The story of Halloween New Orleans (HNO) is a story of the New Orleans gay community – one coming together to share their love and sense of family, celebrating its unique culture and love of showmanship, and coming to the aid of its own in the dark days of the AIDS crisis. It is a community triumphing over challenges with a resilient, joyful spirit.
What started as a dinner party given by a few people to honor friends and loved ones who died from AIDS has grown into a three-day event spanning the last weekend of October. Each year, HNO has a theme, and this year it’s HALLOWDAYS!
You better watch out, you better not cry because the HALLOWDAYS are coming. Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Cupid and their other holiday friends are tired of missing out on HNO. So this year they are coming back for revenge. This year’s events are taking place October 25-27.
Halloween New Orleans has raised almost $5 million for Project Lazarus, an assisted-living home for those with HIV/AIDS in New Orleans. All funds raised after expenses are donated to Project Lazarus.
Kick off the weekend on Friday, October 25th with The Lazarus Ball, held at The New Orleans Board of Trade from 7:30-10:30 p.m. The black tie-preferred event will feature an open bar, food, entertainment, and a silent auction. The auction will be filled with art, housewares, packages, and gift certificates of all types. Come see everyone dressed up before getting into the “Hallowdays” spirit.
On Saturday, October 26th shed the cocktail attire and slip on your most eye-catching costumes for this year’s main event: the “Hallowdays” themed dance party at The Fillmore – featuring costumes from all the holidays. Let your imaginations run wild for this year’s costume by putting a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time.
The event will feature an open bar and the music of DJ Ben Bakson and International DJ/Producer DJ Grind. Doors open at 10 p.m. and costumes are required. Guests go on stage as they arrive and parade their costumes for the crowd and judges. Awards include “Best Group”, “Best Individual”, “Best Stage Performance”, and more. The contest is hosted by Persana Shoulders and awards are given out at the Pier during the Sunday event. There will be a special midnight show and dancing until 3 a.m.
Cap off your weekend with Sunday’s Tea Dance beginning at 1 p.m. at Crescent Park (on the side of the park that backs up to the French Quarter). Dance away the afternoon as ships of all sizes pass on the Mississippi River. The covered outdoor venue will feature food trucks, vendor tables, and music by DJ Blacklow who always turns the party up. The improved VIP host lounge will have frozen drinks from Faubourg Bistro and VIP lounge seating. Dress is casual and some people do light costuming.
As the party ends around 6 p.m., paraders will march from the Tea Dance through the French Quarter ending at St. Ann and Bourbon streets. The second line features marching bands, dance troops, and more! Touted as a favorite event of the weekend, the second line through the Quarter is something you won’t want to miss.
If you’re a first-timer and enjoy a VIP experience, we’d recommend purchasing a Host Pass. It allows entry for one person to each event and includes 2 VIP wristbands for Saturday and Sunday (so you can bring a friend into VIP with you). There is also a regular Weekend Pass and individual event tickets available.
For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.halloweenneworleans.com.