As a NOLA native, I can attest to the fact that both the dead and UN-dead celebrate Halloween more than the magical Mardi Gras holiday. As opposed to the Fat Tuesday theme of burlesque mixed with alcohol and “anything goes” – people from all over the world visit NOLA for the extreme and brilliant costuming during Halloween. One would think costumes could not possibly become more creative than Mardi Gras – YES, they can! The vampires rise from the darkness along with a bevy of flying witches circling the skies of NOLA in their best and most outrageous finery. A little kooky, a little spooky, and costumes more than the imagination can grasp are marching to the beat of a different drum beginning October First. No one holds back in a city like mine especially when you can see flamboyant costumes any day of the year. After all, mind-blowing creativity and wit are always on display in The Big Easy.

Perish the thought of booking a place to stay at this late date. Rooms were booked at least a year ago. Good luck finding a sewing machine or a swatch of sequined material. Since above-ground cemeteries are a NOLA main attraction, you must visit “Cities of the Dead.”  How much more fitting could a city possibly be? Voodoo shops surround you no matter what part of town you are in, we natives believe in it and stick those pins sharply into dolls regarding anyone who crosses our paths. It’s an everyday spiritual practice for us.  Every house I ever lived in was splashed with tsunami scents of sage before moving in. The ghosts will always be everywhere, but Sage takes a little of the meanness away.

If you are even thinking of arriving in this magical city with costume in hand, please forget it, toss it, and get your costume right there where the city is vibrating with creativity and imagery. Like Mardi Gras, everything does fly (or should I say is allowed), however, this holiday is all about being over the top as far as the eye can see regarding imagination. No drugs are needed during Halloween, the Kool-Aid fills the air.  The LGBTQ community spares no lack of cleverness and over-the-top imagination. Just follow the trail of wigs, masks, and boas all month in October. 

There are more haunted houses and tours than you could ever do even if you were awake 24/7. If you really think about it, every neighborhood is haunted all year so why bother with a tour? The hardest part of your trip will be how to decide what to see, NOLA is just that popular on All Hallows Eve. Since by nature, NOLA natives can be sinister but brilliant, no holds are barred when it comes to costuming. The city stretches its imagination to the limit when it comes to the textile world. There is always the parade, “Krewe of Boo,” winding around the city, and, make no mistake, it is not Disneyland by any means. October is meant to be a macabre extravaganza so don’t be fooled thinking this is a show for the kiddos. This is our one-day-a-year event for those of us who love thinking outside the box with no boundaries. So, take a risk and go down that rabbit hole, you only live once, and then some if you end up in an above-ground tomb. Murder mystery dinners abound and are always fabulous when you consider NOLA is one of the dining capitals of the world.

The deeply departed reside everywhere in New Orleans, so if you really want to breathe, eat, and see costumes that only one’s imagination can create, get a reservation for next year, unless the dead have filled all vacancies. They do have first rights, ya know!