deadly grounds coffee

This horror-themed cafe in Ontario makes for a spooky Halloween road trip

If you're looking for a Halloween road trip idea, there's a creepy horror-themed cafe just outside of Toronto that will scare the pants off you.

Deadly Grounds is located in Courtice about 45 minutes east of Toronto, and has all the horror of Halloween year-round, with themed drinks, baked goods, decor, art and products.

You can get skull muffins as well as pepperoni pizza skull-shaped "skullzones." Right now, they're serving a "Pumpkin Head Cold Brew" (pumpkin cold brew with pumpkin cold foam) as well as the "Sinister Bun" (a brown sugar cinnamon latte). Picture sipping one sitting next to a scary clown jack-in-the-box.

Specialty lattes that start at $4.10 include the "Peanut Blooder" (a peanut butter mocha with whip, Skor bits and red drizzle) and the "Eleven" (maple pancake flavour with whip and maple syrup).

There are also specialty teas for the same price like the Creature from the Blue Lagoon green tea with cupcake flavour and the Dammit Janet pumpkin vanilla tea latte.

The cafe offers more than 30 roasts and flavours of signature coffee and loose leaf teas, and a "coffee coffin" is stocked with beans. Roasts have names like Never Sleep Again, Wasteland, Hell's Fury, Dark & Deadly, Toxic Toffee, Witches Brew and Haunted House.

They've also got tombstone cakes, latte art that looks like bats and Satanic stars, witchy candles and bath bombs shaped like skeletons or mummies. There are even retro video games you can play.

"While the cafe is busy daily, our busiest times are Saturday and Sunday, and that's when we get visitors from all over," Deadly Grounds "chief caffeinating officer" Brad Mavin tells blogTO.

"Dozens of people on the weekends come from Toronto, and it is nothing for someone to say, 'We just took a drive down from London to check this place out.'"

While horror is one of Mavin's favourite things and he's created an online "Caffeinated Horror Dude" persona for himself, it was actually his friend Tom Lialios who came up with the idea for Deadly Grounds, which first started in the US.

"I met him at a convention in Syracuse one year. I told him that I had to bring this to Canada, and that's what I did," says Mavin. "We started roasting our own coffee here, and basically all we share with the US now is the name of the company."

The US Deadly Grounds now provides to stores, does conventions and sells online, and the Canadian Deadly Grounds does all that as well as operating their brick-and-mortar cafe which has been open for almost four years.

"We opened the cafe after two years of working conventions and selling online," says Mavin.

"We were running out of space and figured, why not open a cafe where the front people can enjoy, and in the back we have our warehouse and shipping.  Deadly Grounds was a no-brainer for me, it combines my two favourite things, coffee and horror."

This past year they partnered with retro horror and Halloween store Superzooka to open a store within a store called The Odditorium where you can snag props, mugs, tees and masks.

The fun at Deadly Grounds doesn't die down at all after Halloween ends, either. They'll also be partnering with Superzooka in December for Krampusnacht, where you'll be able to get your picture taken with Zombie Santa and Krampus.

Lead photo by

Deadly Grounds


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