No matter what time of year you visit New Orleans, you're sure to find some sort of extravagant event or party, but the Big Easy gets even wilder for Halloween each year. Put on your favorite costume and head on down to Bourbon Street, Frenchmen Street, and a variety of other local hotspots to find the biggest and best holiday events in the city. From music and art showcases to haunted hotels and cemetery tours, there are plenty of things to do for Halloween in New Orleans this year.
The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is a three-day music festival featuring some of the biggest names in rock, electronic, pop, and country music that takes place in New Orleans' City Park from October 25 to 27, 2019. It wouldn't be New Orleans if there wasn't great music on the scene, and there will be, with several main stages where a long list of performers including Guns N' Roses, Brandi Carlile, Interpol, Beck, Bassnectar, The National, Post Malone, Rezz, and The Glitch Mob. The festival will also feature several vendors in the marketplace where guests can do a little shopping for drinks, foods, and art. Tickets are available for one or all three days of the event and must be purchased in advance to attend.
New Orleans has several old cemeteries—nicknamed Cities of the Dead—that date back to the late 18th century. If you're looking for a way to learn a bit of history while spending time amongst the dead, taking a tour of one of these famous cemeteries like Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District is a great way to spend an afternoon in October. There are several sightseeing companies that offer tours through some of New Orlean's most famous cemeteries:
- Gray Line Tours offers a Cemetery and Voodoo Walking Tour which includes admission to St. Louis Cemetery #1, round-trip transportation, and an authentic souvenir Gris-Gris bag. During the tour, you'll visit the tomb of the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau.
- Riverbend Charters offers a private tour by car or limousine of the New Orleans City of the Dead, which educates guests about the Southern burial customs and the famous New Orleanians who once walked the cobblestone streets of the city.
- New Orleans Ghost Adventure Tour takes guests on a journey through the Garden District's Lafayette Cemetary #1. The two-hour walking tour features an in-depth look at the cemetery and a walk past numerous mansions that date back to the early 1800s.
The official New Orleans Halloween Parade since 2007, the Krewe of Boo Halloween Parade has scary, three-dimensional props and floats designed by the renowned Kern Studio. On Saturday, October 19, 2019, monsters rule the streets of the French Quarter starting at 6:30 p.m. The parade begins at Elysian Fields in the Marigny and goes down Canal Street to the National World War II Museum. Whether you decide to march in the parade or stand along the sidelines collecting goodies thrown from floats, you're sure to enjoy this huge event that almost rivals the size of Mardi Gras each year.
For the kids, there's Halloween fun every year at the Audubon Zoo. Benefitting the Children's Hospital of New Orleans and operations of the zoo itself, Boo at the Zoo features three days of weekend family fun at the zoo. On October 25, 26, and 27, 2019, the zoo cuts its regular hours short, and families with children under 12 can enjoy games, a haunted house, the ghost train, and, of course, trick-or-treating, all included in a $20 admission ticket.
The Gallier Historic House Museum on Royal Street in the French Quarter is fun to visit any time of the year to see how the Creoles lived in early New Orleans. If you stop by in October, though, you'll get a unique chance to see how the Creole dealt with death and mourning. On display all October long, the Creole Death and Mourning Exhibition features funeral clothing and mourning articles of the Victorian era. Book a tour through the exhibit from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays all month long starting on Thursday, October 3, 2019. The tours will explore the cultural significance of death in New Orleans and how people mourned in the Victorian era.
This family favorite takes place annually in late October in the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and includes music, face painting, trick-or-treating, rides, and a pumpkin patch. All proceeds go to maintain and improve the park, so you'll be helping this City of New Orleans landmark while you and your kids are having Halloween fun. Ghosts in the Oaks takes place from October 17 to 20, 2019, from 5 to 9 p.m., and tickets must be purchased in advance online, though children 3 and under don't need a ticket for admission.
A staple of the LGBTQ scene in New Orleans for over 35 years, Halloween New Orleans is the official queer Halloween party of the city. A fundraiser for Project Lazarus, an HIV/AIDS assisted living facility in the city, this three-day party takes place from Friday, October 25, through Sunday, October 27, 2019. The Lazarus Ball kicks off the event on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. for a black-tie optional affair that includes a silent auction, food, and music, but the big party is on Saturday. Known as The Main Event, HNO35, this costume-required dance party features a VIP lounge, a midnight cabaret show, and a costume contest for all attendees. On Sunday, unwind from the weekend at the Tea Dance on the Pier, which features food trucks, an open bar, and a unique setting on the New Orleans waterfront.
If you have always thought a masquerade ball would be loads of fun, the Endless Night Vampire Ball is the perfect opportunity to attend one yourself. Thanks to a strictly-enforced and themed dress code, you'll feel like you've stepped into another world. In 2019, the New Orleans Vampire Ball takes place on October 26 at the House of Blues. With a theme of Black Magick this year, you're sure to encounter all sorts of voodoo queens and dark magic wielders. Stick around until midnight for a special cirque performance featuring Father Sebastiaan. Tickets are required to attend this massive event and can be purchased in advance online for a discounted price.