Anba Dlo VI (New Orleans, LA)
This annual fundraiser (named after a Creole phrase that translates to, ‘from beneath the waters’) is sponsored by the New Orleans Healing Center, a cooperative that includes restaurants, grocery stores, and other establishments committed to improving the city of New Orleans. On Oct. 19, the Anba Dlo festivities will kick off with, of all things, a symposium about the city’s sensitive coastline ― but after that, it’s pure Halloween entertainment. Highlights will include a costume parade, a Voodoo invocation of Lasien, the Mermaid Spirit of the Deep Waters (the subject of a recent sculpture that will be unveiled at this year’s event), and a live music festival that lasts until 2 a.m. Admission prices range from $15 to $25, depending on how long you wait to buy tickets; VIP access costs $45 per person.
Fantasy Fest (Key West, FL)
A festive hybrid of Halloween festivities and Mardi Gras madness, this annual bacchanal will be held Oct. 18-27 throughout Key West. This year’s theme is ‘Super Heroes & Villains’, though any and all costumes are welcome (the more outlandish, the better). The lineup will include a parade, extravagant street fair, and a contest to determine which storefront has the best exterior decorations. Plus, Key West is probably a lot warmer than your current location in late October.
Festival of the Dead (Salem, MA)
In the late 1600s, Salem was a hotbed (pun intended) of witch persecution. More than 20 people were executed or died in prison after (false) accusations of witchcraft surfaced in the sleepy colonial town. Today, Salem hosts one of the gnarliest Halloween shindigs in the country. This year’s Festival of the Dead will include a Witches’ Halloween Ball, the Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo, and an authentic séance. Each individual event charges individual admission, and tickets are available on the festival’s official website.
Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball (Las Vegas, NV)
This annual celebration of all things grotesque and risque will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. In addition to all the eye candy, guests will have the chance to party their brains out in three giant, elaborately decorated rooms. The Travel Channel voted this bash as one of the ‘Top 10 Events in the World’, while Maxim listed it as one of the ’5 Events to Attend Before You Die’. Only in Sin City, folks. General admission is priced at $77, while VIP tickets (which grant access to three additional party areas) cost $250.
The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor (Long Beach, CA)
Shortly after her maiden voyage in 1936, the Queen Mary was hailed as one of the most luxurious ocean liners in the world. The Queen Mary today resides in the warm waters off the Southern California coast, and every Halloween she hosts a wickedly entertaining, maritime-themed shindig known as ‘Dark Harbor’. The party features live music, a private lounge, plenty of food and drink, and six monster-infested mazes. Admission starts at $24, and tickets are available online.