Right around now, people across the U.S. are doing typical Halloween activities like pumpkin picking and hay rides, costume parties, haunted house attractions, etc. But in New Orleans, Louisiana, things are FAR from typical. With a flair for the macabre and a close connection to the spirit world, NOLA is a city that celebrates the haunted, the spooky, the mysterious all year long. That's why there's just no better place to visit this time of year!
Here are just a few uniquely New Orleans ways to celebrate Halloween:
1. Experience a "Mourning" at Hermann-Grima House
Hermann-Grima House is a historic Federal mansion in the French Quarter of New Orleans. A fascinating tour any time of year, the home takes a dark turn every October to reenact the funeral of the widow Grima. With rooms in the house draped in black, tours will focus on the many "rules and regulations" of death and mourning in the 19th century.
2. Purchase a "Spell Kit" at Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo
Named for the 18th century Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau's has what you need to cast a spell, perform a seance ritual or beckon the spirit world. The store offers a great selection of Voodoo Dolls, Skeleton Keys, various animal bones and claws and much more. Even if you're not looking to cast any spells, it's a very intriguing (and somewhat creepy) store to browse through, whether in October or any other time of year.
3. Prepare to be Scared on the Ghost Tour of the French Quarter
With so many haunted sites, cemeteries and ghost tours in and around NOLA, which one do you choose? Depends whether you want to get REALLY scared or not. If you're after the real deal, sign up for the New Orleans Ghost Tour of the French Quarter. Visit sites with actual, documented paranormal activity. 90% of tour participants capture spirits in their photographs! This tour is offered year-round but it's a perfect addition to your New Orleans Halloween revelry! The company also offers several other spooky, creepy tours focused on Voodoo and Withcraft Rituals, Vampires, or Cemeteries.
4. Go on a Haunted Pub Crawl with Bloody Mary
Throughout history, the local pub has been a place where nefarious plans have been laid and scandalous deeds, fueled by whiskey and beer, have been carried out. Do the spirits of murdered pirates, politicians and prostitutes still inhabit the pubs where they died? Bloody Mary takes you on this fascinating walk through some of New Orleans' legendary pubs. Don't think of this as a bar-hopping, drinking pub crawl. It's a history tour with a paranormal twist. Having said that, a few cocktails may be served (at extra cost) so guests must be 21+.
5. …and speaking of Bloody Marys
It's typically thought of as a brunch drink, but the name is just so perfect for Halloween imbibing. If you enjoy that mixture of tomato juice, vodka and hot sauce, here are a few of the best places in New Orleans to get a "killer" Bloody Mary (from Eater.com)
• Cafe Atchafalaya – Their garnish-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar lets you build a meal in a glass. Plenty of creative add-ins you'd never expect make for a unique experience.
• Dante's Kitchen – Everything's better with bacon, including Dante's special bacon-infused Bloody Mary.
• Cafe Adelaide – try the perfectly-spicy secret recipe, garnished with okra, green beans and olives.
Do you have any suggestions for unique Halloween fun in New Orleans? Please let me know in the comments.