New Orleans already has a spooky and paranormal reputation that precedes it due to the city’s unique history. This history has influenced many books, movies, and legends that have used the city as a setting to create a mysterious world. On Halloween, a holiday already filled with fun and spookiness, the city comes alive with spooky ways to celebrate Halloween.
It can’t be Halloween without dressing up! Costuming is almost mandatory on Halloween. There are many options if you didn’t bring a costume with you. Start by checking out one of the city’s many costume shops.
One costume worth starting at is Nikki’s French Quarter Halloween store which has a variety of costumes and decorations. They’re located at 107 Chartres Street, Suite B, and open 8 am – 2 am daily. This place is excellent if you want some decorations or costumes, especially last-minute ones. Another shop to check out for costumes, especially period costumes, is Miss Claudia’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes. They’re located at 4204 Magazine Street. They’re closed Tuesday, but they are open Monday, and Wednesday through Friday from 11 am – 6 pm. On Saturday, they are open 10 am – 6 pm and 12 pm – 5 pm on Sundays. If you are up to the challenge of creating your own costumes, especially with materials themed around Mardi Gras, you can visit Broadway Bound Costume, Inc., located at 2737 Canal Street, for supplies. They’re open daily from 10 am – 5 pm. You’re bound to find something to suit your fancy.
If you’re not into wearing a full-fledged costume, sometimes a cool mask is all you need! Traditionally, masks are worn during Carnival. Masks allow people wearing them to become different characters! Many shops still sell these masks that can also be worn during Halloween. One place is Maskarade, which is found at 630 St. Anne’s Street. This shop has a wide variety of handmade masks and Carnival-inspired masks suiting many occasions. In addition to being open Thursday through Monday from 10 am – 5 pm, you can also shop online with them. Another place to visit is Mask Gallery, located on 841 Royal Street; they’re open daily from 10 am – 5 pm. This shop offers everything from handmade masks to imported Venetian masks, so there’s something for everybody!
Maybe a mask isn’t your style, and you want to keep it even simpler! Sometimes changing your hair is what it takes! But who has time to set up an appointment or commit to a significant style change? You can wear a wig! Fifi Mahoney’s (located in the French Quarter and Bywater) has an eclectic collection of wigs and makeup. They also have salons to make appointments! Visit their Facebook page for the latest hours! Wigs are a great way to change your look, and we can’t get enough of Fifi Mahony’s in the Quarter!
Dressing up is only part of the fun things to do during Halloween. The other part is celebrating it. Halloween brings the city to life, and there are numerous spooky things to do and ways to celebrate.
One thing to do is, of course, party! You can take your newly acquired costume and venture down Frenchman Street or St. Claude Corridor. These places are relatively close together, so you can easily hop between these events. Between Royal and Decatur Streets, you’ll find that Frenchman Street typically hosts one of the largest Halloween parties in the country! Things really take off after 10 pm down on the St. Claude Corridor. You could visit places like the Hi Ho Lounge and Cafe Istanbul for music, food, and drinks. Spend Halloween bar hopping between the many establishments and enjoy the festivities. If you’re interested in learning more about the music scene in New Orleans, you can check out the guide on where to find live music in the city.
Maybe partying isn’t your thing. No fear! There’s still a lot to do. One thing to consider is seeing the classic film Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Prytania Theater. The experience is one to be remembered, and there are two showings on Halloween night. People will often dress up and line up before the show. It is a fun time to be had for all. For a family-friendly event, an event called the Boo Carre’ in the French Market is fun for all ages. This event will be held on October 15th this year. You can visit their site for more information.
With Halloween, haunted houses also come to mind. One place worth checking out is The Mortuary, found on Canal Street. It is located in a historic 1872 Victorian mansion surrounded by the famous Cities of the Dead. They offer a self-guided tour that will turn into any Halloween fun. Check out their website for more information. Another fun place to visit is New Orleans Nightmare, which has various attractions and even escape games. Visit their Know Before You Go Page and information about tickets and times. Instead of visiting a haunted house, maybe you’re brave enough to spend the night in a haunted hotel. The Haunted Hotel is located at 623 Ursuline Street. This hotel was built in 1829, and it’s rumored to be home to various murders over the past two centuries. If you’re brave enough to try and stay a night, you can book a stay here.
While you’re checking out the haunted houses, visiting the numerous city cemeteries is something else to do. Leading up to Halloween, consider visiting the Gallier House for an exhibit about death and mourning during the Victorian period to understand how it was a part of 19th-century life. Then, you can take a cemetery tour. New Orleans’s Cities of the Dead are just as unique as their city due to their lavish opulence. Many companies offer cemetery tours, but why not schedule a FREE one with Nola Tour Guy? You’ll have the opportunity to visit Bayou St. John, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and St. Louis Cemetery #3, which has some of the best examples of cemetery architecture. The tour is offered every day at 3 pm and a special one on Halloween day at 1pm, so make sure you register. The real history is a lot creepier than the stories made up on ghost tours.
If you stick around until after Halloween, All Saints Day (also known as All Souls Day) is worth checking out. All Saints Day is a Catholic tradition dating back to the 4th century where people would hold feasts for Christian martyrs. Due to the French and Spanish colonial influences, the Catholic tradition can be felt in all aspects of the city. All Saints Day eventually became The Day of the Dead (which falls on the day after Halloween) in the city. In New Orleans and other places like Mexico, family members visit their deceased relatives throughout the city’s cemeteries. Numerous events, parades, and activities are going on during this time. If you decide to visit and participate in these activities, be respectful. Krewe De Mayahuel, has since 2018, organized a Day of the Dead parade. You can find our more on their Facebook page
There are plenty of other things and activities leading up to Halloween. The Krewe of Boo is New Orlean’s official Halloween Parade. Parades and second lines are a huge aspect of New Orleans, so why not celebrate Halloween with one? The parade has been going strong since 2007 and follows a route through the French Quarter. In addition to the parade, the other associated events are fun for all ages. Visit their website for more information; the parade kicks off on October 22nd at 6:30 pm this year.
There are also plenty of haunted attractions to visit that represent the spirit of Halloween year around. One attraction is The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, located at 514 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. They’re open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm year around. This place is a great way to learn about medicine and see what medicine was like during the 19th century. It’s nothing like today. Another spooky place worth visiting is The Museum of Death, located at 227 Dauphine Street. Not for the faint of heart, as the museum has a lot of mature subject matter. There are displays on the various aspects of death, a Theater of Death, crime scene photos, and exhibits on cannibalism, to name a few. They’re open five days a week, Thursday through Monday, 10 am – 6 pm; check their website for the latest information. Lastly, for something a little lighter, consider visiting JAMNOLA, a pop-up exhibit that has 12 sections giving various perspectives about the city from local artists. Check the website for the latest information.
If you want to consider an activity that is a bit cheaper and fun for all ages, you should check out the spooky decorations and displays decorating homes throughout the city. One of the most famous houses is known as the Skeleton House, located on St. Charles Street. The owners of this home will create elaborate displays complete, with yes, skeletons. It’s different every year and worth the visit. Another family-friendly activity is Boo at the Zoo. Located at the Audubon Zoo, this three day allows visitors to dress up, have some Halloween fun, and see the different animals that call that zoo home. This year’s event starts on October 21st and goes through October 23rd from 10 am – 5 pm; visit the website for more information.
Another fun group activity to do is a ghost tour. ghost tours usually have the best experiences. But why rush through a tour, deal with people, and pay money for something you could do for free? Nola Tour Guy has four self-guided tours that you can do, including one for St. Louis #3 Cemetery. and one of The Ghosts of The French Quarter
Read more about thebest haunted places in New Orleans like the world famous Lalaurie mansion.
There are numerous things to do and explore in New Orleans during Halloween and the days leading up to the holiday. New Orleans is more than just a party city. You can see why it’s a great place to celebrate Halloween with its history and numerous spooky things to do. There’s something for everyone. On Halloween Day, Nola Tour Guy has a unique 1 pm cemetery tour where it’s “pay what you feel like” to get you into the holiday spirit.