Halloween in New Orleans: Not Just Child’s Play

Photo by David Martin

In New Orleans, Halloween is more than trick or treating

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Most people see Halloween as children begging for candy door to door dressed up as cartoon characters. Come to New Orleans and experience a whole different side of Halloween.

New Orleans is The City That Care Forgot, and New Orleanians are The People Who Forgot to Grow Up. Here many have worked all year (or at least since Mardi Gras) on their Halloween costumes, house decorations and their plans for the week.  And yes, just like Christmas, Halloween is a season here, not just a day.

Even if you haven’t worked all year on a costume, you still want to represent. To do that head to Uptown Costume or Funky Monkey, both on Magazine Street, and get yourself outfitted. Depending on your plans you may want more than one ensemble. After all, who wants to be seen repeating themselves?

Halloween Events and Activities in New Orleans

The Voodoo Music and Arts Experience comes to New Orleans each year the weekend closest to Halloween. More than just a music festival, Voodoo includes three days with over 65 bands on 4 stages, large scale art installations, incomparable food and drink, amusement rides and even a haunted house. This is the first event where those costumes would come in handy. You will see some impressive ones here.

The weekend also brings Halloween New Orleans. Largely a LGBTQ event, everyone is welcome to join in the fun. All proceeds go to Project Lazarus which provides services to people with HIV/AIDS. While there are events on Friday and Sunday the big day is Saturday with the Sideshow. Costumes are required and you want to bring your A game, as all guests are asked to parade across a stage to be critiqued by judges and audience alike.

Check the Prytania theatre for their annual Halloween showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The showing of this cult classic includes the traditional shadow cast acting out the movie alongside it. Expect lots of audience participation. You can buy a prop kit there to add to the fun, but put on some fishnets or a bustier so you can blend in.

If you’re looking for something spookier, try the Mortuary. Built in a former morgue, the building is known to have real ghosts. During the Halloween season it is also home to the scariest haunted house in town. Special effects and theatrical sets are installed to complement the existing spirits. This attraction is not kid friendly nor is it for the faint of heart.

The day after Halloween is a special day in the Catholic calendar. All Saints Day is a time for honoring the departed by visiting the graves of your loved ones. New Orleans was founded by Catholics, and this custom remains an important part of our culture. Finish your New Orleans Halloween experience with a visit to St Louis Cemetery #1 led by Two Chicks Walking Tour to be a part of this beautiful tradition.

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