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Halloween New Orleans: 8 Things to Know About HNO

A four-day event that benefits Project Lazarus, Halloween New Orleans (HNO) definitely puts the fun in fundraising.

For the LGBT community in New Orleans, Halloween includes a longstanding event weekend called HNO (Halloween New Orleans). A four-day marathon of fundraising events, HNO is a way for the community to have fun, connect, and give back. 

‘As you dance the night away, bid on unique art, and eat world-class food, you are helping those in need to have a warm bed, delicious meals, 24/7 care and be surrounded by a supportive community.’ — Project Lazarus

If you’re attending this year’s events and need some last-minute help with preparation, this article is for you. Read on for our insider’s guide into HNO weekend from Oct. 29 through Nov. 1.

1. Walk Like an Egyptian (Or Don’t)

Winners of Best On-Stage Performance from HNO 2014. (Photo courtesy of Roy Guste)
Costume Contest on stage by Roy Guste.
Costume contest competitors. (Photo courtesy of Roy Guste)

The main event, “Fall of The Pharaohs” has an Egyptian theme this year, which makes it pretty easy for picking out or creating a costume. (You don’t have to dress with the theme — just make sure you stand out.)

Clever and creative, funny, or “over-the-top” get-ups earn major points in the costume contest. One of last year’s winners, for example, did a fantastic rendition of the cast of “Death Becomes Her.”

Also, check out the guys in full feline body paint with leather shorts and boots.

You can find the list of this year’s contest categories here.

2. The Steps

Step 1: Take group photo.

Step 2: WERK costume contest.

Step 3: Party for a cause.

Photos courtesy of Jeff Schiffman, Roy Guste, and Aaron Ross.

The event organizers usually provide a professional photo opportunity, which you can then purchase as a memento. As soon as you arrive at the venue (it’s at the Contemporary Arts Center this year), take that infamous Halloween group photo. Then, you need to keep it together long enough for the costume contest (sign-up starts at 10 p.m.). After that, no one is judging what happens to your costume. You’re in New Orleans; let your hair down.

Related: Full details on the Saturday-night event.

3. Treats

The Lazarus Ball. Photo by Willow's World Photo.
Guests at the Lazarus Ball. (Photo courtesy of Willow’s World Photo)

You’re covered on great NOLA eats at the Lazarus Ball (Thursday, Oct 29) and the Disco Brunch (Sunday, Nov. 1), but you’re on your own Friday and Saturday*. If you’re not frantically glue-gunning those last-minute costumes, go to any of these restaurants for an authentic taste of New Orleans’ culinary flare.

*Patrons and Hosts are treated to Brennan’s famed food in the VIP lounge on Saturday.

4. Adult Treats

HNO weekend is an open-bar event on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday’s “HNO Glo” — a popular neon dance party — will be a cash bar this year (open bar for Patrons and Hosts).

5. Sunday Funday

Sometimes, moments like this (0:40) happen on Sunday.

6. Tap that App

The HNO app. (Courtesy photo)

This is a useful resource to keep up-to-date on events throughout the weekend and let you take some fun photos in custom frames. Download it for Apple or Android.

Pro tip: A clever voting feature on the app allows the attendees of Saturday night’s Absolut Costume Contest to vote for their favorites on stage for the Audience Award category.

7. Sissy that Second Line

Halloween New Orleans Second Line - Photo courtesy of Bryant Laiche.
Halloween New Orleans Second Line. (Photo courtesy of Bryant Laiche)

Sunday, Nov. 1 marks the official end to HNO weekend. After brunch at House of Blues, you’ll second line down one of the city’s most famous streets. You may have walked down Bourbon Street before, but you’ve never done it quite like this.

If you’re not familiar with this NOLA tradition, check out New Orleans Online for a great summary.

8. It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

You can’t do it all in one weekend; a steady pace is key for success. HNO is also just one of many events happening in New Orleans throughout Halloween weekend, along with Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, the Krewe of Boo Halloween parade, and a home Saints game to name a few.

Feel free to experience as much as you can. Just be warned: you’ll need time to fully enjoy the city, and you’ll need more time to recover. (I’ve already called out of work Monday and Tuesday.)

For more information and news on the city’s LGBT community, sign up for New Orleans’ LGBT e-newsletter here.

Marketing & Advertising Professional | Event Production | Writer & Lover of all things New Orleans Half Louisiana - Half Alabama - Original Chalmation (Yea I own up to it) I'm a former NCAA athlete (swimming) with a background in Psychology & Marketing. After grad school, I took a break while deciding if I wanted to continue on with my Ph.D or try something else for a while. So, I did what any recent graduate would do while pondering a major life decision - I moved back to New Orleans in 2009 and became a bartender (which is basically the same thing as being a Psychologist, as it turns out). The revived entrepreneurial spirit of New Orleans, along with the strong sense of community & family the city had formed, convinced me to start a new chapter back in my hometown of NOLA. Since then, I've been living and loving every moment of my New Orleans experience and have more than a few good stories to tell.

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