Have Yourself an Unconventional Lil’ Halloween (On a Budget)

Veronika Lee, Entertainment Editor

In these parts, Halloween is the one holiday season that truly can give Mardi Gras a run for its money. This year All Hallow’s Eve falls on a Thursday evening. For those traditionalists who prefer to commemorate Samhain on the actual night it falls on (or for those of you just looking for another excuse to wear a costume), Driftwood has some good ideas on how you can celebrate the night away on a student-friendly budget. The real scary part is that you might have to miss class on Friday after an epic evening of partying. So without further adieu, here are some affordable and a bit unconventional ways you can celebrate. 


Say hi to your favorite newspaper team! From noon-2 p.m. you can come say hello to the Driftwood staff in the Quad and participate in raffles and a costume contest right here on campus. We think it’s a great way to kick off the holiday.


Go to a concert. The obvious choice would be near the UNO campus where Southern rock/psychedelic band Widespread Panic is playing the Lakewood Amphitheater Halloween night. Tickets are pretty pricey, starting at a hefty $77. For admirers of 1990s alternative metal, the better alternative would be to see rockers Helmet for a cool $20 at the House of Blues on Decatur Street. Fans of the hit 1994 film “The Crow” will remember their song “Milquetoast” from the movie’s soundtrack. Might be a good time to get out that Brandon Lee costume and/or your goth corpse paint.


Run away from ghouls in a haunted forest. Isn’t this the plotline to “Evil Dead?” Well yes. But you can play out all your wildest slasher dream chase scene nightmares at Scout Island Scream Park, which is only a 7 minute drive from campus. Tickets are $20, so get your friends together to see how well you fare against their ghouls and goblins. 


Look for ghosts at the bar. Of all the places you can visit in the French Quarter for Halloween night, Jimani is both haunted and wallet-friendly – burgers start at about $6 and there are veggie options on the menu. Once a haven to the gay community in the 1970s, a horrific fire trapped 32 victims inside the UpStairs Lounge right above The Jimani and sadly, at the time, the response of many New Orleans residents was that “they got what they deserved.” While we certainly respect the legacy of those who perished in the fire, we do acknowledge their restless spirits. Patrons and bar staff alike insist their spirits have not left – upstairs and downstairs. 


Be theatrical. Fear not ,performance art and theater lovers, Southern Rep has you covered. Anyone ever hoped they could hear “This is Halloween” live? Actors and singers in “Cabaret Macabre” will perform spooky-themed songs from shows like “Sweeney Todd” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.” There is an audience costume contest and admission is $15 for students. 


Experience a cult (classic that is). Arguably, us Halloween folk are a bit more free-spirited, sexy and wild than our Christmas counterparts so it only makes sense to celebrate lusty gender-bending lovers singing their hearts out in a Transylvanian castle. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a midnight movie classic – for those who have not yet seen/participated in it; it’s a 1975 rock musical film that plays at many an American movie theater every Friday night. Audience members dress up and dance and sing along to the film that boasts iconic performances from Tim Curry as a “sweet transvestite from Transexual Transylvania” and Susan Sarandon as a square girl next door type who learns how to bend the rules. A pioneering film in the LGBTQ community, it’s playing at 10 p.m. and midnight Oct. 31 at the Prytania Theatre. Note: This is an experience so come dressed up and don’t expect to be sitting down in the seats.


A house decorated for Halloween in the French Quarter. Photo by Veronika Lee.