Where to find the best spooky foods and drinks for Halloween
While we’re not above devoting the entire month to consuming fistfuls of candy at our desk, there are plenty of other possibilities — like a vampire-themed pizza party delivered to your door — for Halloween feasting in Los Angeles. Here are some of the best of the October offerings.
The Black Magic (a.k.a. cold brew) isn’t served bubbling from a cauldron, but Julian Anguiano’s potions are still festive — and potent. At his Mystyx Kafe coffee cart, the owner whips up black-metal-inspired cold brews, lattes and Inferno Teas that are flavorful, strong, and a nod to the barista’s love of goth culture and metal, year round.
“It’s all for the aesthetic,” he said. “It’s not for satanic worshiping or anything. It’s just kind of fun — just getting out of the box and exploring a little darkness.”
Anguiano and his partner, Sol Castillo, explore that darkness together in East L.A. every week with drinks such as the Black Magic, White Magic (horchata cold brew drizzled with caramel), Mocha With Sin and Whips (cinnamon and whipped cream) and Inferno Tea (iced tea lemonade with a turmeric shot), made at a cart that’s frequently accessorized with items like fake skulls and strings of bats.
It’s the culmination of Anguiano’s adolescence and adulthood — which were steeped in acts such as Burzum, Cradle of Filth and London After Midnight, and his own performances in metal bands — and his years learning the coffee industry across L.A., including at Kreation and Tierra Mia.
Although the location can change upon occasion, you don’t need to send a raven scout to find Mystyx. The cart is typically open for business at the corner of North Rowan and East César E. Chávez avenues from Thursday to Monday — just a few blocks from Evergreen Cemetery.
3600 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, instagram.com/mystyxkafe
If you tend to crave pizza more than the taste of blood, experiential pizza night Vampire.Pizza has returned to Los Angeles, providing an immersive vampire-themed game night along with a meal from Ghost Pizza Kitchen.
The original “Chapter 1: Welcome to the Vampire Revolution” option involves pizza delivered with an envelope attached to the box that contains game prompts and clues, plus QR codes that enable texts and video messages from various characters — including Belle, the leader of the vampire revolution. The new “Chapter 2: The Case of the Missing Vamp” also includes pizza delivery and clues in an envelope, but this game involves “time travel” to the 1920s to find a friend who can help lead the vampires to victory.
Anyone who completes a “mission” will receive a trick (a box of old toy clowns, say, or a personalized letter from a serial killer) or a treat (a Nintendo Switch, for example, or tickets to the Madcap Motel, an immersive performance-based walkthrough experience in the Arts District). Prizes that can’t be sent digitally will be delivered by “real vampires.” Delivery is available across more than a dozen L.A. neighborhoods, including Echo Park, West Hollywood, South L.A., Beverly Hills and Koreatown.
Vampire.Pizza can be ordered for pickup or delivery via bite.delivery now through Oct. 31; the cost is $29 per player, including pizza, and each game can be played by one to six participants. Recommended for age 8 and older.
The folks at Salt & Straw tinker with unexpected ice cream flavors year-round, but at Halloween, the menu takes a turn for the creepy (and the creepy-crawly): This October, five festive ice creams can be found at the shops in Venice, Larchmont, the Arts District, Studio City and Anaheim.
Offerings include a new version of the annual Great Candycopia, with Kit Kats, Reeses, Snickers and Heath bars in a base of salted butterscotch ice cream that’s studded with vanilla-bourbon-toffee almonds, and the return of Don Bugito’s Creepy Crawly Critters, featuring toffee-brittle-covered mealworms and chocolate crickets in matcha ice cream.
New Salt & Straw creations include the Jack o’ Lantern Pumpkin Bread, with a cinnamon-y ice cream blend of fresh pumpkin bread and whipped cream cheese frosting; the Black Cat Licorice & Lavender, which contrasts the lightly bitter notes of anise and fennel caramel with a floral salted lavender ice cream; and the vegan Double Bubble Toil & Trouble, which is a bright and effervescent bubble gum ice cream that pops and fizzes.
Haunted Little Tokyo
October becomes a kind of ghoulish block party when Haunted Little Tokyo takes over Japanese Village Plaza and surrounding businesses. Now in its fifth year, there are three events to choose from, each with themed snacks.
On Oct. 16 and 17, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., a “haunted” all-ages pumpkin patch will sell pumpkins from Tanaka Farms, a family-owned operation in Irvine, and food and drink (entry is free). A scavenger hunt is scheduled for Oct. 30 (from 2 to 5 p.m.), starting at Cafe Dulce (134 Japanese Village Plaza Mall), where participants will pick up a map that will guide them through the plaza with stops for treats like candy and baked goods.
Later on Oct. 30, there will be a block party (7 p.m. to midnight) for people 21 and older held at a secret location that will be disclosed upon check-in at Brunswig Square (360 E. 2nd St.). DJ sets and a costume contest will be offered, in addition to drinks and bites throughout the evening from sponsors like Cafe Dulce and Wolf & Crane. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 result within 72 hours are required to attend the block party.
At Beetle House “every day is Halloween,” and almost every cocktail is showy (you might experience a fog of dry ice wafting through the air). Although director-producer Tim Burton is not affiliated with the restaurant, bar and performance venue, he is clearly the inspiration. Beetle House practically glows inside; it’s a black-light ode of sorts to hits such as “Beetlejuice,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Edward Scissorhands.”
Cocktail options include the Beetle’s Juice, which plays on a Burton-esque purple-and-green color palette with tequila, muddled blackberry, cranberry and lime; and the Big Fish Bowl (a nod, of course, to “Big Fish”), which mixes coconut rum with vodka, gin, tequila, Blue Curaçao, pineapple juice and Sprite in a large fish bowl for two. (It also billows smoke and features a pebble base of Nerds candy for the Swedish Fish floating around.)
Reservations are required for dinner service, but the bar is open for walk-ins and photo ops. Throughout the year, Beetle House is the backdrop for events such as horror-industry meetup nights; “scary-oke” karaoke; and “Nightlesque Before Christmas” burlesque shows. This month, events include costume parties and DJ sets with themes like “Hocus Pocus” and “Ghostbusters.”
1714 N. Las Palmas Ave., Los Angeles, (929) 291-0337, beetlehousela.com
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