How to scare your guests witless: the ultimate Halloween party
There is only one time in the whole year when you are allowed to completely freak out your clients so you might as well do it properly! And where better to scare your guests witless than at one of the most inspired events venues in the City of London?
Guests who are lucky enough to be invited to a Brewery showcase event should drop everything and jump at the chance to attend because the experience will undoubtedly stay with you forever. Those who were brave enough to accept their Halloween party invitation at The Brewery last October did so at their own peril.
Now as you know from previous posts, we are strong advocates of amazing events industry talent who come together to create stunning events and totally immersive experiences. Having worked with the Brewery for a number of years, we always eagerly anticipate their upcoming events which continue to impress us with their unique themes and amazing attention to detail.
However, we had no idea on that fateful afternoon last October that we would become totally immersed in the downright scary world of House Macabre whilst we were setting up our ‘creepy old lady boudoir’ themed florals. And that was even before the sun went down and the actors came out!
Reminiscing on the theme behind their spellbinding Halloween event, the team at the Brewery conveyed how;
As a Halloween event it was designed to provide a fun but unsettling environment that explores our deepest fears. The showcase had to be nothing like the guests had ever experienced before. It had to be completely immersive and create a long lasting impression of a standard way beyond expectation levels.
To bring this sensationally scary showcase to life a wealth of frightful features were designed and created, including:
The deathly invitation
The Brewery team are masters of suspense and in the weeks preceding the event itself a standalone ‘House Macabre’ brand and identity were created. Guests were sent a ‘Death’ tarot card in branded stationary, a dedicated countdown clock micro-site was launched, and death certificate invitations were designed to intrigue and excite all who dared to attend.
First on the scene
On the day of the event itself guests were held outside and presented with cards displaying their table number. This simple yet significant finishing touch enabled the Brewery team to create an eerie ambience that would not be disrupted by complicated table plans. Moreover, a list of rules and warnings were displayed upon arrival to heighten guest anticipation and further immerse them within the haunting world of ‘House Macabre’.
In order to reach their entrance guests had to walk through the scene of a car crash. The Brewery team paid close attention to detail; sourcing the materials for this chaotic car crash scene from a scrap yard and having them specifically transported in for the event. The Brewery team have an excellent eye for detail and explained to us that;
The car crash complete with police man was made to simulate the guest’s death. This then led them through to the scene of their funeral when a wailing mourner led them up the stairs, through smoke and hundreds of old family photos hung from the ceiling, loud videos playing, strobe lighting and self-help audio playing all designed to create a disorientating experience.
Drinks in purgatory
To bring the immersive world of ‘House Macabre’ to life, an entire new space was constructed on the Porter Tun balcony using a temporary ceiling and walls. This area was specifically designed to recreate ‘Purgatory’, with the Brewery team highlighting to us how;
This space was designed to be ‘purgatory’ a tired old waiting room with bored receptionists interacting with guests.
In keeping with the non-traditional nature of their drinks reception area, no drinks were actually served by the Brewery team. Instead, guests had to search nearby cupboards for elusive beers and retrieve cocktails from water coolers.
When dinner was due to be served an actor arrived and announced the fate of the guests. The sense of suspense was heightened even further when guests were led towards their ‘fate’ through a secret hidden door. Upon entering ‘Purgatory’ each guest was presented with a Guide To The Afterlife within which the Brewery team had included;
A welcome to the afterlife, a questionnaire to establish which route their afterlife will take, the menu and details about the venue.
Welcome to the afterlife
The weird and wonderful world of ‘House Macabre’ was created by transforming The Porter Tun room into four separate dining spaces. Each of these eerie entertaining areas was intended to reflect a different room in the ‘House Macabre’ so they had been meticulously designed with distinctly different set builds, style influences and a key character actor hosting the guests.
The attention to detail extended to the table settings; with each space offering different crockery. In fact, the Nursery guests were eating off paper plates! The Bathroom, complete with its freaky contents, was another particularly frightening feature. Irrespective of the room in which they resided, each guest received a gift. From books with the pages cut out and small bottles of gin inside in the Library, to a box with a severed edible finger in the Bedroom, no guest was left empty-handed!
The Bedroom was our home for the afternoon. We were tasked with creating old and decayed boudoir-style table centres that would look as if they had been abandoned in the centre of each guest table. It is not often that we have to wait for our flowers to die before we can use them but it’s fair to say that this was a one-of-a-kind experience. October is the perfect time for muted colours, old dusty looking grasses combined with dried seed heads, and beige coloured blown open roses so with these style influences in mind we were able to create some beautifully decayed looking designs that were set onto old black doilies and covered in cobwebs.
The Brewery’s unforgettable ‘House Macabre’ event demonstrates how a powerful event theme can transform an ordinary space into an entirely new world. Immersive actors had been provided with scripts to help them interact with guests and fulfil their ghoulish roles. Unscripted extras were present to invoke unease and suspense. A live pianist provided haunting background music from a raised round stage in the centre of the room by playing macabre versions of popular songs.
All of these freaky finishing touches, combined with the space’s lighting, catering, floral event designs and set decorations, truly transformed the Porter Tun room into the ‘House Macabre’ and provided all who attended with an eerie experience that we will never forget!
With thanks to the phenomenal team at The Brewery. Images courtesy of The Brewery.