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Arts & Entertainment
7 min

Halloween: 10 ways to celebrate safely the homo high holiday

From online drag parties and sexy strippers to gory film fests, we’ve got you covered

Across the globe this year, festivities like trick-or-treating, haunted houses and drag-filled street parties are no longer in the picture because of COVID-19. But innovative communities, organizations and individuals have created virtual outlets for queer and trans communities to celebrate Halloween safely during the pandemic. Because, let’s face it, Halloween is essentially queer Christmas.

Check out this list of LGBTQ2S+ Halloween events catering to a multitude of tastes. With events varying from virtual horror film festivals to physically distanced silent disco parties to an interactive, choose-your-own-fate dance party game, we’ve got you covered this spooky season.

Heels of Horror by Nina West

Nina West is going global from Columbus, Ohio Credit: Courtesy VH1

If you’re looking for a combination of spooky and funny, tune into Nina West’s Heels of Horror virtual event. The RuPaul’s Drag Race star has been writing, producing and performing her successful Halloween variety show for 12 years in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. For the first time, she has reformatted the spooktacular performance to be virtual, opening it up to a global audience.

The three-episode event will include performances from West’s acclaimed friends, like Broadway star Sydney James Harcourt, Bette Midler tribute artist Jennica Tastrophe and Columbus-based entertainer Jamz Dean. A nine-piece band named Gretta Goodbottom and the Skeleton Crew will perform alongside the stars. The show is sponsored by the American non-profit LGBTQ2S+ health system Equitas Health, and event organizers are asking viewers to donate to help continue its mission.

Heels of Horror will be available to stream for a week on Vimeo starting Oct. 28. Tickets for the show are available on Vimeo. 

Level Up Halloween video game party

The folks at Planet Fabulon are cooking up a sparkly interactive dance game.

The Toronto-based multi-sensory party host Planet Fabulon is remastering their original video game Level Up into an interactive Halloween special from Oct. 30 to 31. Viewers can join the multiplayer dance floor force and choose their own fate as they manoeuvre through multiple interactive levels. As players are making real-time decisions, they can also build magical tools, win prizes and eventually face the final boss. The experience includes live musical performances from bands, art shows and dancing. There’s an afterparty with two DJs following the Oct. 31 installment.

The queer, sex- and body-positive space at Planet Fabulon is encouraging viewers to dress up however they please for the two-night event. After buying tickets. viewers on Zoom can either watch the events live, or play along, dance, sing and show off their costumes.

The Level Up Halloween special will be streaming on Oct. 30 beginning at 7 p.m. EST and Oct. 31 beginning at 8 p.m. EST. Tickets for the event are available here.

Out For Blood Queer Horror Film Festival

The Australian film Lone Wolf screens Oct 28.

If you’re looking to stay in and binge Halloween-themed movies all weekend, check out U.K.-based Out For Blood Queer Horror Film Festival’s four night showcase of LGBTQ2S+ horror flicks. The online festival includes over 21 international films in a variety of genres running from Oct. 28 to 31.

One of the films premiering in the Little Screen of Horrors program (Oct. 30) is the American horror/comedy short film Special Delivery, directed by Michael Dimitroulakos. The movie follows a pizza delivery worker who finds himself in a horrifying predicament at the customer’s party. A film premiering in the Final Queer program featuring women and non-binary folks (Oct. 28) is the Australian film Lone Wolf, directed by January Jones. The film centres a 15-year-old girl named Sam, who’s dealing with puberty and body changes while facing bullies at school. One of the films premiering for the Frightful Families program (Oct. 29) is Family History, directed by Mark J. Parker. The American film follows a young man who brings his new boyfriend home to meet his conservative father on the anniversary of his mother’s death, and a dark family secret is revealed.

Audience members are able to vote for their favourite films every day of the festival via an online form.

Running Oct. 28 to 31, the Out For Blood programs each stream for 24 hours beginning at 4 p.m. EST (8 p.m. GMT). Tickets are available here.

Books Beyond Bars Spooky Sober Dance Party

If you’re looking to party free of any intoxicants on Halloween night, check out the virtual sober queer dance party on Oct. 31 hosted by CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure), based out of London, England. The dance party will have the group’s “usual femme-supremacist dancedancedance” music, spiced up with some ghostly tracks. The virtual event also includes a raffle, with prizes ranging from patches, art, stickers, zines and earrings. All of the raffle ticket proceeds will be donated. The sober dance party doubles as a fundraiser with Books Beyond Bars UK, which is raising money to continue donating books to incarcerated LGBTQ+ community members in the U.K.

The CYOA Books Beyond Bars Spooky Queer Dance Party takes place on Oct. 31, kicking off at 4 p.m. EST. Tickets for the dance party are available here. 

Halloqueen 2: The Witch Is Back

U.K. drag queen Crudi Dench.
U.K. drag queen Crudi Dench.

For a night of laughs and Halloween trivia, why not partake in the U.K.-based charity York LGBT Forum and the Haus of Dench drag collective’s Halloqueen 2. The free virtual drag show will be hosted by Crudi Dench, acclaimed York drag queen and house mother. The event includes performances from acts around the U.K. including Miss Drag U.K. 2019 Bailey Bubbles, punk rock and glamour drag queen Eris Envy and hyper-masculine drag performer Dorian T. Fisk, among others. In addition to drag performances, the event will also have a Halloween-themed trivia.

The Halloqueen 2 drag show will be available to stream on Haus of Dench’s Twitch page on Oct. 31 starting at 3 p.m. EST.

The 519’s Halloween Hullabaloo

Fay and Fluffy host story time for The 519's family-friendly programming.
Fay and Fluffy host story time for The 519's family-friendly programming.

The Toronto-based LGBTQ2S+ community centre, The 519, is hosting a family-friendly virtual Halloween Hullabaloo on the morning of Oct. 31. The free event is in association with The 519’s EarlyON Child and Family Centre program, which is dedicated to creating safe spaces for families of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. The event aims to be an affirming space full of fun Halloween activities for the entire family. Some of the day’s events include spooky songs and pumpkin rhymes, paper crafts, a costume dance, a guest storytime with Toronto-based drag stars Fay and Fluffy and more.

The 519’s virtual Halloween Hullabaloo event takes place on Oct. 31. starting at 10:30 a.m. EST. Register for the event here.

Hocus Pocus But It’s Gay And Also It’s A Fundraiser

For the Hocus Pocus superfans out there, check out this Halloween special with Eventbrite titled Hocus Pocus But It’s Gay And Also It’s A Fundraiser, premiering on Oct. 30. The virtual fundraiser is an all LGBTQ2S+ cast re-enacting a gayer, campier version of the Halloween classic in a staged Zoom show. Admission is “pay what you want,” and viewers can decide how much money to donate when purchasing tickets. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, an organization made up of Mississippians who believe in access to full reproductive health care.

Hocus Pocus But It’s Gay And Also It’s A Fundraiser will be streaming on Zoom on Oct. 30 at 9:30 p.m. EST. Tickets for the event are available here.

Stripped: House of Whore-Her

Tamar the Doll joins Stripped. Credit: Courtesy of Maggies.

Turn the heat up this Halloween. Toronto-based sex worker advocacy group Maggies and the  queer women and non-binary dance party Strapped presents Stripped: House of Whore-Her, an all-Black strip tease showcasing and supporting Black sex workers. Majic Dyke, Tamar the Doll, Mars Alexander, Blue Wild Rye and other queer Black dancers from around the world perform live accompanied by DJs Ace Dillinger and Chanl Marshl. Virtual tipping will go directly to artists.

Stripped: House of Whore-Her starts at 11 p.m. EST on Oct. 31. Tix cost $10 at Eventbrite.

The Boo Ball Pride

Rudehopper joins Vancouver's Boo Ball Pride
Rudehopper joins Vancouver's Boo Ball Pride. Credit: Tiffany Sheppard

For Vancouverites itching for a good old-fashioned Halloween party, the first ever Boo Ball Pride is a physically distanced Halloween-themed silent disco party. The city of Vancouver has asked for the exact location not to be released publicly, and is listed on their Facebook page as a “secret location in Vancouver.” If you’re interested in attending, you have to RSVP through email to receive the location. Participants will be provided sanitized wireless headphones to listen to music individually. The event also includes visual performances from flow artists like Jerbearwhips, Diamond Minx, Ash Sapphire and Natalia a.k.a. rudehooper. The performances include eye-catching fire dancing, acrobatics, burlesque, juggling and more.

Vancouver’s Boo Ball Pride will be taking place on Oct. 31. from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. EST. Tickets for the silent disco are available here.

A Queer Halloween Costume Party

Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark.
Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center and Shout! Factory TV are presenting two free virtual screenings of the 2001 comedy horror flick Elvira’s Haunted Hills, starring Cassandra Peterson. The live stream screening of the Halloween classic is hosted by Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark herself. The event is a part of Shout! Factory TV’s 31 Nights of Horror, which has been streaming all October. A virtual costume contest will precede the 7 p.m. screening, and the three best costume wearers—who submitted their photos virtually—will win a poster of Elvira’s Haunted Hills autographed by Elvira herself.

Viewers are encouraged to contribute to the LGBT Center through a text-to-donate mobile phone platform. Donations will help the centre continue to provide vital programs and services to those in need during COVID-19 pandemic.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center and Shout! Factory TV will be screening Elvira’s Haunted Hills twice on Oct. 30, first at 7 p.m. EST and then again at 9 p.m. EST. You can RSVP and watch the livestream here.