New Orleans comes to life even more so than on regular days when September comes to an end, and is one of the best places to celebrate Halloween. Houses are colorfully lit and some, like the Berger Residence, are famously decorated each year, while haunted house creek open their doors. The ambiance along the French Quarter is enough to draw spooky spectators, but the calendar of bone chilling excitements, from parades to haunted funeral homes, intrigues the festive spirit in us all. Check out these top Halloween events in New Orleans.
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Krewe of Boo
Krewe of Boo is an annual Halloween parade in New Orleans—the official one. It takes place later in October and has an artistic allure unlike any other parades in the nation. Paper mache and other interestingly adorned floats are constructed by the creative minds of Kern Studios. Towering skeletons, ghostly horseman, and wildly accessorized beauties march through the heart of the city while tossing out eco-friendly dolls, beads and candies. Other associated events, like a royal luncheon, precede or follow closely behind the actual parade.
The Zombie Run is affiliated with Krewe of Boo, and is a two-mile escape of makeup covered zombies and Walking Dead style characters stomping their way through the Warehouse District. The race takes place in the morning rather than the evening. It’s total mayhem, it’s festive, and it’s so much fun.
Ghost in the Oaks
Ghost in the Oaks takes place in New Orleans City Park and is something that the whole family can do. Monsters won’t be jumping out from behind trees, just touches of light-hearted decor here and there sets the environment. Unlimited carnival-style rides, crafts, trick or treating and music are just a few of the listed perks to attending. Ticket proceeds go straight back to improving the park.
1850 House Ghostly Galavant
The 1850 House is one of the city’s phenomenal museums. Particularly focusing on the prosperity New Orleans experienced in the mid 19th century, the home is filled with memorabilia and other visuals to take guests back to that time. A haunted tour departs from the house, and heads toward French Quarter, on special days near the end of October. Expect undead characters and an overall fun environment. Get there early to ensure ample time to explore the house.
Scout Island Scream Park
Scout Island Scream Park is a pretty spectacular, roughly one-month festival that celebrates all things Halloween. Families can bring the kids during the weekend days, for carnival rides, food, and a “no scare” kid zone with bounce houses and other fun attractions. At night, everything goes full-blown horror, with incredible effects turning your everyday Joe’s into unfathomable creatures. It’s a cool mash-up of two beloved fall activities —haunted houses and fairs.
The Mortuary regularly offers ghost tours through the year, because it was actually a funeral home back in the day, and is naturally thought to be quite haunted. During October, they amp up the freaky factor by going “all-out” haunted house. Touted for its Hollywood quality, the animatronics, makeup and sets are sure to get your heart pumping.
New Orleans Nightmare
Experience complete and total darkness at New Orleans Nightmare on Butterworth Street, a popular haunted house that’s run from September through the beginning of November. Creepy zombies will loom over as you walk by, blood-curdling clowns scurry about, and nightmares come alive. It’s an excellent place to get into the Halloween mood.
Audubon Nature Institute Crawloween
No, this isn’t a bar crawl, it’s literally an event at the Audubon Nature Institute, to explore “infestivities”, also known as maggots, roaches, spiders and scorpions. You know, all our favorites. It’s actually a cool event where bug myths are debunked and guests get to munch on themed snacks. Kids get to trick or treat for “buggy” goodies. Crawloween may not be your typical event, but it’s strangely refreshing.
Hermann-Grima House Mourning Tour
Hermann-Grima House Mourning Tour is also known as the Creole Death and Mourning Tour, and it tips a little on the morbid side, as it explores the rituals that New Orleans folks would go through, after losing someone in the 19th century. Despite the sad origins, it’s an educational history exhibit that you might be able to trick your teen into participating in. It’s important to understand the customs and cultures of the past, and this tour is exclusively held in October.
Boo at the Zoo
Because kids need to have fun too, without having their nights riddled with nightmares for weeks to come, there’s Boo at the Zoo. Not really unique to any city, zoos do a great job of providing a safe, interactive experience for families. The right amount of spooky exudes from New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo, and plenty of activities will keep the kids happy. Bonus—there will be trick or treating.
Jim Monaghan's Annual Halloween Parade
Jim Monaghan’s Annual Halloween Parade takes place on Halloween, serving as the perfect climax to all the events in New Orleans. People can purchase tickets from Molly’s at the Market to actually be on a float. You’ll get fun stuff to toss out to guests—it’s surprisingly immersive. However, you can just put on your best costume and come to spectate. Everyone is dressed in a crazy awesome get up, adding to the big grand finale of all October celebrations in the city.