Halloween, referred to in Turkish as Cadılar Bayramı, the holiday of witches, is gaining ground in Istanbul as the perfect opportunity to... well... party! A number of the city's hottest clubs and venues are offering special programs to celebrate the spookiest of holidays in style. Although the tradition of children dressing up in costumes, knocking on doors and saying "Trick or Treat" to receive a piece of candy, which is the norm in the U.S., is near nonexistent in Turkey, there are a number of party events happening throughout the city for big kids to celebrate Halloween this Friday right, or in fright!
Drag Me to Hell at The Hall Istanbul
The Hall's annual Halloween party has become the ultimate venue for Istanbulite hipsters to celebrate Oct. 31 Turkish-style. Located in the heart of Beyoğlu in a 145-year-old church, 700 guests will enjoy the DJ stylings of Joel Knox from Kitschcraft and DJ Bob as well as a performance by soprano Gonca Gürses van Herpen. Makeup artist Maguy from Beirut will be on hand to give guests a ghoulish look to compete to win the Golden Pumpkin Award for best costume. Tickets are 30 TL ($13) and are available at The Hall Istanbul Box Office and Biletix and the doors will be open from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
A Halloween Bash at Tunnel Sahne
Yabangee, a popular online community for expats in Istanbul is throwing a Halloween Bash (Monster Mash) on Friday at Tunnel Sahne in Beyoğlu's Asmalı Mescit neighborhood. Rock band Rubber Walrus will play a special Halloween set before the DJs take over into the wee hours of the night. Last year's party drew in 600 and this year is expected to be even bigger, with a costume contest to boot. Doors open at 9:00 p.m. and entry is 20 TL plus a free drink.
Bloody Halloween Insanity Party at Çınaraltı Club
Hosted by Party Box, Istanbul's biggest transnational student event organizers, 700 guests are expected to party into the wee hours and enjoy DJ music, stage shows, horror films and a costume competition. You can also rent a private lodge to enjoy the graveyard bash in style. Pre-sale tickets are 30 TL, at the entrance they will be 40 TL and both include a free drink. The party kicks off at 11:00 p.m. and will run until 6:00 am.
Hard Rock Cafe Halloween Party
The famous worldwide music-themed chain Hard Rock Café, which recently opened an Istanbul location at the old "Sponeck Birahanesi" in Asmalı Mescit, will be hosting its first Halloween event in the way of a costume party. The evening's theme is Dead Rock Stars, so expect to see a few Jim Morrisons, Jimi Hendrixes and John Lennons vying for the best costume of the night with DJ music kicking off at 9:30 p.m.
Halloween at Garajistanbul
For the quintessential artsy and edgy Halloween experience head to this very special performance space that occupies a former parking garage in a back street off of İstiklal Avenue. The lineup of electronic music includes Djuma Soundsystem and local DJs Onur Diner, Dissociator, Batuhan Karaman, and Cantuğ Gökçel. There will be surprise gifts for the best costumes and the doors open at 11:00 p.m. and admission is 60 TL.
Dance Macabre at Tivoli
For a Halloween party hosted by expats, come out to the heart of Beyoğlu to the Tivoli Event Hall to hear Ray Mac on the turnstiles. Entry is free, however costumes are mandatory, therefore professional makeup artist Erdal Bektaş will be on hand before the event to give you the perfect makeup for your Halloween costume. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.
Halloween Happening at Pendor Corner
For a night of funky live music by Raw Power, an Iggy and the Stooges tribute band, and openers Los Miskins performing Turkish surf music, head to Pendor Corner in the heart of İstiklal where dressing up in costume will get you a free shot. Doors open at 11:00 p.m.
Celebrate Halloween at Supperclub, for a night of fun, fine dining and house music. DJ sets by Hakan Zanbak and Mehmet Okumuş will be accompanied by performance artists Shafak and Miss Mei donned up in costumes to get everyone in the mood, while a very special upscale dining menu will be on offer, including caviar and pineapple honey duck.
If you're wondering where to find the perfect costume, search no further than Garderobe, Istanbul's premiere costume outlet located in Beyoğlu's TomTom neighborhood, will definitely have something to your fancy you can rent out for the night's festivities. Partipazar.com also has a selection of classic Halloween costumes, whereas if you want to go all out, merihkostum.com offers more lavish Latin dance-themed designs.