By October, everyone in our Crescent City is ready for the heat to end, and with that comes the beginning of the holiday-filled final three months of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the obvious ones, but, for many people in and around New Orleans, Halloween is a big deal, perhaps even bigger than the other two. When does it begin though? For many it starts October 1st, when you can safely claim it's the fall season, even if the heat hasn't subsided enough for us to wear jackets.
Most days, horror movies become a big part of the celebration. Favorites such as The Shining fitting in side-by-side with movies that have more local flavor, such as Interview with a Vampire, among others. Horror films have played a big role in the celebration of All Hallows' Eve for a long time. For some, it's a revelry that's the biggest part of the month.
For others, it means traveling to Voodoo Fest. During this particular fest, some attendees feel the desire to don costumes for any and/or all of the days. Last year, there were many people who dressed up all for all three days to the festival.
While that's a tradition for many, the energy and excitement surrounding Halloween doesn't end with the music festival. If you go to the French Quarter, you'll find most residents have at least some kind of decorations up, ringing in the holiday in their own unique way. There are houses in the Quarter that have the giant spiders hanging from the rafters, along with a myriad of other decorations. This is just one way that the oldest part of the City that Care Forgot celebrates this holiday.
By Halloween weekend, the excitement is at fevered pitch. If you're lucky enough to have a great group of friends, this means gathering together to go out to celebrate Samhain. The Celts, who initially created this festival, believed this time of year, and the 31st of October specifically, was the time of year when the worlds of the living and dead were closest to each other.
The history behind the holiday is fascinating, but in New Orleans, it's a full party mode for most. There's a ton of parties everywhere and more costumes than you can keep track of. Full grown men dressed as women (which is markedly different from the Red Dress Run, any of the drag brunches throughout town, or the like), grotesque makeup that probably took hours to complete, and couples' costumes that adorn the bodies of the celebrators. In recent years Halloween has become more of an excuse to get scantily dressed, but that appears to be changing as our norms regarding society also change. It's easy to get lost in the energy, but that's the point.
If you're here for the celebration of All Souls Day, you're likely to see a city bursting with laughter and excitement. Beyond that, the prospect of feeling more connected to the ghosts of the past, who may or may not freely roam our dimension on that particular night, longing one more time for the material world, corporeal form, and, of course, Haloween in New Orleans. This is s something certain people just can't pass up.
So now that we are in the month of October, take the opportunity to walk out your dark house, into a moonlit night, hopefully with a cool breeze in the air, and experience one of the best times to be a resident of the Crescent City. This place, surrounded by a celebration as abundant as its history, is, perhaps, the best place to be for Halloween. Even if it's more brief than some of our other events and celebrations, one can expect a party that may even equal anything else that occurs in New Orleans-possibly even Mardi Gras. During this particulair holiday, you can make friends with a ghost, ghoul, or some other apparition, assuming that they aren't evil-some of them may just want to feel connected to the souls of the living. Who knows? Maybe one of them will even buy you a drink and tell you stories about Halloween in 1850 while surrounded by candlelight and visions of the future.