Everyone knows New Orleans is the best place to be for Halloween, making it all the more important to choose one’s stops discerningly. It’s also a great place for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) revelry, what with the city’s affinity for the dead, and parties. Below are Eater’s picks for the best spots to celebrate Halloween and Dia de los Muertos around New Orleans, with good food and drinks in mind.
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Thursday, October 31
Voodoofest: Stroll through the Quarter to this free festival (note: this is not the Voodoo Fest in City Park that wrapped up over the weekend) celebrating the impact of voodoo on New Orleans culture. Complete with music, refreshments, a craft market, and talks by Haitian and New Orleans Voodoo priests, historians, and authors, it runs from 1 to 7 p.m. at Voodoo Authentica of New Orleans Cultural Center & Collection (612 Dumaine Street).
Frenchmen Street: Yes, we know Frenchmen Street is packed with tourists and not as fun as it used to be, but on Halloween night it’s still one of the best destinations for people-watching, amazing costumes, and an all-around celebratory vibe. The best bet for food along the main drag is at the vegetarian-friendly 13 Monaghan, which offers a tacho menu, boudin or tofu banh mi, vegan chili, and breakfast all night long. Or get out of the Frenchmen madness and grab a burger at Esplanade Avenue dive Buffa’s, open all night long.
Parlor at the Pontchartrain Hotel: The pretty new event space in the Pontchartrain, run by the duo behind the hotel’s restaurant Jack Rose, is hosting a concert for $20 (J & The Causeways, Roadside Glorious and Juno Dunes) from 9 p.m. to midnight. A costume is also a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Jack Rose or Hot Tin, the hotel’s lively rooftop.
The Ace Hotel: The music venue inside the Ace Hotel is hosting Papi Juice, an art collective celebrating the lives of queer and trans people of color, for its Halloween celebration on Thursday night (doors open at 10 p.m.). Three Keys will also see live music from Oscar Nn, Denisia, HaSizzle and Dreamer. Conveniently, one of the hotel’s restaurants Seaworthy serves food next door until 2 a.m., and hot new cocktail bar Bar Marilou is right across the street.
Friday, November 1
Day of the Dead/Fet Gede at the New Orleans Healing Center: Hit the Bywater for another chance to learn about voodoo, Mexico’s Day of the Dead, and Haiti’s Fet Gede. From 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the New Orleans Healing Center, this free celebration will host local artists, a potluck dinner, parade, and traditional voodoo ceremony.
Saturday, November 2
Espiritu’s Dia de los Muertos Block Party: Espiritu Mezcaleria opened downtown on Capdeville at the end of 2018, giving New Orleans its first mezcal bar with top-notch Mexico City bites to boot. From 2 p.m. until midnight on Saturday, the restaurant is hosting a block party with music, a Catrina costume contest, local art and craft vendors, face painting, and of course, food and drink.
Casa Borrega’s Batucada Day of the Dead Party: Central City Mexican joint Casa Borrega hosts Cinco de Mayo and Day of the Dead celebrations that are legendary, if you can squeeze inside for the party. From 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, enjoy a night of festive drinks, snacks, and as always, excellent live music. This year owner Hugo Montero adds an impressive altar of lights, candles, and skeletons dedicated to a longtime friend of the restaurant who died recently.