Halloween for Kids in New Orleans
All photos courtesy of the Audubon Nature Institute
Celebrating Halloween in New Orleans could be a decidedly grownup affair, with spectacular balls, parties and parades. We are thankful for the variety, but that’s not to say that kids don’t get a parade and at least two weekends of themed activities leading up to the holiday. Here are our picks for how to celebrate in a family-friendly way, starting a few weeks before Halloween, which falls on Thursday this year.
Thursday, October 19 – Sunday, October 22, 2023, 6-9 p.m.
This four-day family-friendly extravaganza in the magical City Park has become a tradition for many locals. During the event, both the amusement park and Storyland open their doors to kids of all ages for trick-or-treating, rides, a pumpkin patch, arts and crafts, and a DJ dance party. Entertainment also includes face painting and balloon animals. Proceeds from this fundraiser support the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and Storyland. You might want to get your tickets well in advance as this event usually sells out quickly.
Saturday, October 21, 2023, 6:30 p.m.
This lively affair has become the “official Halloween Parade” in New Orleans in 2007, and has been going strong since, only growing in popularity. The parade is brought to you by Kern Studios, so expect the usual 3-D fiberglass and papier-mâché extravaganza, plus all of your favorite spooky characters.
You’ll see werewolves, ghosts, vampires, and other Halloween-themed monsters, but all the monsters on the floats are PG-13 and not too scary even for the youngest kids. The parade-goers had been known to don their favorite, family-friendly Halloween gear as well, and you’re encouraged to do the same.
There’ll be plenty of plush toy throws and candy for the little ones too. The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Decatur St. and Elysian Fields Ave. in the Marigny, rolling through the French Quarter and passing by Jackson Square. Get the details on this year’s throws, the best spots to watch, and the after-party, here.
Saturday, October 21, 2023, 1 a.m. – 6 p.m.
This is an opportunity for the kids to trick-or-treat starting in Dutch Alley between St. Philip and Dumaine Streets, and throughout the French Market District — from the Shops at the Upper Pontalba to the open-air French Market. Many vendors and shops along Decatur Street and at the farmers’ market will be participating. The annual celebration features live music, kid’s activities, and more.
Friday, October 20 – Sunday, October 22, 2023, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
This annual Halloween event at the Audubon Zoo is for kids up to 12. It features haunted-house games, entertainment, Ghost Train, and more. The kids will hear stories, trick-or-treat, and meet some of the zoo’s animals. Member tickets are $8 for kids and $5 for adults. Non-member tickets are $30 (free for children under 12 months).
2023 dates TBA (the Insectarium reopens in June 2023)
Crawloween at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is an educational, Halloween-themed event that will feature “scary” critters like spiders, scorpions and roaches. The kids can “meet” the insects and go trick-or-treating in the exhibit area. Kids under 12 in a bug-themed costume get an admission fee discount. Crawloween is free with admission.
Louisiana Children’s Museum Mash
2023 dates TBA
Every year, the Louisiana Children’s Museum presents music, crafts and activities during its Halloween-themed “Museum Mash.” The kids are encouraged to come in costume. They’ll get to trick-or-treat in the exhibit area and enjoy a dance party. Please note that in line with the Museum’s Health & Wellness Initiative candy will not be available during trick-or-treating. Free with admission (kids under 12 months free).
Tricks, treats, stories, and a ghost hunt await during this walking tour specifically designed for kids ages 4-7. The tour touches upon the history of the French Quarter and its well-known residents, but leaves the gore out, focusing instead on the legends and the hauntings. The whole family is encouraged to participate and ask questions (starts at $24 per person).
“Haunted House” Decorations
There’s no shortage of “haunted houses” this time of year around New Orleans, but not all are child-friendly. So, while parental discretion is always advised, these fabulous haunted houses are set up in and around private homes every year, and they’re as thrilling as they’re safe for at least the older kids. You can check the listings in the newspaper for more Halloween displays set up in private homes as the dates get closer.
St. Charles Avenue and State Street
Local resident Louellen Berger has been arranging her 50-plus krewe of skeletons on the front lawn of her mansion every Halloween, drawing appreciative crowds and an occasional local celebrity. While some of the puns are too satirical for the little ones to get — as Berger’s installations spoof local politics and play on the only-in-New-Orleans themes — the whole setup is a spectacular treat for all ages.
Magazine and Second Streets
A spooky-fabulous display featuring music, holograms, lights, and projections that would awe anyone passing by. Expect a story with a plot, dancing ghosts, creepy apparitions, and dazzling lights.
State and Claiborne Streets
One of the most elaborate skeleton-pirate ship displays in town, skillfully lit and exquisitely arranged. There’s no music and no projections, but it’s well worth a peek.
Are you planning to spend some time in New Orleans this October? This is a great time to visit as the temps get milder and the city’s schedule is full of fun Halloween events and the annual fall festivals. To stay close to all the action, book a historic boutique hotel in the French Quarter at FrenchQuarter.com/hotels today!