For LGBTQ+ people, Halloween can be more than a dressy celebration—it can be a time to channel a side of ourselves we might not usually showcase. And New York City is the perfect place to do Halloween right. You’ll find over-the-top parties, glammed-out costumes and macabre-inspired events in all five boroughs. Make your NYC Halloween a memorable one at these LGBTQ+ bashes.
Susanne Bartsch’s Halloween Ball: Valley of the Dolls
If you want your Halloween a bit more highbrow check out Susanne Bartsch’s MoMA PS1–related events. First up is her annual Halloween Ball at 8pm at the museum, fueled by a Valley of the Dolls theme. The themed festivities continue at the after-party at Elsewhere. Expect sets by DJs Eli Escobar, Amber Valentine, PAT and Harry Charlesworth, and live performances by up-and-comers in the New York City arts scene. It’s basically everything the party producer has been delivering to the NYC LGBTQ+ scene since she started hosting her demimonde parties at the Copacabana in the late ’80s. Tickets for the first party are $25–55 and for the second $20–25.
Frisky in Hell’s Kitchen
This dark, sexy bash which takes place at the Copacabana in Times Square will be one of the season’s hottest queer Halloween parties. The first-place winner of a costume contest will be awarded round-trip airfare to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival in 2020; the second-place winner will snag airfare to LGBTQ hot spot Puerto Vallarta; third place wins a ticket to Palm Springs. Tickets range from $45 to $55.
Ghostship Gay Halloween
This five-level “ghost ship” will haunt Hudson River Park’s Pier 40 beginning at 9:30pm. Barcelona DJ Phil Romano will be on deck for the night (with a warmup set by Tony Ynot). Dance yourself dizzy on the covered sky deck with the NYC skyline as your backdrop or head below to the ship’s haunted darkroom for some spooky fun. The boat stays put—save for a brief late-night sail at 1:30am—so you can hop on and off as needed. And the party doesn’t stop when you disembark at 3:30am: there’s a LAB After Party going until 7am at the Chelsea Music Hall with DJ Dani Brasil. Tickets start at $79.
October 25, 26 and 31
Head to the glamourous McKittrick Hotel for Halloween, Hitchcock style. The event has multiple options, including a scary-good three-course supper from the Club Car, a performance of theatrical sensation Sleep No More and a Hollywood Golden Age dance party with live performances, DJ sets and an open bar all night long. It’s an ideal choice for anyone looking to hit a number of Halloween parties without moving around town. Prices vary according to which events you attend.
House of Yes Halloween Horrorvaganza
October 25, 26 and 31
The House of Yes puts on unconventional and thought-provoking parties; their annual Halloween spectacular promises to be no different. We don’t know much other than there are a lot of performers and there’s a risk of getting wet. Tickets are $40 for general admission, $50 for priority seating and $100 for a VIP table.
Lez Horror Story: LGBTQ Halloween Costume Party
Looking for a lesbian party that’s both gruesome and glam? LasReinas and Cynthia Russo’s annual Halloween party at Bushwick’s Starr Bar should do the trick. The theme is inspired by TV show American Horror Story, and whoever wears the sexiest themed costume will win a cash prize. Latin, hip-hop, old-school, house and Top 40 music will be served up courtesy of New York’s top female DJs. The event will be hosted by NYC LGBTQ icon Crazy Maria (Cherry Lips). Tickets are $15 in advance online and $20 at the door (though doors will shut once capacity is reached).
Hot Rabbit “Hell Yes” Nightmare Before QueerMess
The day after Halloween, dance-party demons Hot Rabbit will host a scary, sexy costume contest inspired by Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Things kick off at 10pm at Hell’s Kitchen mega-club Stage 48—where more than a 1,000 souls are expected to attend. DJs from Hot Rabbit provide the soundtrack while Mikey Pop’s visuals and various aerialists and go-go dancers supply the eye candy. Tickets are $25–40. The costume-contest grand prize is $500, so dress for success.