 8 p.m.
Vampires. Cashing in on the Twilight craze, lots of local bars are hosting vampire-themed parties. On Friday, check out Vue’s Fangbangers’ Ball. On Saturday, Light and Tantra are both hosting Vampire Balls while the downtown Wild Wing hosts Wild Blood, a “southern vampire mystery” with music from Electric Boogaloo. Up in North Charleston, The Mill hosts a Vampire and Fangbangers’ Ball.
Funky themes. In Avondale, Voodoo hosts their Elvis is Alive party, and the Tin Roof hosts a Beetlejuice Party with “creepy” music from Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band. At both parties, there will be prizes for best Elvis and Beetlejuice-inspired costumes, respectively. Also on Saturday, Halligan’s hosts a Dead Celebrities Ball. At the Recovery Room, guys are encouraged to dress as their favorite Patrick Swayze characters, while girls are just encouraged to dress “slutty.” Lovely.
Day of the Dead. Nurse your post-Halloween hangover at one of the area’s Day of the Dead celebrations on Sun. Nov. 1. Both Taco Boys will have live music and food and drink specials. Gallery 57 hosts a party and exhibit Sunday night with Mexican food and art, a Mariachi band, and fire dancing.
For our top Halloween music gigs, check out our music editor’s round-up. Also, these picks are just the tip of the iceberg. Check our full listings to see it all, and let us know if we missed anything.
Stay posted as we'll update the list as we get closer to All Hallow's Eve.