Good eeeeeveninnnng…. With the spectre of Halloween weekend now upon us, storefronts across town are chasing your party and costume dolla with revolting retail window displays of fiendish proportions. As we’ve done in years past, SFist vamped all over town to find the most gruesome specimens of window display wizardry.


Cliff’s Variety

Cliff’s Variety wins Halloween every year with their hair-raising hocus pocus, and they’re responsible for the ‘creepy clown babies and dog skeletons’ seen at the top of this article. But resident artist Franc Robles has really outdone himself this year with the oversize satanic Groot seen above, whose full body depicts dystopian Trump-era headlines that emphasize the real-world terror under which we now live every day. Cliff’s Variety has a total of three standout display windows, so be sure to Cliff ‘em all.
479 Castro Street between 17th Street and 18th Street

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Costumes on Haight
Costumes on Haight is an obligatory inclusion on this list, as they’ve been doing these Halloween displays for more than 20 years. The main window display features a princess morbidly dying in front of a mirror, but we featured this side-window featurette because oh my god, that puritan collar blouse with the coffins!
735 Haight between Pierce Street and Scott Street

Image: Scott L.

4170 17th Street
How much is that mutilated baby in window? While this Corona Heights residential bay window is not a storefront, SFist has long loved the Halloween decor efforts of Scott L. and his husband. This year’s offering is called Mr. Hook’s Daycare Gymboree, featuring severed baby limbs, a wall of nightmares, and a fish tank full of dead baby innards (One neighbor offered their live baby for Halloween night use, though Scott declined).

The dark-hearted duo do devilish displays every year. “We moved in on Halloween day in 2010,” Scott told SFist, explaining the tradition. Each year’s original display, which takes up a quarter of their living room, takes more than an year to plan and he’s already working on the 2018 version.

“At night, we turn our TV off and just listen to people as they pass. Sometimes they’re mortified. Last night somebody said, ‘I can’t believe the city hasn’t shut them down’,” Scott said. “I did a little girls’ princess birthday party one year where the killer was dressed like Raggedy Ann and slaughtered the little princess. Once we got through that, I was like ‘They’re not going to get upset about anything.”
4170 17th Street between Eureka Street and Douglass Street

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Phone Booth
Plenty of dive bars will just slap up some webbing and skeletons and consider themselves decorated for Halloween. But the Phone Booth’s attacking bats and murder of crows make their Halloween display the Halloweeniest. But if you think some other dive bar does it better, then the power of Christ compels you to mention them in the Comments section below!
1398 S. Van Ness Avenue between 24th Street and 25th Street

Image: Jean L. via Yelp

Clancy’s Pumpkin Patch
Clancy’s Pumpkin Patch is an annually recurring, pop-up outdoor pumpkin shop that gets carved out in the Forest Hill neighborhood every year around this time. The Victorian skeleton meetup above is just one of their many magnificent arrangements, all of which are super kid-friendly and not at all scary for the tykes.
1620 7th Avenue at Lawton Street and Warren Drive

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Fredericksen's Hardware & Paint
I can’t get my hear around how much I love the display every year at Fredericken’s Hardware & Paint. You don’t often see the lower half of a chainsawed-apart human body laying around in the Marina. But you do at Fredericksen’s Hardware, whose giant double picture window display depicts a panorama of brains, vultures and other fiendish fun.
3029 Fillmore Street between Union Street and Fillmore Street

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Twin Peaks Tavern
There’s some fresh, young meat at the entrance of the “gateway to the Castro,”. Two animated, illuminated witches guard the front door at Twin Peaks Tavern, to double double your toil and trouble. You little pretties ought to be scared, because these two sexy, hexy sorceresses spell trouble when they move about and cackle all night.
401 Castro Street between 17th Street and 18th Street

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Just for Fun
A Darth Maul leviathan keeps watch over Noe Valley greeting card and toy emporium Just for Fun, as the Sith lord joins the annual ghoulish toy train jubilee evermore displayed in their front windows. For 2017, Just for Fun added strings of Christmas garland decked out with orange lights and illuminated spiders to ensure that this year Christmas will be ours!
3982 24th Street between Sanchez Street and Noe St.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Borderlands Books
An insane asylum of impish little knickknacks mobs the front windows of Borderlands Books, which hopes to soon be reanimated in a new Haight Street location. The little curio of horrors sits alongside a humongous spider and seasonal books like Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel.
866 Valencia Street between 19th Street and 20th Street

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Idle Hand

Haight street tattoo parlor Idle Hand clearly had a beast with five fingers arrange their collection of medical gear, creepy old photos and bones both human and animal. And it’s a huge hit with the youngsters! “On Halloween, we have a lot of kids come in here,” an Idle Hand Tattoo artist told SFist “Future customers.”
575 Haight Street between Fillmore Street and Steiner Street

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

How cute is this Halloween-jiggered display at Jaliscan eatery Lolo, where they’ve simply placed skull masks on top of their little porcelain dog sculptures? It’s pretty cute, in the opinion of this San Francisco-centric blog. This is not the whole enchilada of Lolo’s Halloween displays, which also include boneyards worth of Dia de los Muertos-inspired skeletons and skulls.
974 Valencia between 20th Street and 21st Street

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Cottage Industry
That flying witch-spider hybrid kind of steals the show at window display at import boutique Cottage Industry. But if you look closely, you’ll also be horrified by the sight of spooky kabuki masks, silver skulls, witchy ornaments, and the terrifying reflection of this SFist reporter in the mirror.
2328 Fillmore Street between Clay Street and Washington Street

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Browser Books
Oodles of skeleton pirate boo-ty has washed up in the front window of Pac Height bookshop Browser Books, where Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology sits alongside spooky children’s classics like Five Little Pumpkins and Creepy Pair of Underwear.
2195 Fillmore Street between California Street and Sacramento Street

Related: The 13 Spookiest Halloween Storefronts In San Francisco 2015

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist