Making plans for the most important holiday of the year—we're talking Halloween, of course—isn't so easy in sprawling Los Angeles. Our Halloween guide has you covered with the best candy treats, the most inspiring costume shops, the rockingest parties, the best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating, and the coolest fall festivals and activities. Still not feeling the fall in Los Angeles spirit? We've also rounded up our favorite haunted spots where real ghosts still can rattle a few chains. Let the countdown to the thrills and chills begin!
Halloween 2014 photos
Halloween costume ideas
Halloween parties and haunted houses
LACMA is one of our favorite destinations every day of the year, but around Halloween, it's especially close to the top of our list. The museum's popular annual Costume Ball often brings out some of the best and most creative costumes, and this year might top the lot—the theme of the party is "The Living Museum" and guests are encouraged to dress up "as a work of art." No, you did not wake up like this. Put in some effort and dress up like one of LACMA's must-see works of art. Or a lesser known masterpiece. Prizes will be awarded by a panel of soon-to-be-announced judges. Dance the night away to the sounds of Thug Entrancer and Oneohtrix Point Never, go see Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s and stay late for an after party in the galleries. There will be food sales and a cash bar until 1am. Please note this party is just for guests 21+.Read more
This is the largest Halloween street party in the world, and there's really no better place to be on October 31st. Sure, the crowd is huge (like, a half million people huge) and a bit belligerent, but the amazing display of costumes and general merry-making spirit deem it at least a worthy stop, if not your main destination for the evening. There will be dancing, drinking, and many mid-parade costume contests. Even if you don't plan on entering one, it's best to still come dressed to the nines—no one likes a party pooper in jeans and a t-shirt. Tip: Try to be around for the crowning of the honorary "Queen of the Carnival," and expect lots of surprises; MTV wowed the crowd in 2011 with a pop-up Robyn concert.
RECOMMENDED: West Hollywood Costume Carnaval 2013 (slide show)Read more
Billed as "the only Halloween party in the Valley," (we guess they mean the only one that matters?), this Federal Bar bash offers up burlesque dancers, live music, roving magicians and tarot card readers, and lots of drink specials. Prizes will be given out throughout the night for best/sexiest/funniest/etc. costume (and as the party hosts get more drunk, the prizes will flow more freely). Even if you're not gunning for free stuff, come dressed up or you'll be denied entry—seriously.Read more
One of the city's hottest yearly dance parties, and definitely one of the best gay Halloween events (second only to the WeHo parade), Halloweenie will feature five DJs, with headliner David Audé. This year's event beneficiary is the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, so expect to see the sweet-voiced members in attendance. (Also, we have to point out that the hosts of Halloweenie, Fred Arens and Jason Duguay... are named Fred and Jason. It's almost too perfect.)Read more
Start planning your costume now—LA's favorite public radio station, KCRW, will host its legendary Halloween masquerade ball at the Park Plaza this year on October 25. Expect to find a labyrinth of sensory-stimulating themed rooms showcasing circus troops, DJs, ghost stories, costume contests and, of course, boogying masqueraders. There will also be an array of food trucks on site to satisfy your post-dance midnight hunger. The event is 21 and over, so be sure to leave any trick-or-treaters or college freshmen at home.Read more
Live out your secret naughty fantasies at this Halloween swingers party, courtesy of Mass Pleasures, the "World’s Premier Luxury Pleasure Club." RSVP for an invite to a secret LA mansion at this classiest of sex soirees, touted as a "unique playground for the world's sexual elite." Mingle with pretty professionals indulging their hedonistic desires. Dress (and undress) to impress, and be prepared to lose your mask, if you so choose, at midnight during this "Horny Masked Halloween Ball." In a not-so-subtle move, "hot single ladies under 35" get in free, while couples have to shell out $150 for a BYOB pass.Read more
The Echoplex presents a boozy, costumed dance party with three DJs, a Midnight Mashup Show, go-go dancing from R.A.I.D. (Random Acts of Irreverent Dance) and a Halloween photo booth. There's a costume contest at midnight, with $200 first prizes for scariest, sluttest, and best overall costumes. Be one of the first 300 to arrive and receive a free mashup CD—it's the perfect music for the ADD generation, with a spooky Halloween twist.Read more
Part party, part art exhibit, part pancake breakfast... this event combines all the things we love most. Head to Lot613 in DTLA on October 11th to watch over 50 Hollywood makeup artists transform pretty models into gory zombies during the Zombie Fashion Show. Then take a stroll around the room, where you'll find over 300 pieces of eerie-themed artwork. There will also be live music (and therefore, dancing) and free all-you-can eat pancakes by the Pancakes & Booze Art Show. What more could you want?
RECOMMENDED: Zombie Fashion Show (NSFW slide show)Read more
For the hotel's annual Halloween bash—spanning the entire property, from ballroom to pool—music will be provided by resident DJs and featuring DVBBS. The Roosevelt DJs know how to get even the most lackadaisical of starlets up and dancing. The hotel will be decked out in Halloween get-up (think dungeons and ancient crypts), of course, and its reputation for ghostly sightings is likely to give it a few extra creepy plus points.Read more
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetle—whew, that was close. Say the name three times and who knows what'll happen at Mondrian LA's "Strange & Unusual" Halloween party. The Sunset Strip hotel is calling all the "recently deceased" to come dressed up for this celebration, a Netherworld tribute to the disruptive, pinstriped ghost. Jump in the line for the "Day-O" dinner party or grab a drink in Dante's Inferno Room—demonic dancers, optional.Read more