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Even freakier than usual: Berlin Halloween 2016

Things go bump in the night on any given Berlin weekend, but you can't beat Halloween for that added bit of spooky frisson. From gays to ghouls to pumpkin carving in Dahlem, here's what to do and where to go.

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David Vendryes

Eat Lipstick. Photo by David Vendryes

Since October 31 falls on a Monday this year, Berlin’s offering four full days of frights. Get your costume sorted* and join the party…

On Friday, start this ghoulish, evil holiday right: Get Fucked! A special Halloween edition of Cafe Engels’ weekly drag party hosted by Olympia Bukkakis promises something “gross and aggressive” at Engels Bar in Neukölln this week. Whether you’ve donned your best slutty witch get up or are too damn lazy to get fashionably creepy, you’re welcome to grace the dance floor. Guest performers are Mark Mauriello and Get Fucked favourite Ash Traylia. Oct 28, 22:00, Cafe Engels, Neukölln

Saturday boasts an embarrassment of Halloween riches, many of which will ask you to fork over extra cash if you’re not suitably costumed. Dress up and pay only €8 (instead of €10) for burlesque troupe Heroine Artists’ Halloween Heroines party at Bassy, featuring a live performance by Berlin-based rock-punk-glam band Eat Lipstick. After the band, show your costume off on the dance floor with the best of rock, punk, electro and new wave dished out by DJ The Shredder and Damon Zurawski. Oct 29, 21:00, Bassy, Prenzlauer Berg

If indie and irony are your thing, The Chop’s Halloween Cover Band Show should be your top pick. Six local bands take the stage to cover (and dress up as) the classics: Trucks will dance in the dark as Bruce Springsteen and Tendre Biche will take you under their umbrella as Rihanna. There’ll be dancing before, after and in between sets, and costumed guests will receive a free shot! Oct 29 12:00, Marie Antoinette, Mitte

For the buzziest event in town, head to Kino International. The atmospheric Commie cinema is hosting a Halloween celebration called Horror, Art & Club, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The lineup includes Daniel Jaeger, David Roeglin and Sauchelli, and if you need a dance break from the four floors blasting house, pop, hip-hop and techno, you can visit the “Dark Room Walk” or view the horror-themed art exhibition and live artist performances. Buy your tickets in advance as there are only a limited number left at €12. Oct 29 23:00, Kino International, Mitte

If location is key, then hit up the Horror Warehouse party in the basement of a former freight depot in Moabit. The horror-themed venue boasts a bunker-style setting with tunnels, vaults and an underground labyrinth of corridors. But if you start to feel claustrophobic, there’s also a huge outdoor garden to get some fresh air. The party will continue until noon the following day featuring Umami (Katermukke), Karel Nine and Liam Lindberg as part of the lineup. They’re taking costumes seriously: you won’t get in without one. So take the time to get your freak on, but arrive early since tickets are only sold at the door. Oct 29, 23:00, ZK/U, Moabit

If the above is all too adult for you, wait until Sunday afternoon, when the Berlin Botanical Gardens host a Halloween programme with a never-ending list of not-so-scary activities for the whole family. Pumpkin carving, costume competition, a “magic plant laboratory,” eyeball races, pumpkin bocce, an indoor horror forest… it goes on. The afternoon of family-friendly horror concludes with a horror-themed concert by Rumpelstil. Oct 30, 11-18, Botanical Gardens, Dahlem

Finally, if you take Halloween seriously and are hellbent on celebrating on the actual day (and for a good cause!), check out the Halloween Soli Party at Lohmühle near Görlitzer Park. This event raises funds for CRIBS International, a small feminist project working to provide safe and sanitary accommodation to Greek refugees, especially pregnant women and mothers. The party will have live music, DJs, spooky cocktails, “fire” and dressing up is encouraged. Nothing specific has been announced yet, so check Facebook for further updates. Oct 31, 17:00, Wagenburg Lohmühle, Treptow

*If you need help in that department, local start-up ArtNight is organising Halloween make-up workshops (fake blood, latex, the works) in Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg and Prenzlauer Berg on Friday and Saturday nights; see their website for details.