Updated: October 2016
In the coming weeks, people across the U.S. will be doing typical Halloween activities like pumpkin picking and hay rides, costume parties, haunted house attractions, etc. But here in New Orleans, things are FAR from typical. With a flair for the macabre and a close connection to the spirit world, NOLA is a city that celebrates the haunted, the spooky, the mysterious all year long. That’s why there’s just no better place to visit this time of year!
Here are just a few uniquely New Orleans ways to celebrate Halloween:
In October 1866, James Gallier, Sr. and his wife drowned at sea aboard a sunken steamship. Their family home, Gallier House, is a historic Federal mansion in the French Quarter of New Orleans. A fascinating tour any time of year, the home takes a dark turn every October to commemorate the funeral and mourning of the Galliers’ tragic deaths, depicting Victorian-era customs of grief reflected in the somber clothing, home decor and even children’s toys. With rooms in the house draped in black, tours will focus on the many “rules and regulations” of death and mourning in the 19th century. Throughout October.
- For a more in-depth look at Victorian mourning customs, attend a lecture at Gallier house: “Artistry of Death: The Cult of Mourning in the Nineteenth-Century South” on Oct 26th. The lecture is free, but reservations are recommended. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. More info.
2. Purchase a “Spell Kit” at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo
Named for the 18th century Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau’s has what you need to cast a spell, perform a seance ritual or beckon the spirit world. The store offers a great selection of Voodoo Dolls, Skeleton Keys, various animal bones and claws and much more. Even if you’re not looking to cast any spells, it’s a very intriguing (and somewhat creepy) store to browse through, whether in October or any other time of year.
Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo
3. Prepare to be Scared on the Ghost Tour of the French Quarter
With so many haunted sites, cemeteries and ghost tours in and around NOLA, which one do you choose? Depends whether you want to get REALLY scared or not. If you’re after the real deal, sign up for the New Orleans Ghost Tour of the French Quarter. Visit sites with actual, documented paranormal activity. 90% of tour participants capture spirits in their photographs! This tour is offered year-round but it’s a perfect addition to your New Orleans Halloween revelry! The company also offers several other spooky, creepy tours focused on Voodoo and Withcraft Rituals, Vampires, or Cemeteries.
Tour Details and Reservations.
4. Experience the Terror of Crazed Clowns and Wicked Freaks at the House of Shock
To call it a haunted house doesn’t even capture the horror and fear you’ll feel within the House of Shock. Located just outside of NOLA in Jefferson, it’s been called “Most Intense Haunted Attraction” in the U.S. by the Travel Channel. With a nod to New Orleans’ own dark history, House of Shock features multiple attractions, including The Bordello of Freaks (an old-school freak exhibition) and Laff in the Dark, a 3-D onslaught of savage clowns. Round out your night with a pyrotechnics show, live music and full-service bar and menu at Hell’s Kitchen. Weekends through October 31.
5. Get Bitten at the 28th Annual Vampire Ball
October 28th — Midnight in the Savage Garden of Blood and Evil Ball. Hosted by the Vampire Lestat Fan Club, a group that pays homage to author Anne Rice and other writers of the horror/supernatural genre. If you’re a fan of the “undead” in general or Anne Rice specifically, you’ll want to join the mayhem. Entertainment by suitably-named acts like “Skinz and Bonez”and “Pandora Black”. October 28th.
Vampire Ball Tickets and Info
6. Go on a Haunted Pub Crawl with Bloody Mary
Throughout history, the local pub has been a place where nefarious plans have been laid and scandalous deeds, fueled by whiskey and beer, have been carried out. Do the spirits of murdered pirates, politicians and prostitutes still inhabit the pubs where they died? Bloody Mary takes you on this fascinating walk through some of New Orleans’ legendary pubs. Don’t think of this as a bar-hopping, drinking pub crawl. It’s a history tour with a paranormal twist. Having said that, a few cocktails may be served (at extra cost) so guests must be 21+.
Tour Details and Reservations
…and speaking of Bloody Marys: It’s typically thought of as a brunch drink, but the name is just so perfect for Halloween imbibing. If you enjoy that mixture of tomato juice, vodka and hot sauce, here are a few of the best places in New Orleans to get a “killer” Bloody Mary (from Eater.com).
• Cafe Atchafalaya – Their garnish-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar lets you build a meal in a glass. Plenty of creative add-ins you’d never expect make for a unique experience.
• Dante’s Kitchen – Everything’s better with bacon, including Dante’s special bacon-infused Bloody Mary.
• Cafe Adelaide – Try the perfectly-spicy secret recipe, garnished with okra, green beans and olives.
Read the entire article “New Orleans 10 Killer Bloody Marys to Drink Now”
October 22-23rd in Houma — Anyone who’s Louisiana born and bred knows someone who knows someone who has actually seen the Rougarou, the legendary, half-human, half-wolf swamp creature. The Rougarou Fest is a family-friendly festival with a spooky flair that celebrates the rich folklore that exists along the bayous of Southeast Louisiana. Expect great music, a costume contest, a parade, charity run and much more. Proceeds go to a great cause: South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center.
More info on the Rougarou Fest