Halloween 2020 may be more DIY than ever, as many annual events and attractions are sitting out the pandemic year. Making costumes and decorating homes and lawns are some of the ways locals have gotten creative in October. But here are some of the special events happening this year.
JAMNOLA: “House of Eclectic Souls”
New Orleans’ first experiential museum, JAMNOLA, opened over the summer in Marigny. In a dozen rooms with colorful displays and interactive technology, local artists illustrated New Orleans culture in selfie-friendly exhibits. Local artist La Adorna is dressing up the arts space/playland for a Halloween pop-up called “House of Eclectic Souls.” For five days, there will be special decorations and performers such as dancers, drag performers and spoken word artists in some rooms. Performing artists include Shangobunmi Durotimi, Ashley Stevenson, Gianni Redi, Gabrielle Slack, Iman Marshall, Candy Snatch, Franky Canga and others. La Adorna has curated music for the event, and a video room that usually features Royce Osborn’s documentary “All on a Mardi Gras Day” will screen a Halloween video.
“House of Eclectic Souls” runs Oct. 27-31, and the popup is for ages 16 and older on Oct. 30 and 31. Attendees also can participate in a costume contest by dressing up and having their picture taken by a photographer in one of five designated rooms. The winners will be determined in an online vote held Nov. 1-3. Visit jamnola.com for information.
New Orleans’ haunted houses are open. The Mortuary in Mid-City is inviting guests to unleash some pandemic frustrations on the undead. Its Rift War scenario arms visitors with guns similar to those used in laser-tag attractions and allows them to combat the undead in the labyrinth of rooms. Entrance is by timed ticketing, which is available online only, and patrons must wear face coverings. The Mortuary is open this week and on a few weekend days through Friday, Nov. 13. Visit themortuary.net for tickets.
In Jefferson, the New Orleans Nightmare goes retro, filling its halls with classic movie monsters. There’s also a “Deadly Reflections” area haunted by poor souls captured in magic mirrors. The New Orleans Nightmare offers online ticketing and “skip the line” passes. It’s open daily through Halloween. Visit neworleansnightmare.com for information on safety precautions and tickets.
Bounce & Grind Burlesque’s “Black Magick Edition,” on Thursday, Oct. 29, will feature New Orleans-based Black burlesque performers and drag entertainers along with national special guests in “spooky stripteases” and “hell raising drag.” Bounce & Grind is produced by Jeez Loueez and Mz. Juno, and the two burlesque artists will perform along with Maxi Glamour, Sailem, Franky Canga, Martika, Phathoms Deep, Anjle, Back to Black Burlesque and Uncle Freak. “Black Magick Edition” starts at 8 p.m. online (link will be sent after registering). Admission is donation-based, with suggested $10-$25 options at eventbrite.com.
Roxie le Rouge’s burlesque and variety show Big Deal Burlesque has the treats on Halloween night with a rare (for the pandemic era) in-person event at The Cannery featuring acrobatics, burlesque, comedy and drag. Performers include Mammary Lane, Phathoms Deep, Vivacious Miss Audacious and le Rouge. The event will follow coronavirus guidelines and face masks are required for entry. The Cannery is at 3803 Toulouse St. Tickets are $35-$75 on eventbrite.com.
Halloween Road Rally
Crescent City Cat Club, the Marigny cat cafe and animal shelter, will celebrate its third anniversary with a Halloween Day road rally through the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. Participants (teams are encouraged) will start at the Cat Club, 1021 Marigny St., where they will receive a clue they must figure out for the next location and the next clue, kicking off a Halloween-themed race through the area. Participants must figure out the clues to 15 locations along the route, eventually ending back at the Cat Club. Participants can either walk, bike or drive along the race; and smartphones are allowed. Costumes are encouraged and face masks are required. Prizes, one for each mode of transportation, will be awarded for the first entrants back to the club. Suggested donation is $15 and includes a visit to the Cat Club. Visit crescentcitycatclub.com for more information.
Area cinemas enter the Halloween homestretch with a slate of ghoulish films. The Prytania Theatre’s (5339 Prytania St.; theprytania.com) “Nightmare on Prytania Street” will finish its month-long series with daily screenings of “Monsters, Inc.,” “Hocus Pocus” and “The Exorcist” through Thursday, Oct. 29, and “Casper” on Friday, Oct. 30, through Sunday, Nov. 1. The Prytania Theatre will also host “COVID editions” of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 9:30 p.m. and midnight on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. And The Broad Theater will show “Beetlejuice” nightly Oct. 28-30, followed by “House” on Oct. 28 and “Night of the Living Dead” on Oct. 29-30 at The Broadside, its new Mid-City outdoor space at 600 N. Broad Ave. Tickets can be found at broadsidenola.com.
The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission hosts family-friendly drive- and walk-through Halloween events 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30. Behrman Park at 2529 General Meyer Ave. and Joe W. Brown Park at 5601 Read Blvd. will have drive-through routes decorated with festive ghosts and ghouls and trick-or-treat candy. The Lafitte Greenway at 1971 St. Louis St. in Treme, will feature drive-through and walking and bike routes. Costumes and vehicle decorations are encouraged. Visit nordc.org for location and route information.
South Carolina poet Moody Black will be the featured performer at the event “Lyrics & Spirits on the Bayou,” a spoken word, hip-hop and comedy event hosted by AllnIllusion. Artists from New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore and Houston are on the bill. The event takes place 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Fontaine Palace, 218 S. Robertson St. Tickets are $30 via eventbrite.com.
Tipitina’s kicks off its second season of its online concert series Tipitinas.TV with a Halloween performance by Galactic featuring legendary Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls — the character expertly portrayed by Harry Shearer. The show premieres at 8 p.m. Oct. 31. The coming Tipitinas.TV season includes performances by Dumpstaphunk, Soul Rebels with Big Freedia, Marc Broussard and Dragon Smoke. Individual shows are $14.99, or $59.99 for the full series at tipitinas.tv.
Quintron & Miss Pussycat celebrate Halloween and their new album, “Goblin Alert,” with a live-streaming show from d.b.a. via the StageIt platform. It will be their second performance with a full band and will feature puppets and special guests. The show starts at 8 p.m. Oct. 31 on stageit.com/dbalive. Tickets are $10.