Going door to door is for kids and political campaigners: This Halloween season, get your craziest, cleverest or creepiest ensemble together and party in the the clubs, bars, and streets during a holiday tha’s become an international excuse for gays and lesbians to get dressed up and party down. We’ve highlighted eight places around the world to get your monster madness going.
Did we forget your favorite celebration? School us in the comments!
To find a Halloween party near you, head over to the GayCities Halloween Event Guide.
Key West, FL
Created back in the 1970s by the late Frank Romano, Key West’s Fantasy Fest is the city’s biggest tourism event all year. This year’s theme, Aquatic Afrolic, sees ten straight (well, not that straight!) days of fun with an “Under the Sea” spin. Highlights include the Royal Coronation Ball (a benefit for AIDS Help), the Inaugural Blue Party at the Sheraton Suites, a pet masquerade party, and of course the famed Fantasy Fest Parade down Duval Street on Saturday, October 29. Go West, young men!
Spooky Bear Weekend
Lions and tigers and bears… and cubs and otters and muscle bears and admirers, oh my! The LGBT mecca takes one last furry breath before going into hibernation with Northeast Ursamen’s Spooky Bear Weekend. Highlights include a Friday night Saints & Sinners party at the Paramount Nightclub, Saturday afternoon’s Bear Market at The Boatslip and a party and costume contest later that night at The Paramount. If all that partying gets your tummy rumbling, there’s an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on Sunday.
See you there, pandas, Polar bears and Poohs!
Image via PhotoBearne.com
T.O.’s Gay Village—a.k.a the area bounded by Church and Wellesley Streets—is transformed into a weeklong funhouse full of creepy decorations and festivities. This year’s lineup includes a family-friendly Halloween Hullabaloo at the 519 Community Centre, with a kids’ costume parade and crafts a more adult Drag and Leather Boo-zaar and Psychic Fair, the Queen of Halloween drag show and a climactic Block Party which closes off the Village to traffic from 6pm–2:30am.
Eat your heart out, WeHo and NYC—or let a dragged-out zombie do it for you up North!
Image via Coco8
Halloween New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Just behind Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, Halloween weekend is the Big Easy’s most flamboyant annual hootenanny. Now in its 28th year, the five-day HNO spectacular benefits AIDS organization Project Lazarus. The Lazarus Ball at Harrah’s Theater Downtown, a black-tie-optional kick-off event, features an open bar and life entertainment. Costumes are mandatory at Saturday night’s Wickedly Ever After dance, where DJs Danny Lehman and Eddie Baez take to the turntables. On Sunday afternoon, things really get moving with brunch on the old time Steamboat Natchez. Looking for something a little naughtier? The Bourbon Pub hosts Ritual, a weekend-long series of nightly parties. Beads, schmeads!
Is “shirtless” a costume? It is at Belgium’s grande dame of circuit parties, which celebrates its 22nd year over Halloween Weekend at several Brussels venues. Friday night kicks things off at the bi-level K-NAL, located along the city’s canal. Saturday’s party hits the jackpot at Ancient Casino from 9pm–7am. And Monday’s closing party returns to the site where it all started—the three-floor nightclub Fuse—with a 15-hour dance marathon featuring DJs from across Europe. Whatever you wear, you’re going to wear it out, girl!
West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnival
Los Angeles, CA
While nary a day goes by when West Hollywood’s denizens aren’t decked out in some variety of costume along Santa Monica Boulevard, Halloween night sees a massive street party with entertainment, food, and costume contests. There are a couple of new development for 2011: On Friday, October 28, the Hollywood Forever cemetery open its gates for Fred & Jason’s Halloweenie shindig featuring DJ Dave Aude and an open bar, while Saturday has been officially proclaimed Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Day by the WeHo City Council. Expect plenty of skin and Perez Hilton-spotting—and bring lots of singles.
Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
New York, NY
Now in its 39th year, the country’s largest and most politically tinged Halloween parade is sure to include numerous Michelle Bachmanns, Casey Anthonys, Occupy Wall Street protestors and other inventive, irreverent, and even tasteless characters. (Is it too soon for Steve Jobs zombies?)
North Halsted Halloween Parade
Miss Foozie is at it again, emceeing Chicago’s 15th annual parade of thousands of fabulous freaks down Halsted. In addition to the numerous costumed revelers and festooned floats, the two-hour celebration includes performances by the Chicago Spirit Brigade, Windy City Gay Idol winner TJ Chernick, the Chicago Fire Tribe and others. Halloween might be on a Monday this year, but you can bet all your candy Chi-Town homos will descend upon Boystown after the parade to party till All Soul’s Day.