Top 5 Gay Halloween Destinations

By GT McCallan

Originally published on Advocate.com October 05 2007 12:00 AM ET

Halloween revelry
offers deliciously liberated holiday opportunities, but
getting the right Halloween address, close to events, is
vital -- unless you want to scurry through
insalubrious streets bedecked in your boa. The best
accommodations (and costumes) book up early, so plan ahead
in creating your itinerary and organizing your outfit.
Get dressed or undressed and join the garish and the
gorgeous in these hot Halloween cities.

34th Halloween Parade
New York City Oct. 31, 2007; 7-9
p.m. www.halloween-nyc.com

KNOW: New York
City's carnival started as a gay event with 150 people.
The Halloween Parade is now the world's largest Halloween
event, attracting nearly 2 million people.

WHERE: The parade
careers up Sixth Avenue from Spring to 22nd streets,
through Chelsea from the Village. Masks, headdresses, wigs
and wings flood gay bars in Chelsea, the Village, West
Fourth and Sixth.

DRESS: Anyone in
costume is welcome to join in as seething seas of
cross-dressers sway through the streets. It might all be
good fun, but this is New York and it's competitive.
Undercover agents award prizes for the best costumes,
which are often pieces of performance art.

SCARY FUN: The
best place to congregate is around Christopher Street and
Seventh Avenue or in Washington Square Park near NYU.

PSST: It's a
great time to flirt with cute straight boys from Long Island
and Jersey who let their hair down and have no idea you are
cruising them.

West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnival
Los Angeles Oct. 31, 2007; 6
p.m. www.visitwesthollywood.com; 310-289-2525

KNOW: Twenty-five
years ago, WeHo boys spilled out of bars, blocking
Santa Monica Boulevard and stopping traffic in a spontaneous
gathering of drag, costumes and bare bodies. It's
evolved from one gay evening to an event swarming with
people who come hundreds of miles from all around
Southern California. Creative costumes used to outnumber
spectators; now there are more people not in costume.
Santa Monica Boulevard closes at 3 p.m. and vendors,
radio stations, DJs, performers and hundreds of
thousands of onlookers descend.

WHERE: The heart
of West Hollywood; Santa Monica Boulevard between
Sweetzer and Doheny; Robertson Boulevard between Santa
Monica and Melrose Avenue and in many bars and
restaurants along the way. Gay bars are packed;
dancing and partying goes on until the early hours.

DRESS: Los
Angeles' galaxy of entertainment-industry egos makes WeHo's
Halloween super-competitive, often courtesy of real studio
costumes. Picture 25 red, white and blue debutantes or
a phalanx of gladiators plunging down Santa Monica
Boulevard. Tacky, clever and the more over-the-top the
better is the L.A. mantra. Mardi Gras-type garb, drag,
military and minimal all star.

SCARY FUN: Here
Bar, the Abbey, Rage, Ultra Suede, and Factory throb with
life. More costumes shimmer in the clubs than on the
streets. The crowd tends to be gayer at Here and the
Abbey later in the evening.

PSST: To get the
most out of the party, you need to dress up. Walk the
boulevard, popping in and out of bars along the way (beware
the prohibitive club cover charges). Allow extra time
to make your way along the boulevard -- depending how
good you look, it can take up to an hour per block,
with suburbanites stopping you every five feet for photos.

Halloween 24
New Orleans, La. Oct. 25-28, 2007
www.halloweenneworeleans.com

KNOW: The 24th
Halloween is a series of events benefiting Lazarus House,
a home for men and women with HIV/AIDS whose families cannot
take care of them.

WHERE: Head for
the Bourbon Pub and Parade club. Bodies fill the venue
and spill onto Bourbon Street from midday Thursday till the
early hours of Monday.

DRESS: For the
circuit party, originality is key -- it's about how
creative you can get. Costumes are always over-the-top, from
a 7-foot tall drag queen dressed as the Chiquita
banana girl to an airport tower complete with lights.

SCARY FUN: The
costume-obligatory Wild Kingdom Costume Dance Extravaganza
(Oct. 27, 2007, The Sugar Mill, 10 p.m.-4 a.m.; $75) is the
major event and the main reason to sashay down South
this October. Don't even think about skipping the
adornment.

PSST: This year's
theme is "Wild Kingdom" -- so get in character and
parade through the French Quarter to bask in attention
before wading into the party's masses.

Fantasy Fest and Halloween
Key West, Fla. Oct. 19-28, 2007
www.fantasyfest.net; 305-296-1817

KNOW: A little
bit of Mardi Gras, a little bit of Halloween and a lot of
fun with Florida's finest.

WHERE: The bars
and restaurants around Duval Street, between Eaton and
South streets, see most fantasy action take place.

DRESS: A
cacophony of opportunities to flaunt flamboyance occur from
the Fantasy Street Fair to Captain Morgan's Parade.

SCARY FUN: Don't
miss the parade of furred and feathered fashionistas at
the Pets Masquerade Parade (Oct. 22; 1500 Reynolds St.) or
the Masquerade March when a cavalcade of costumed
characters career from Key West Cemetery through Old
Town.

PSST: Unless
you're bringing an entourage to carry your copious costume
options, check party and parade themes before you go --
they're wild and wildly varied.

The Parade of the Lost Souls
Vancouver, B.C. Oct. 27, 2007; 6-10 p.m.
www.publicdreams.org

KNOW: Vancouver's
spooky goings-on are courtesy of the Public Dreams
Society, which also lights up the East Side with July's
Illuminares lantern festival.

WHERE:
Grandview's public spaces are overrun by ghouls and costumed
cavorters as this much-loved parade stomps through
Vancouver's lesbian neighborhood once again, starting
at William and Cotton.

DRESS: The Parade
of Lost Souls sees costumed marchers, dancers and
assorted chaotic and colorful characters carouse through
Grandview's green spaces.

SCARY FUN:
Frighteningly good fun is to be had at the annual BOO!
Halloween Vancouver party (Oct. 27, 2007;
www.halloweenvancouver.com), a popular fundraiser for
the Vancouver Men's Chorus. Girls can sashay along to
a Halloween party at Lick (Oct. 31, 2007;
www.markjames.com).

PSST: To make the
most of the night, reserve a table well in advance for
one of the Drive's gay and lesbian-popular haunts, such as
Havana or Stella's.