Cast a Spell, Drink the Potion: Four Halloween Destinations for LGBT Travelers

Maxwell Granitz, Contributing Writer
September 14, 2018

Halloween, for many, as cliche as it sounds, is a time when they can go out in costume and take a break from the reality they’re living. Notions of what is considered normal go out the window, and debauchery and revelry take over. For gay travelers, Halloween can be a time to experience this effect in an array of cities, and not only in the United States, where the semi-official holiday is most prevalently celebrated. Perhaps, this year, it’s time to dust off a costume and saunter to where the things that go bump in the night come out to play. Here are a few locales to joyously or frighteningly celebrate All Hallows Eve.


1- New Orleans

While perhaps somewhat of an obvious destination, given the city’s reputation as a hub for the supernatural, New Orleans is, at all times of the year, a place where people flock to seek out the strange and unusual. Beyond the voodoo shops and themed tourist traps in the city center, there are guided tours exploring the city’s cemeteries, including a tour focusing on vampires (ala True Blood and Interview with a Vampire). There is also the annual LGBT event Halloween in New Orleans (HNO), which raises money for a local HIV nonprofit, and features a number of parties. This year’s event takes place before Halloween, between October 26 and 28. Visit https://togetherwenola.com/halloween/ to learn more.

2- Walt Disney World

While geared toward families with small children, I can say from personal experience that visiting Disney World while Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is happening is, pardon the expression, magical. Beyond character visits and riding the Alice in Wonderland tea cups, there are more and more options for adults to have their own fun, including resorts catering more so to those without children (mainly the Port Orleans and Animal Kingdom Lodge properties), a handful of nightlife options in Disney Springs, and drinking around-the-world at Epcot. But of course, there’s no shame in being that annoyingly adorable couple holding hands in front of Cinderella’s castle and eating Dole Whip alongside Snow White. Tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are available between mid-August and October 31 each year, as an addition to most packages. For a bit of camp fun, check out the show featuring the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus. And of course, be sure give the singing busts at the Haunted Mansion an ear when they entertain the crowd with “Grim Grinning Ghosts”.

3- New York City

A haven for LGBT travelers year-round, the Big Apple does Halloween right, with events ranging from film screenings (this year includes showings of Halloween, Psycho, and The Masque of the Red Death) to parties (be sure to check out events at local gay clubs and bars), Broadway musicals with a twist (Phantom of the Opera, the Broadway premiere of King Kong, and the wildly, campy queer romp Head Over Heels), among other things to do. In particular, attending a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show is a New York tradition going back to the 1970’s, and a few theaters continue to show the film on Halloween, though not all have a shadow-cast acting out the plot. A special midnight screening occurs at the Cinepolis theater in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, though tickets sell out fast… they can be bought online beginning October 1st. For more information, visit http://www.nycrhps.org/, or contact Cinepolis Chelsea directly.

4- Mexico City

Taking place annually between October 31 and November 2, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is not, despite common misconception, as lively or eerie as some media representations depict it. In Mexico City, which serves as an epicenter for LGBT life in the country, which is still largely Catholic, this day is considered holy, when those who recognize it as being so pray to and remember loved ones who have passed away. It is truly an experience to witness, especially in the capitol, where altars to the dead can be found in many public spaces. Along with this, the capitol has a number of gay clubs, and even gay spas Sodome and Baños Regios. Be sure to check out the Zona Rosa, once the seedy red-light district, now the hub of the local LGBT community. Travelers come here less for the celebrations found in other cities this time of year, and more to get an immersion into a different culture.


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