Fun & Spooky Things to Do for Halloween in New Orleans
In the most haunted city in America, things go bump in the night all year-round, from the ghosts that haunt the historic cemeteries to the spirits that still reside at the notorious LaLaurie Mansion. But there is perhaps no time as spooky in New Orleans as Halloween season, when the whole city comes together dressed as vampires, goblins, and ghouls to participate in spine-chilling revelry and eerie ghost tours.
The list of things to do in New Orleans for Halloween is endless — from parades and parties to trick or treating and pumpkin carving contests, Halloween in New Orleans is second only to Mardi Gras in seasonal festivities and dazzling events. The holiday draws thousands of visitors and locals to the streets of the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and beyond for spooky Halloween fun and activities.
New Orleans Halloween Events
New Orleans’ annual Halloween parades, festivals, and events are time-honored October traditions among locals and visitors. While some of these events have been postponed or cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, you can always count on them to be back next year! Stay tuned for the 2021 lineups and keep reading for safe ways to celebrate Halloween in New Orleans this year.
Krewe of Boo
Krewe of Boo is New Orleans’ official Halloween parade complete with full-size floats, marching bands, ornate paper mache decorations, and realistic costumes. Expect to see gangly skeletons, ghostly figures on horseback, voodoo queens, and other eerie creatures dancing through the streets of the French Quarter.
Presented by Krewe of Boo, the Zombie Run is another annual event that puts NOLA residents and visitors in the Halloween spirit — zombie style! Participants must don their biohazard gear and run their fastest to escape the gruesome zombie apocalypse! This two-mile run usually takes place on the Saturday morning the week before Halloween in the Warehouse District.
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience celebrates all things voodoo and has been a staple of the Halloween season in New Orleans for decades. Dance to the music of incredible performers under the staggering oak trees at City Park. The lineup is always impressive, with bands like Pearl Jam and Metallica performing in past years. You can also enjoy interactive art exhibits and delicious food.
Frenchmen Street Party
The heart of the Halloween action happens on Frenchmen Street, where a massive street party starts early and continues through the night. It’s a great way to see some truly clever and hilarious costumes. Plus, you can always duck into bars to grab a bite or cocktail and keep the fun going all night long.
COVID-Safe Halloween Events in New Orleans
If you can’t stand the thought of missing your favorite Halloween events this year, rest assured there are plenty of COVID-safe, socially distant things to do for Halloween in New Orleans. Check out a few of our favorites.
Ghost in the Oaks: A Haunting at Home
While Ghost in the Oaks usually takes place at City Park with carnival rides, crafts, and trick or treating, this year the event will be held virtually so families can participate from the comfort and safety of their homes. This spooktacular experience includes a party package with candy, a baking kit, a paranormal Spotify playlist, virtual fun runs, seasonal activities, party planning tips to host a Haunting at Home, and other goodies.
Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without haunted houses, and this year the city’s spookiest haunts are taking extra precautions to make sure their activities are as safe as possible. Various haunted houses in New Orleans are only allowing private groups, requiring groups to select a time slot online to avoid long lines, performing temperature checks, and requiring face masks. Here are a few of the haunted houses offering socially distant scares this year.
- New Orleans Nightmare
- The Mortuary Haunted Mansion
- The 13th Gate
- Ranch of Horror
- Terror on the Coast
- And more!
Peek-a-Boo at the Zoo
Peek-a-Boo at the Zoo is a family favorite event taking place at New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo during the day for a social-distancing-friendly experience. Guests are invited to wear their Halloween costumes, visit their favorite animals, and enjoy festive fall treats, candy, a mystery maze, and scare-yard. Kids can also grab a trick or treat bag packed with sweets, snacks, and a face mask.
Cemetery & Haunted Tours
Some of the best things to do for Halloween in New Orleans are cemetery and ghost tours, and New Orleans Activities has many options to show you the darker side of the city. Experience 300 years of history of voodoo legends, bloody battles, natural disasters, and bar brawls, and feel the presence of the spirits behind the city’s most infamous events.
Tour St. Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans’ oldest continuously operated Catholic cemetery, home to the tombs of Civil Rights activists, voodoo queen Marie Laveau, and other famous New Orleans residents of the past. Learn the stories of NOLA’s most twisted criminals, like Madame Lalaurie, who tortured and murdered slaves in her home, and the New Orleans Axeman, a serial killer who attacked his victims with an axe.
As you can see, New Orleans has its own unique take on Halloween. If you’ll be in the city for this holiday, you’re in for some ghoulish good times and frightening fun!