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Arts & Entertainment

13 Halloween parties: Salsa dancing, creepy pub crawls, sober celebrations & more

Ivan Rodriguez (right) poses for a photo with Bridgette McAuliffe (left) during the Castro Street Halloween festivities in San Francisco on Oct. 31, 2006. | Carlos Avila Gonzalez/SF Chronicle via Getty Images

Whether you decide to dress up as a City Hall-specific political meme or deck yourself out in a bespoke costume from a local shop, SF has plenty of opportunities to get you spirited away on All Hallows’ Eve … or the weekend before. Here are 13 local Halloween parties where you can raise a glass as well as your spirits for this ghoulish holiday.  

SF Critical Mass Halloween Bike Ride

Embarcadero Plaza 
Oct. 28, meet at 5:30 p.m., ride at 6:30 p.m. | Free 

Cyclists bike down Market Street in costume as part of a Critical Mass event in San Francisco on Oct. 31, 2008. | Michael Macor/SF Chronicle via Getty Images

Costumed bicyclists take to the streets for the Halloween edition of this monthly leaderless bike ride and protest against car culture, which has been an SF tradition since 1992. There will be people protecting intersections to make room for the rolling party. Costumes and decorated bikes are highly encouraged. (SH)

Drag Me to North Beach

Lillie Coit’s, 1707 Powell St. 
Oct. 27, 6 p.m. | $75

Drag entertainment comes included at this Halloween-themed bash in North Beach to benefit unsheltered and low-income neighbors. The party, in the yet-to-be-opened Lillie Coit’s taking over the Washington Square Bar and Grill space, involves a costume contest and prizes. The $75 ticket includes all-you-can-drink, entertainment and food. 21+ only. (JZ)

SF LGBT Center Halloween Extravaganza 

SF LGBT Center, 1800 Market St.
Oct. 28, 7-9 p.m. | Free 

LGBTQ+ youth (ages 16 to 29) are invited to wear their spookiest Halloween costumes at this inclusive night of dancing, live performances, candy, finger foods, raffles and giveaways. DJs bring the beats, and you bring the grooves. (CJC) 

A Terrifying Trio of Halloween Pub Crawls

Various locations
Oct. 28-31 | $10+

If spirits are your thing, one of San Francisco’s Halloween-themed pub crawls may be your ticket to a night of revelry. Crawloween is a mega pub crawl featuring over 50 bars over three nights and a party bus to help you hop from bar to bar. Pick your poison—or should we say potion?—at one of three nights of Trick or Drink. Go big on your costume at Amsterdam Cafe, which hosts its fifth annual Halloween Bar Crawl with a $1,000 prize for the best costume. (CJC) 

Wizard of Oz Halloween Party at Novela 

Novela, 662 Mission St. 
Oct. 29, 8 p.m.-2 a.m. | $15+

Literary bar Novela SF hosts a Wizard of Oz Halloween party complete with themed cocktails, food and full decor. Music by DJ Mister Jay. Be sure to get your tickets in advance. (JZ)

The Speakeasy: All Hallows' Eve 

The Palace Theatre, 644 Broadway
Oct. 28-31 | $75+

This swanky Halloween party turns an underground gin joint into a Roaring ’20s bash featuring a one-act playlet filled with ghost stories of yesteryear, a pre-show musical performance, a costume contest and a dance party. Party like it’s 1926! (CJC)  

Devils Disco Halloween Party 

Neck of the Woods, 406 Clement St.  
Oct. 29, 9 p.m. | $12-$20

Groove to disco, house, funk and everything in between at this devilish dance party featuring a spooky interactive art installation and music by DJ Playstation, Ghost in a Meat Suit, Kana and jcruz. Be sure to wear a costume and put in some effort. Revelers dressed in low-lift attire will be gifted a mustache at the door. Keep the party pumping at the No Scrubs '90s Hip Hop Party upstairs. This ticket counts for double trouble and grants you access to both parties. (CJC)

La Vida Divina

Cesar Chavez and Bryant streets
Oct. 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Free

Cannabis dispensary Poncho Brotherz is a family-owned operation that debuted in early October, and they’re using Dia de los Muertos as a sort of grand opening, with an all-ages block party filled with folklorico dancers, pumpkin carving and an ofrenda (altar). Chef and youngest brother Elijah Tapia is putting together an impressive menu of Mexican treats, including birria tacos, churros, pan dulce and “horchata with a twist.” (PAK)


Pier 23 Cafe, 23 The Embarcadero
Oct. 30, noon | Free

A canine costume contest that also welcomes feline partygoers, Howl-o-ween offers tricks and plenty of pet-friendly treats from Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods. There will also be human food and drink available for purchase at the cafe’s waterfront beer garden. (OCM)

Sober Halloween Party & Costume Contest

Oasis, 298 11th St.
Oct. 30, 1 p.m. | $15-$25 

The SoMa nightclub known for its drag shows and cabarets hosts an afternoon dance party and costume contest for “sober freaks and fellows.” Contestants will walk the costume runway starting at 2 p.m. for a chance to win cash and prizes. The theme is “spooky or slutty.” There will also be tarot readings. If that’s not enough Oasis time for you, proprietor D’Arcy Drollinger hosts SQREAM, a scary movie drag parody show and slasher sing-along set to ’90s music from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5. (SH)

Queerly Beloved Halloween

Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St.
Oct. 31, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. | $10-$13

Certain segments of the LGBTQ+ community tend to lean very hard into Halloween’s gothic pleasures—and nobody goes overboard quite like Queerly Beloved. Hosted by Per Sia and Courtney Trouble, the long-running dance party takes over Thee Parkside with a “creepy cute” costume contest and a queer BDSM peep show. This one’s for the superfans who truly turn Halloween into a five-day bonanza. (PAK)

Salsa y Bachata Halloween Ball

El Valenciano, 1153 Valencia St.
Oct. 31, 8 p.m. | $12-$15

The Mission’s biggest Halloween Ball offers a Latin dance lesson before a night of salsa, mambo, bachata and guaguancó. The bar, restaurant and dance club will also feature a costume contest and prizes. Advance tickets are $12 and $15 at the door. (OCM)

Beauty and the Beast Cocktail Experience

Trademark Bar, 1123 Folsom St.
Through Nov. 3 | $44-$47

Though not strictly Halloween-themed, this boozy Beauty and the Beast-inspired experience by the same brains behind this intoxicating Peter Pan pop-up invites you to be a guest at the classic fairytale odd couple’s fantastical castle and dress up for a fancy Victorian-style cocktail party in their honor. Sip on two bespoke cocktails created for the immersive experience, which also features challenges and riddles to help lift the Beast’s curse. If this experience is anything like our trip to Never Never Land, you’ll leave this enchanted realm a little tipsier. (CJC)   

Astrid Kane, Christina Campodonico, Julie Zigoris, Olivia Cruz Mayeda and Sarah Holtz contributed additional reporting for this story.