Halloween is my favorite holiday, but I've always found it diffi cult to contain the celebration to just one night. Luckily, other people feel that way too, and have scheduled numerous Halloween-related events throughout the month in honor of the scariest holiday of the year. And here's just some things to check out to get you in a spooky mood.
Of course, burlesque shows happen year-round, but in October, they always take a dark turn; all of the companies do Halloweenthemed shows. For instance, the popular burlesque dancer Bella Blue goes all out for her Halloween shows, even dousing herself in blood during a Fleur de Tease performance. Bella promises that her Dirty Dime Peepshow, appearing two nights at midnight on Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 at The Allways Lounge on St. Claude Avenue, will be frightening and sultry. She claims, "Peepshow is known as the most outlandish burlesque show in New Orleans that breaks all the rules. The audience is typically grossed out, offended, and turn on all at the same time."
The monster rock band GWAR is a perfect show to see for the holiday, and they're playing at the House of Blues on Wednesday, Oct. 24. This band has been infamous for the past few decades for having shows with lots of spewing blood and other juices that fl y through the audience, soaking them to the bone. Every member of the band is dressed head-to-toe in monstrous costumes and uses lots of props to put on a memorable show which usually includes GWAR decapitating politicians and pop stars while batting their enemies and performing selections from their 12 albums. The crowd surges with energy, and lots of people crowd surf just to add to the mayhem. If you're interested in seeing the show, but not getting wet, you can avoid the fl ying liquids if you're on the upper level or near the bars.
There will be real pain when the human suspension group Pain Tribe performs at the House of Shock every Saturday night in October and on Halloween night; I warn the squeamish to take caution for this show. The troupe members pierce each other with large hooks and hang from them, the weight of their bodies stretching out their fl esh. The positions in which they are hung vary; mostly being hung from the skin of their backs, but can be hung in poses using their legs, stomachs, and arms. The hangers will further freak out onlookers by swinging or holding large weights. You may even see two people have their hooks tied to each other and play a game of tug-of-war with their skin. Pain Tribe puts on a show that will shock you, mesmerize you, or horrify you. It may be a combination of all three.
When the run-of-the-mill Hollywood slasher fl ick just can't fulfi ll your voyeuristic need, the fi lms at The New Orleans Horror Film Fest can. This gory fi lm marathon goes on from Oct. 25 to Oct. 28 at the Inn On Bourbon. Fest directors Ryan Blake George and JT Seaton explain the history of the fest, "The New Orleans Horror Film Festival's inaugural year was last year. It was started by horror fi lm makers for horror fi lm makers and fans of the horror genre. It was a great success with numerous fi lm makers from all over the world." The fi lms play in groups of sub-genres like vampire fi lms, sci-fi fi lms, and Louisiana-produced fi lms, so fans can see exactly the kinds of movies that they prefer. "With over 58 fi lm screening and celebrity guests attending, this year is even bigger; we have added an extra day," he said. The fest ends with an award ceremony with prizes given for the best short, feature, actor, audience choice and more. Tickets will be sold to the public through their site at Neworleanshorrorfi lmfestival.com.
Want to see some real zombies instead? Head out to Hammond, La., to the multifaceted Halloween experience called Rise: Dark Souls Unleashed. This is no ordinary spook house. Throughout October beginning on Sept. 28 and ending on Nov. 3, you'll be able to walk through a huge haunted house, shoot at horde of real-life zombies with paintballs, and hop in a hydraulic-powered coffi n ride that makes you feel as though you're being thrown in a grave, buried alive, and eaten by insects. Coffi n ride operator John Farrell exclaims, "It's going to scare the hell out of people, which is the main thing. Nobody's doing this kind of stuff!" The ride is dedicated to his recently deceased pet pit bull named Lestat Farrell. John says, "He would look at it and think, 'What are you building now, dad?'" Tickets for Fear Fest can be purchased online at HalloweenFearFest.com and learn more about Rise at Risehauntedhouse.com.
All the vampires come out of the shadows for the Endless Night Vampire Ball taking place this year at the House of Blues on Decatur Street. The Vampires Ball has been going on since 1998, and has even spread to New York, Paris, Berlin, London and Venice, but the ball in New Orleans is considered the main event. The dress code is goulishly formal and extravagant, which can range from horror to monstrous to medieval. And fangs are highly encouraged to complete your look. This year's ball will have a costume contest, a full lineup of deejays. Even if you don't plan on going, you can see the madness as the revelers take to the streets in a second line on Sunday, Oct. 27 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. You can read all about the ball on their website at endlessnight.com.
Even if you don't enjoy costuming, you can certainly enjoy the people-watching throughout the month. I'll keep you up-to-date on more Halloween events like the concert series at The House of Shock and more freak shows, burlesque and spookhouses on my blog The Big Easy Budgeter on our website Whereyat.com. Whatever your ghastly pleasure, get out in the city and indulge in the horror…the horror.