Celebrating Halloween in Turkey is a new thing and in fact every year the number of parties and events for this holiday are on the rise. Referred to as "Cadılar Bayramı" in Turkey, which translates to the "Witches' Holiday," don't expect the kids to be trick or treating, as the custom of kids in costume knocking on neighbor's doors for candy is one that is lost here. Instead, the Turks have upped the ante for the adults, organizing parties throughout the city in the double-digits. Some are thrown by expats, some will be Erasmus heavy and others will just be a great time to be had for all.
Oct. 27 Chill & Thrill Halloween Party at Sofa Hotel
Known around town as the "party guru," Senem Selimi, who is also the founder of the "Istanbul Expats & Internationals" group on Facebook, will be organizing another one of her popular upscale themed-parties for this special occasion. Her "Chill & Thrill Halloween Party" will take place on Friday, Oct. 27 at the Sofa Hotel in Nişantaşı.
Italian DJ Valerio Proto will be on the turnstiles and there will be a costume contest as well as her traditional business card lottery with luxurious prizes, while Garage Hair Repair Studio will be on hand to offer free-of-charge Halloween styling. Furthermore entrance is also free, however you must RSVP for the event to get on the guest list. Check out the Facebook event page for more info.
Halloween Horror Night II at The Game
The Game for big kids is a sleek impressive gaming venue located in the bottom floor of the Point Hotel in Şişli. It will be opening their doors on the evening of Friday, Oct. 27 for their second edition of Halloween Horror Night with DJ performances and an opportunity to test out all of their latest games for free. Just make sure to dress up in costume and RSVP.
Oct. 27-28 Halloween Carnival at Asmalımescit
This year, Kulp a nightclub venue located in the trendy Asmalımescit neighborhood in Beyoğlu will be hosting a sort of open-air Halloween carnival in which Şehbender Street will be filled with all sort of costumes, ghouls and witches.
The event will start at 9:00 pm on both Friday and Saturday evenings and there will be popular DJs spinning tunes into the wee hours of the night. There will be make-up artists on hand and entrance is free, but you must fill out a form for the Halloween Carnival @Asmalımescit on biletino to attend.
Check out the Facebook event pages for the Cadılar Bayramı Festivali for more info.
Halloween Street Festival at Tektekçi
The popular cocktail bar Tektekçi, located in the Tomtom neighborhood of Beyoğlu, which however has since branched out to İzmir and Alaçatı, will be closing down the street of Acara in front of the venue and opening it up to creative costumes, scary jokes, music and dance.
There will also be masks and accessories available for purchase and make-up artists to have your face painted. The event will take place from 8 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 27-28. Entrance is free; however you have to fill out an invitation form to be admitted. Check out the Facebook event page for Cadılar Bayramı Sokak Festivali for more info.
Oct. 28 Halloween Party of Horror by Yabangee
Yabangee, the website run by and for expats that not only provides advice for foreigners and informs of upcoming activities, but also organizes some of their own, will be hosting two Halloween parties held simultaneously in Istanbul and İzmir. This will be their fifth edition of the event in Istanbul that is always popular with the expat crowd. Expect costume competitions, ghoulish games, dance music and an expat-heat crowd. Check out their website for the update of the venues hosting the events.
Freak Show Halloween at Beykoz Kundura
Expect top notch electronic and psychedelic music at these very special evening held at an equally important venue. Beykoz Kundura is a spacious historical factory on the Asian side of Istanbul. With a history spanning back to 1810 when it was a factory for dishware, the building's heyday, before now that is, was perhaps when it was utilized as a leather factory. None the less it played a crucial role in production in the city and now serves as one of the most unique event venues as well. The event begins at 9:00 p.m. and will have international DJs such as Sweden's Crussen and Masomenos the duo of Joan Costes and Adrien de Maublanc performing electronic and psychedelic music. This will truly be unique Halloween Party offering exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences including a hair studio, costume shop and make-up artists, in order to make you feel even freakier. While early bird tickets have already sold out, the cost for entry if you buy your tickets now is 120 TL ($33).Oct. 28 Ghouls Night Out at KargArt
On Saturday, Oct. 28, KargArt, a dynamic gallery and events venue in Kadiköy, will be hosting a Ghouls Night Out Halloween Party in which Turkey's top dark post punk musical outfits, Art Diktator, Robotat and Reptilians from Andromeda will be performing. Tickets are 25 TL and will be available at the door.
Oct. 31 Halloween Party at Dorock XL
A rare event held on the actual night of Halloween this year, Dorock XL, one of Kadıköy's most popular and certainly most expansive live music venues, will be hosting a Halloween party on Tuesday, Oct. 31.
Then on Thursday Nov. 2, Dorock XL continues the theme in a sense with a "Scream & Oldies Party," an evening devoted to Michael Jackson on the 35th anniversary of the release of the thriller album.
Erasmus Halloween Party
Hosted by Ritim, one of Istanbul's resident venues for Erasmus parties will be hosting a Halloween Party on the eve of Tuesday, Oct. 31. Taking place from 10 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., expect this to be a loud and rowdy good time. Located in the heart of Beyoğlu on the same street as the fish market, Ritim, which has a proper wooden dance floor and will be decked out for the event, will also have electronic commercial music playing all night long with zombie dancers stealing the show amidst fire shows and fog machines.
The theme is to dress up as your favorite hero or most-feared villain and if you do not have any sort of costume or makeup done up for the night, entrance is not guaranteed as there is expected to be a waiting list. Furthermore the best male and female costume will each win a grand prize. Entrance is TL 30 and includes a free drink.
Nov. 4 Halloween Party at Harlem
Just because Halloween may be over doesn't mean the fun is. The Istanbul Lindy Hoppers, the city's first and biggest swing community will be organizing a special costume party at Harlem Taksim, located on Balo Street in Beyoğlu that will take place on Sunday, Nov. 4. Starting at 9:30 p.m. and expected to continue until 2 a.m., this will be a great opportunity to witness the city's swing scene in action and more importantly, in costume. There will be costumes available for sale and guests can book an appointment to have their make-up done professionally for just TL 20. Entrance is free.
For the kids
This Sunday, Oct. 22, Discover Museum Istanbul will be hosting a special Halloween party for kids. There will be face painting, mummy races, a witch hunt, apple-bobbing and a costume contest. Entrance is TL 10 for 30 minutes.