Halloween! It’s coming up soon and as usual, there’s no shortage of Halloween-adjacent cover concerts, costume contests, scary film screenings, and various other happenings that are taking place in and around Milwaukee to help get you in the spooky season spirit. However, some area establishments are also going above and beyond this Halloween by undergoing full-on transformations that coincide with the holiday.

Between now and October 31, a handful of Milwaukee bars, restaurants, and venues will masquerade as businesses with ambitious, exciting, and new concepts. Whether it’s in reference to a movie, tied to a TV show or video game, or devoted to wrestling, here are seven standout local Halloween pop-ups for your consideration.

Cloud Red (Shorewood) — “Karbie & Ben” (October 28)
Cloud Red in Shorewood invites you to wear a Barbie or Ken costume (or no costume at all) and come in to “celebrate all things plastic, fake, confusing and empowering” on Saturday, October 28. Beyond the Barbie-based fun, the restaurant will have drinks and snacks aplenty, an ’80s-inspired playlist, and two guest hosts.

Creed’s Foggy Dew (St. Francis) — ‘The Golden Girls’ Event TBD (October 26-31)
I mean, we don’t know any specifics here, but just look at this Facebook post from October 18. It’s going to be something related to The Golden Girls. It has to be!

The Lost Whale — “A Halloween For The Last Of Us” (October 26-29)
Usually, The Lost Whale in Bay View focuses on sillier source material for its occasional holiday pop-ups, but they’re going in a decidedly darker and more post-apocalyptic direction this time. As the name suggests, “A Halloween For The Last Of Us” is a four-night pop-up event in honor of the popular TV show and even more popular video game, The Last Of Us. Expect a special cocktail menu, temporary Firefly tattoos, and next-level interior decor featuring vines and Cordyceps galore.

Moran’s Pub (South Milwaukee) — “BeetleJames” (October 1-31)
BeetleJames! BeetleJames! BeetleJa…eh, you get the point. Moran’s Pub in South Milwaukee has been spending all month paying homage to Beetlejuice with specialty drinks, photo ops, and thematic merch related to the 1988 film and new Broadway play that apparently makes members of congress horny. There have also been events like “Beetle Brunch,” a jigsaw puzzle competition, and Bettlejuice Trivia that have taken place. In the waning days of the “BeetleJames” pop-up, the bar will host Halloween Trivia (October 25), Sip & Craft (October 26), a Halloween Party (October 28), and a “Closing The Netherworld” farewell experience (October 31).

Promises — “Haunted Nights Haunted House” (October 30-31)
In its short history, Promises hasn’t been shy about hosting unorthodox events in its character-laden Walker’s Point space. A few days before our own extremely weird event at Promises, the bar will transform into a full-fledged haunted house with the help of our friends at Alive And Fine. Tickets to this pop-up haunted house are sold in groups of four. Time slots can be reserved and purchased in advance by going to Promises or by emailing [email protected].

The Vanguard — “Vanguard Championship Wrestling” (October 26)
Last week, The Vanguard opened up to us about, well, a lot of things. Among the things they revealed to us was the details of its annual Halloween restaurant rebrand. This time around, they wrestling-obsessed Bay View sausage place is keeping it (relatively) straightforward with a theme simply called “Vanguard Championship Wrestling.” Diners are encouraged to dress as their favorite pro wrestler and come in on October 26 to enjoy one-night offerings like Undertaters, the Rowdy Roddy Pepper Burger, the Hulk Hoagie, and the Kevin Nashville Chicken Salad Sandwich. There will also be a costume contest and, yes, the Bucks season opener will be shown on TV.


Company Brewing — Nightmare On Center Street
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly a “pop-up” per se, but we feel the need to include to solely based on exactly how massive, ambitious, and eclectic it is. Nightmare On Center Street is one of the longest-running and altogether best holiday happenings in the area. Formerly a multi-venue Riverwest music festival of sorts, this year’s installment of the event that started in 2015 will take place exclusively at Company Brewing.

On Saturday, October 28, the Center Street brewery/restaurant/venue will host a wide range of seasonal specials, spectacles, and sounds for Halloweeners of all ages. Things will kick off at 11 a.m. with a “Haunted Brunch,” as well as specialty drinks (including “Blood Bag Cocktails”), and a ghoulish playlist by DJ Fuzzy Logic. This scary-good celebration will also feature a costume contests for pets and kids, a mini maker/vintage market, a brass band, trick of treating, and a giant inflatable trampoline park that will last until the evening.Inside the property, local bands will cover blink-182, Lady Gaga, Deftones beginning at 9 p.m. before handing the stage over to Freak On A Leash Fellowship at midnight. There’s going to be a lot going on at Company Brewing, but we can tell you’re intrigued. You can check out the full Nightmare On Center Street schedule HERE.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.