Helluva Halloween: Alternative Activities for Halloweekend

Josh Axelrod and Luo Qi Kong

While New Orleans is one of the most entertaining cities in the world in which to spend the spooktacular holiday of Halloween, it’s easy to get stuck in the cycle of costume parties, French Quarter parades and the BOOoot. Check out these off-the-beaten-path Halloweekend activities that will add some spice to the pumpkin spice latte that is Halloween.

If tickets to Voodoo Music + Arts Experience were too expensive, but you’re still looking for a quality music act, check out DJ Questlove. The frontman for The Roots, the in-house band for “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” is playing at 12:15 a.m. on Oct. 28 at Tipitina’s and tickets are $32.

The Grammy-winning percussionist is also a producer of “Hamilton” and has worked with Jay-Z, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer and John Legend. Questlove will be performing his DJ set at this unofficial Voodoo Fest after-party.

This year’s hottest voodoo-themed fest is coming to New Orleans, and it has nothing to do with Arcade Fire or The Weeknd. Voodoo Authentica, a well-known spiritual shop, is holding its own festival, intended to inform and spread cultural awareness, as well as celebrate the religion of voodoo on Halloween day.

The celebration will include a multitude of educational events taught by Haitian voodoo priestesses and priests, authors and musicians. Other attractions include book signings, spiritual consultations, African art, voodoo arts and crafts and free refreshments.

Attendees are encouraged to bring drums and participate in African Drumming 101, where they will learn about the African roots of rhythm. The day will close with an ancestral healing ritual.

Taking place from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Halloween day at 612 rue Dumaine in the French Quarter, the festival is free and open to the public.

For those interested in the LGBTQ+ community in New Orleans, Oct. 27-30 marks Halloween New Orleans. Prices range from $50 to $120 at the door, of the Contemporary Arts Center but proceeds go to Project Lazarus, which provides transitional housing for homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

With a theme of “Pirate’s Revenge: The Curse of Jean Lafitte,” the weekend begins with the Lazarus Ball and the Glo Neon Party. The main event with DJ Grind will include a costume contest and a stage parade, beginning at 10 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the CAC.

The Queen’s Tea will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 30 aboard The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen, finishing the weekend with a second line parade.

Sure to attract Halloween lovers intrigued by fright and gore is “Beyond the Haunted Puddle.” Created by street artist You Go Girl in collaboration with director Xavier Juarez and several other featured artists, it is a mixture between a haunted house and an experimental art exhibit.

Located at an art space housed in a revamped industrial warehouse known as PORT, the “immersive haunted experience” surrounds the true story of two children’s disappearance into a puddle in the 9th ward of New Orleans.

The house is built around the possible outcomes of this peculiar story without being a direct narrative, all the while including jump scares, bugs, blood and other charmingly nightmarish moments. Though it does not emulate the popular local haunted houses like The House of Shock or The Mortuary, its mystery and artistry make for a New Orleans Halloween different from any other.

The installation will continue with all-ages tours from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and adults-only tours from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. from Oct. 28 to 31. Tickets are $10 for children and $15 for adults.

Halloween in New Orleans doesn’t have to be restricted to Frenchmen St. and Voodoo Fest. Instead, it may be the perfect weekend to explore the variety the city has to offer, from an educational celebration of voodoo culture to an alternative haunted experience.

Either way, New Orleans won’t disappoint. Here’s to another safe and spooky Halloween.

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