Albuquerque restaurant transforms into Halloween attraction

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a popular local attraction for Halloween, but it’s not what you might think at first glance.

Walking through it, it looks like you’ve stepped into a haunted house.

But it’s not just turning heads for people interested in a good Halloween scare.

“The food’s good too,” said Shelley Epstein, a customer at Cervantes Restaurant and Lounge on Gibson and San Pedro.

The place gets some extra visitors this time of year.

“I don’t go out to eat all the time, so why come here tonight? I knew Halloween decorations would be up,” Epstein said.

“They go all out. It’s just amazing,” said Susan Liess.

The decorations started going up two weeks ago. The first thing they did is cover all the walls.

“There’s a lot of walls!” said General Manager Iris Metzgar.

She said, from the eerie images to the hanging heads, she put all the decorations up with the help of one other worker.

“His name is Alex. He’s probably the only one that can put up with my insanity,” Metzgar said, laughing.

The restaurant has been decorating each Halloween for at least 16 years.

“For the customers, for one and for me because I love Halloween,” she said.

Each year, she picks a new theme. This time it is the Day of the Dead.

On at least one occasion, it’s been a little too spooky.

“The kids screaming? Yes, a little girl. It was awful,” Metzgar said.

But for many, it’s a haunting attraction to capture snap shots of some Halloween fun.

“We have many pictures taken with our dead uncle here,” said Server Sue Lunsford, referring to the “man” in the coffin that greets customers at the entrance.

It makes for a lively dining experience.

Over the years, the restaurant has learned a thing or two about decorating. One important lesson: People do not like clowns.

They say next year they will go with a Gothic theme. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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