Halloween in New Orleans?
March 20, 2013 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Apologies in advance for like my umpteenth Ask about New Orleans. But I have some Halloween-specific questions...

I have friends who do Mardi Gras every year, but I've never joined them because it all seems kind of scary and overwhelming. But what about Halloween? When I first started thinking about it (years ago, maybe even before Voodoo Fest) everyone said it was a much smaller, mostly locals event.

I'm looking for some first-hand info on what it's like these days though. I'm not interested in Voodoo fest itself, just seeing a parade and walking around in an awesome costume. Due to the cost of the hotels I'm seeing (that aren't already booked) we may make it a short trip...maybe arriving on Wednesday, October 30 and leaving on Saturday, November 2. Will most of the crazy be happening on the weekend?

We already know we're not fans of Bourbon St. itself, so we will (continue) to avoid it.

Any advice appreciated!
posted by JoanArkham to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
in '05 Frenchman Street in the Marigny was packed shoulder to shoulder. You probably want to go there.
posted by thylacine at 10:27 AM on March 20, 2013

We've gone, although not with Halloween being in the middle of the week.

We always try to hit the parade, and the year that we did Frenchman Street (maybe '09, or '10?) it was wall to wall people - you could barely move.

I seem to remember a lot of people in costume wandering around.
posted by needlegrrl at 10:48 AM on March 20, 2013

There aren't really any Halloween parades, but Halloween is definitely a big deal these days. The weekend before Halloween and the night of the 31st are comparable to Mardi Gras season in the Quarter/Marigny (though not the rest of the city). It's crowded and kind of crazy, and it can be intimidating if it's your first time. The center of the action is Frenchman St in the Marigny, and there are always amazing costumes!

Do you have local friends? The out-of-towners with a "guide" tend to enjoy it more than those without, I've found.
posted by a hat out of hell at 12:20 PM on March 20, 2013

"Packed shoulder to shoulder" sounds like some people's definition of "scary and overwhelming." Can you clarify the intent of your question "Will most of the crazy be happening on the weekend?" That is, are you looking for crazy, or to avoid crazy? From what my NO friends tell me, Halloween is just a notch below Mardi Gras, which might still be several notches above your tolerance.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:23 PM on March 20, 2013

I'm looking to avoid the crazy. Specifically, out of control and/or fighty drunks with a limited grasp of personal space. I went to the Village parade in NYC one year - anything like that is right out. I was kind of hoping for a smaller "Mardi Gras-type experience" which is how it was originally described to me many years ago. But that's when New Orleans was fighting for tourists, and I realize that's not really the case anymore.

I have some local family, but I'd hate to saddle my cousin with having the chaperone "the olds." :)
posted by JoanArkham at 12:55 PM on March 20, 2013

We went to New Orleans last year for the weekend before Halloween. It was fun, vibrant, active, but not the least bit Mardi Gras crazy. We went to Frenchman Street late on Saturday night, and then wandered just a few blocks in to the Quarter. There were tons of people out and about in costume, but definitely not shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. The traffic was a little crazy, but again, certainly not like Mardi Gras. I think it would be pretty close to what you're looking for.
posted by raisingsand at 4:15 PM on March 20, 2013

Halloween is very fun in New Orleans but not Mardi Gras crazy. (Although to be fair, if you do Mardi Gras right with locals and stay Uptown, it's manageable.) Frenchman is great, although you do have to be careful because it's not closed off to cars although it should be! People in New Orleans love dressing up so Halloween is a great holiday.

Also if you're into it, there is an awesome haunted house in Mid-City called The Mortuary, and the tour is really fun. The line is really long, so if you don't want to wait in it I recommend coughing up for the VIP pass or donating blood to get a free pass.
posted by radioamy at 7:19 PM on March 20, 2013

Halloween is great, and much smaller/less crazy than Mardi Gras. It's more local, and the tourists who do come in are generally not the drunk-frat-boy variety. Frenchmen St. get pretty packed after midnight, but it's like... 3 blocks of crowdedness. It's pretty easy to step out of it.
There's a little parade that goes through the French Quarter on Halloween night, and a lot of people wandering around in costume.
It's also a good time to take a tour, if you're into that--there are ghost tours year round, but they do some special events around Halloween. The weather is also nice, so you can plan on outdoorsy things, like visiting City Park or one of the gorgeous cemeteries.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 1:04 AM on March 23, 2013

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